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Our pediatric dentists in Overland Park, KS, often hear parents ask, “What can we do to reduce the risk of cavities for our kids?” It’s a fantastic question because diet is a big part of keeping those little teeth healthy and strong. Let’s dive into some simple and effective dietary changes that can make a big difference for your child’s oral health.

Cut Back on Sugary Snacks and Drinks

Sugar is the number one enemy when it comes to cavities. Bacteria in the mouth love sugar and turn it into acid, which can erode tooth enamel and cause cavities. Here’s how you can help your child steer clear of sugar overload:

Avoid These:

  • Soda and Sugary Drinks: These are packed with sugar and acids. Water or milk are much better options.
  • Candy and Sweets: Sticky candies like gummy bears and hard candies can stick to teeth, making it easier for bacteria to cause trouble.
  • Sugary Cereals and Pastries: Many breakfast foods are loaded with sugar. Try finding healthier alternatives.

Load Up on Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and veggies are great for overall health and are especially good for teeth. They help produce saliva, which washes away food particles and neutralizes harmful acids in the mouth.

Best Choices to Avoid Cavities:

  • Crunchy Fruits and Veggies: Apples, carrots, and celery are fantastic. They clean teeth and gums while being tasty and nutritious.
  • Leafy Greens: Spinach and kale are packed with vitamins and minerals that strengthen tooth enamel.

Say Yes to Dairy

Dairy products are a friend to teeth because they contain calcium and phosphates, which help rebuild tooth enamel. Plus, they boost saliva production, giving teeth extra protection.

Top Picks:

  • Cheese: It’s especially good because it has casein, a protein that strengthens tooth enamel.
  • Yogurt and Milk: These are excellent for calcium and probiotics, promoting a healthy balance of bacteria in the mouth.

Go for Whole Grains

Whole grains are better for oral health than refined grains because they have more nutrients and fiber. Fiber-rich foods need more chewing, which increases saliva production.

Healthy Choices:

  • Whole Grain Bread and Pasta: These are better than their refined counterparts.
  • Brown Rice and Oats: These grains offer essential nutrients without the added sugars found in many processed foods.

Watch the Acidic Foods and Drinks

Acidic foods and drinks can erode tooth enamel, making teeth more vulnerable to cavities. It’s not about cutting them out completely but enjoying them in moderation.

Be Cautious With:

  • Citrus Fruits: Oranges, lemons, and limes are nutritious but acidic. Rinsing with water after eating them can help.
  • Tomatoes: Tomato-based foods and sauces are acidic too. Pair them with other foods to lessen their impact.

Make Water the Go-To Drink

Water is the best beverage for good oral health. It helps rinse away food particles and bacteria, and if it’s fluoridated, it adds extra protection against cavities.

Hydration Tips:

  • Fluoridated Water: If your tap water is fluoridated, it can help strengthen your child’s teeth.
  • Water After Meals: Encourage your child to drink water after eating to help clean their mouth.

Limit Snacking Between Meals

Constant snacking can increase the risk of cavities because it provides a steady supply of food for bacteria. Try to have set mealtimes and limit snacks between meals.

Healthy Snack Ideas:

  • Nuts and Seeds: These are great for snacking and full of nutrients without the sugars.
  • Fresh Fruit: Berries, apples, and bananas are healthier choices compared to sugary snacks.

Include Foods Rich in Phosphorus to Avoid Cavities

Phosphorus is vital for strong teeth and bones. It works with calcium to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities.

Best Sources:

  • Meat and Poultry: These are excellent sources of phosphorus.
  • Eggs and Fish: These foods are also rich in phosphorus and other essential nutrients.

Avoid Cavities with Pediatric Dentists in Overland Park, KS

Alongside regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene practices, these dietary tips will set your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth. Looking for a trusted and experienced pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS? Drs. Matt Hillman and Tara Craven offer a fun, kid-friendly environment for you to bring your child for oral health care. Call (913) 685-9990 to schedule an initial consultation. 

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
Monday
Tuesday
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8:00am - 4:30pm
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Hey parents! The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and we all know what that means – fireworks, fun, and lots of food! While it’s a time for celebration and making memories with your little ones, it’s also important to keep their dental health in mind. Here are some friendly tips from our pediatric dentist in Overland Park KS, to ensure your family’s smiles stay bright and healthy throughout the festivities.

1. Choose Smart Snacks

The Fourth of July is notorious for sugary treats and sticky snacks that can wreak havoc on teeth. Instead of loading up on candies and cookies, opt for mouth-friendly alternatives like:

  • Fresh Fruits: Watermelon, strawberries, and blueberries are not only festive but also great for hydration and teeth.
  • Cheese and Yogurt: These calcium-rich snacks help strengthen teeth and provide essential nutrients.
  • Nuts: Almonds and walnuts are packed with healthy fats and protein, making them a great alternative to chips and pretzels.

Remember, moderation is key! If your kids do indulge in sweets, encourage them to drink water afterward to help rinse away sugar.

2. Stay Hydrated

Speaking of water, staying hydrated is crucial, especially during those hot July days. Drinking plenty of water not only keeps your kids cool but also helps wash away food particles and bacteria that can lead to cavities. Consider carrying a water bottle for each family member to ensure everyone stays hydrated throughout the day.

3. Be Careful with Beverages

While soda and sugary drinks are often a staple at holiday gatherings, they can be detrimental to your child’s teeth. Instead, offer water, milk, or 100% fruit juices in moderation. If your little ones do have a sugary drink, encourage them to use a straw to minimize contact with their teeth.

4. Plan Activities That Promote Oral Health

Why not incorporate some fun activities that also promote oral health? Here are a few ideas:

  • Watermelon Eating Contest: Watermelon is a great, hydrating fruit that’s gentle on teeth.
  • Tooth-Friendly Dessert Decorating: Set up a station with yogurt, fresh fruits, and nuts where kids can create their own healthy desserts.
  • Craft Time: Create a tooth-brushing chart with stickers that kids can use to track their brushing habits leading up to and after the holiday.

5. Watch Out for Sticky Situations

Sticky foods like caramel, gummy candies, and even some dried fruits can cling to teeth and increase the risk of cavities. If your kids enjoy these treats, encourage them to brush and floss soon after eating to remove any sticky residue.

6. Pack Dental Essentials

If you’re heading out for a day of festivities, pack a small dental kit. Include travel-sized toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and a bottle of water. Having these essentials on hand makes it easier to stick to good oral hygiene practices, even when you’re not at home.

7. Educate and Involve Your Kids

Kids are more likely to take care of their teeth if they understand why it’s important. Take some time to explain how different foods and drinks affect their teeth and involve them in making healthier choices. Turn it into a fun learning experience by exploring the science behind cavities and the benefits of good oral hygiene.

8. Schedule a Post-Holiday Check-Up With Our Pediatric Dentist in Overland Park KS

Finally, consider scheduling a dental check-up with our pediatric dentst in Overland Park KS after the holiday. It’s a great way to ensure your child’s teeth are healthy and to address any potential issues that may have arisen from the festivities. Call or text (913) 685-9990.

With these tips, you can enjoy a fun and festive Fourth of July while keeping those little smiles bright and healthy. Happy Independence Day!

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
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Tuesday
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If you’ve noticed your little one grinding their teeth while sleeping or playing, you’re not alone. This oftentimes concerning behavior, known as bruxism, is particularly common in our kiddos, but it doesn’t make it any less alarming to witness. So, in today’s pediatric dentistry mystery, our Overland Park dentist is here to explain bruxism.

Do you have questions about your child’s growing smile? Dr. Matthew Hillman and his friendly team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids are here to help. Contact our pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS, at (913) 685-9990 for answers, advice, and so much more!

Now, let’s unravel this dental mystery together and explore why kids grind their teeth and what you can do to help them.

What is bruxism?

Bruxism is the technical term for teeth grinding or clenching. Bruxism can happen during the day, but it’s more common at night when your child is fast asleep.

Experts believe that up to 49% of kiddos experience teeth grinding in some way. Luckily, most children grow out of this behavior as they get older. 

Why do kids grind their teeth?

It’s hard to know for sure, but there are a few theories about childhood bruxism:

Growing Pains

As children’s jaws grow and their teeth come in, they might grind to help their mouths adjust. Think of it as nature’s way of getting things to fit just right.

Stress and Anxiety

Just like adults, children can experience stress and anxiety. Maybe it’s that upcoming spelling bee, a change in routine, or even something as thrilling as a new sibling. Grinding can be an unconscious way to deal with big feelings.

Alignment Issues 

Sometimes, misaligned teeth or an irregular bite can cause bruxism. If the upper and lower teeth don’t fit together correctly, the jaw might shift and grind to find a comfortable position.

Medical Conditions and Medications

Certain medications and conditions (like cerebral palsy or ADHD) can contribute to teeth grinding.

How can parents help?

There are several steps you can take to manage and reduce bruxism in your child:

Create a Calming Bedtime Routine

Creating a serene environment can ease anxiety and reduce nighttime grinding. So, try warm baths, bedtime stories, and soft music

Talk it Out 

If stress or anxiety seems to be the culprit, encourage your child to talk about their worries. Sometimes, a simple conversation can work wonders.

Check for Alignment Issues

Regular dental check-ups are crucial. Dr. Matt can check for alignment issues and monitor your child’s dental development. 

Introduce a Night Guard 

A night guard is like a cozy little helmet for your child’s teeth. Worn during sleep, it can protect those chompers from the wear and tear of grinding

Stay Vigilant

Keep an eye on your child’s symptoms. Are they waking up with headaches or jaw pain? Are their teeth looking worn down? Keeping track of these signs can help Dr. Matt provide the best care possible.

Address Childhood Teeth Grinding with Dr. Matt

If your child’s bruxism is persistent or causing significant discomfort, it’s time to enlist the help of the team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids. Contact Dr. Matt Hillman online, or call our Overland Park, KS, dentist at (913) 685-9990 for more advice and information. 

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

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Is your little one scared to go to the dentist? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Many children (and even adults!) feel nervous about dental visits. But don’t let fear get in the way of your kiddo’s oral health—there are plenty of ways to make those trips to the dentist a breeze. Our children’s dentist in Overland Park, KS, is here to help!

Experts believe that around 30% of children and adolescents experience dental fear and anxiety. While these feelings of fear can be debilitating, they don’t have to be. At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, you and your little one can explore anxiety-reducing options, like sedation dentistry. Call our dentist in Overland Park, KS, at (913) 685-9990 for more information!

Today, Dr. Matt reveals five soothing solutions to help your child conquer their fear and even look forward to their next appointment.

1. Meet the Dentist Before the Big Day

One of the best ways to help a child who is scared to go to the dentist is to arrange a friendly meet-and-greet with the dentist before the actual appointment. This casual visit can help your child become familiar with the dentist and the office environment without the pressure of an exam. 

2. Play Pretend Dentist at Home

Children love to play pretend, so why not use this to your advantage? Set up a mini dental clinic at home with your child’s favorite stuffed animals or dolls as patients. Let your child take on the role of the dentist, and you can be the assistant. 

This fun activity can demystify the process and make your child feel more in control when it’s time for their real appointment.

3. Talk About Sedation Dentistry

For some children who are especially scared to go to the dentist, sedation dentistry can be a wonderful solution. There are different types of sedation available, depending on your child’s needs and the procedure:

Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)

This is a mild form of sedation that helps relax your child while keeping them awake. Dentists administer the gas through a small facemask that fits over the nose. This odorless, colorless gas wears off very quickly, allowing your child to resume their normal activities after dental visits.

Oral Sedation

This involves giving your child a medication to swallow before the appointment. The medication makes patients feel drowsy and calm, with the effects wearing off over several hours. 

IV Sedation

Dentists reserve intravenous (IV) sedation for more extensive procedures or those with extreme dental anxiety. IV sedation will make your child deeply relaxed and sleepy. 

4. Read Books and Watch Shows About the Dentist

There are plenty of children’s books and TV shows that feature friendly dentists and brave kids who visit them. Reading stories or watching episodes about dental visits can help your child understand what to expect and see that it’s not so scary after all

5. Reward and Praise Bravery

Positive reinforcement goes a long way in helping a child who is scared to go to the dentist. Create a reward system where your child earns a small prize for being brave before, during, and after their visit. 

Praise their courage and remind them how proud you are of them. Celebrating their bravery can turn a daunting experience into a confidence-boosting achievement.

Scared to go to the dentist? We can help!

If your child is scared to go to the dentist, it’s perfectly normal, and with a little creativity and preparation, you can help them overcome their fears. Want to learn more about how to make dental visits fun and stress-free? Contact Dr. Matt Hillman at Smiles Dentistry for Kids online, or call our Overland Park, KS, dental office at (913) 685-9990 for more advice.

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

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Did you know that National Peanut Butter Cookie Day is on June 12th this year? This delightful occasion brings joy to many kids and adults alike. Who can resist the rich, creamy goodness of peanut butter combined with the sweet crunch of a cookie? Certainly not the team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids!

Want to give your child a healthier smile in time for National Peanut Butter Cookie Day? Contact our children’s dentist, Dr. Matt Hillman, in Overland Park, KS, today! Just call Smiles Dentistry for Kids at (913) 685-9990 for more information and booking.

While celebrating this tasty day, it’s important for parents to consider their children’s dental health. Don’t worry, though! We have some tips and ideas on how to enjoy National Peanut Butter Cookie Day without compromising those pearly whites.

Peanut Butter: A Nutritious Treat for Teeth

Peanuts and peanut butter are not only delicious but also offer some surprising benefits for dental health. Here are a few reasons why peanuts can be good for your child’s teeth:

Protein and Healthy Fats 

Peanut butter contains lots of protein and healthy fats. These nutrients are essential for the growth and development of your child’s teeth and gums.

Vitamins and Minerals

Peanuts contain smile-friendly nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D. These vitamins and minerals are key players in tooth and gum development, helping your child build a strong, healthy set of teeth.

Low in Sugar

Natural peanut butter contains minimal added sugars, making it a healthier alternative compared to many other sweet spreads (looking at you, Nutella!).

Tips for a Tooth-Friendly Celebration

Here are some creative and fun ways to celebrate National Peanut Butter Cookie Day while keeping your child’s dental health in mind:

Choose Natural Peanut Butter

Opt for natural peanut butter that doesn’t have added sugars or unhealthy fats. This not only makes the cookies healthier but also reduces the risk of cavities.

Incorporate Whole Grains

Use whole wheat flour instead of white flour in your cookie recipes. Whole grains are better for overall health and provide more tooth-friendly nutrients.

Add Some Crunch with Nuts

Consider adding chopped nuts to your cookies. Not only do nuts add an extra crunch but they also help scrape plaque from teeth while delivering a boost of nutrients.

Extra Tips for Healthy Teeth

Even with healthier cookie options, it’s essential to maintain good dental hygiene practices. Here are some tips to ensure your child’s teeth stay healthy and strong:

Brush Twice a Day 

Encourage your child to brush their teeth at least once after rolling out of bed and once before drifting off to sleep at night. Each occasion should last at least two minutes, with a focus on brushing all sides of every tooth. Use fluoride toothpaste to help protect against cavities.

Floss Daily

Help your child floss daily to remove food and plaque buildup from between their teeth. Single-use floss picks may be the easiest way for your child to learn this daily habit. 

Drink Water

Encourage your child to drink plain water, especially after eating sweets, to help rinse away sugar and food particles. Limit juices and sodas. 

Regular Dental Checkups

Make sure your child visits our Overland Park dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.

Visit Our Children’s Dentist in Overland Park, KS

By making some simple adjustments and encouraging good oral hygiene, you can celebrate National Peanut Butter Cookie Day with your child without worrying about their dental health. Want more tips and tricks? Contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids online, or call Dr. Matt Hillman at (913) 685-9990 for more!

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

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Our pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS, understands that dental visits can be a bit daunting for little ones. The unfamiliar faces, strange instruments, and peculiar sounds of a dental office can turn a routine check-up into a major source of anxiety for our kiddos. 

Luckily, you and your child don’t have to deal with dental anxiety alone. Dr. Matt Hillman and the team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids are here to help you and your little one get comfortable, stress-free care. Call our pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS, at (913) 685-9990 to see how we can ease anxiety before upcoming dental appointments.

With the right strategies, you can help your child overcome their dental fears and make dentist’s visits as smooth as silk. So, today, our pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS, dives into some fun and friendly tips to tackle dental anxiety.

1. Start Early and Make It Fun

Early visits to the dentist (starting as soon as your baby’s first tooth emerges) help normalize dental appointments. Turn these trips into fun adventures by framing them as a quest to keep their teeth shiny and strong. Maybe there’s a tooth fairy nearby, taking notes on their bravery!

2. Play Pretend Dentist at Home

Set up a mini “dental office” at home. You can take turns being the dentist and the patient. Use a toothbrush to count each other’s teeth, and perhaps even have a stuffed animal join in the fun. This playful practice helps demystify what happens at the dentist’s office.

3. Choose a Kid-Friendly Dentist

Finding a dentist who specializes in pediatric care can make a world of difference. Kid-friendly dentists often have a way with children, using gentle language and sometimes even offering fun distractions, like cartoons or toys. 

Want to see why kids love visiting our pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS? Click here to read reviews about Dr. Matt Hillman!

4. Be a Role Model

If you show excitement and confidence about dental visits, your little one is likely to mirror your attitude. Share your own positive experiences, and let them know that everyone goes to the dentist to keep their teeth healthy and strong.

5. Read Books and Watch Shows About Dental Visits

Books and TV shows featuring characters going to the dentist can help children understand what to expect at a dental office. Some great options include “Peppa Pig: Dentist Trip” and “The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist.”

6. Explain the Importance of Dental Health

Use simple and clear language to explain why dental visits are essential. Say things like, “The dentist helps keep your smile beautiful and your teeth strong so you can enjoy your favorite foods.” 

7. Offer Positive Reinforcement

Celebrate your child’s bravery with praise and perhaps a small reward, like a trip to the park or an extra bedtime story. Positive reinforcement can build their confidence and make them more willing to return for future visits with our pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS.

8. Practice Relaxation Techniques

Teach your child simple relaxation strategies, like deep breathing or imagining a favorite place. These tricks can help them calm down if they start to feel anxious.

Meet Our Pediatric Dentist in Overland Park, KS

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, we’re always happy to help kiddos conquer their fears. So, if your little one is afraid of the dentist, let us know. We’ll do everything we can to make sure your child receives anxiety-free, gentle care.

Request appointments with our five-star pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS, here or call our front desk at (913) 685-9990 for scheduling. 

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

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The health benefits of breastfeeding are widely known, from a stronger infant immune system to a reduced risk of breast cancer for mom. But for women who can’t nurse or who choose to pump, the “mom guilt” is all too real! Suddenly it seems like everything is doomed to go wrong for your baby, including his or her dental development. 

Here at Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS, we understand that the decision to breastfeed your child is a highly personal one. While Drs. Matt and Craven can’t deny the health benefits of nursing, they also know that there are a variety of factors that will influence your decision. And ultimately we know that it is your decision. Baby bottles, used improperly, can increase the risk of dental problems. But with proper precautions, there is no reason your child shouldn’t enjoy a lifelong health smile

To learn more or to schedule an appointment for your child, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids today.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Is a Legitimate Concern

Baby bottle tooth decay (also known as early childhood caries) is an unfortunately common condition. Cavities typically affect the upper front teeth. However, the name is a bit of a misnomer because breastfed babies can also suffer from baby bottle tooth decay (albeit, it is less likely). Moreover, baby tooth decay doesn’t happen because of a bottle per se. Rather, it occurs when baby or toddler teeth have prolonged exposure to sugary liquids (including formula and breast milk)

Early childhood tooth cavities can also develop when a mother passes on cavity-causing bacteria or when a child does not have enough fluoride intake. Interestingly, children with a traumatic birth or a high-risk pregnancy are more likely to suffer from early dental decay.

Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

You can easily reduce the risk baby bottle tooth decay with a few simple steps:

  • Never put your baby to bed with a bottle (even one containing breast milk).
  • Make sure your child swallows breast milk before falling asleep. 
  • Never put juice or sugary beverages in a bottle. 
  • Don’t use the bottle as a pacifier. 
  • Before your child starts teething, wipe down his or her gums at least once a day with a soft cloth.
  • After the first tooth comes in, start brushing, using a soft brush and a toothpaste that contains fluoride. 
  • Also after the first tooth comes in, or by the first birthday, schedule your child’s first visit with a pediatric dentist.
  • Do not share eating utensils with your child.
  • Clean pacifiers with soap and hot water, never your mouth. 

Bottles, Dental Alignment, and Speech Delays 

Both bottles and pacifiers can cause dental alignment issues, including crooked teeth, jaw misalignment, and a narrowed palate. And, in turn, this can affect the way that your child learns to speak. 

However, be aware that this only applies to older children. As long as you wean your baby from bottles and pacifiers around 12 months, you are unlikely to see any permanent effects. 

Contact Us for Non-Judgmental, Family-Centered Care

We know parenting can be incredibly stressful, and we are here to make the task easier for you. To visit a compassionate, supportive pediatric dentist, contact our Overland Park office today.

Reach us online or call us at (913) 685-9990. 

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

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Sometimes, in the midst of pressures like school and extracurriculars, it’s easy to let oral hygiene slide. Fortunately, adopting healthy oral habits just takes a few simple changes. By making these adjustments, you can help protect your kids’ teeth from decay and structural damage. And you will be setting them up with good routines for life!

Dr. Matt, Dr. Craven, and their team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids are committed to helping children enjoy the best possible dental health. We encourage you to schedule regular visits at our Overland Park, KS, office. At each appointment we will teach both you and your child the best ways to care for your smile

Contact us today to schedule an appointment. 

1. Brush Twice a Day

While you know the importance of brushing, you may not know that there is a proper way to brush. The American Dental Association recommends using a soft-bristled brush and holding it at a 45-degree angle to your teeth. Use short, back-and-forth strokes to clean each tooth. Use vertical strokes to clean the backs of your front teeth.

2. Floss Once a Day 

Flossing also ranks high among healthy oral habits. And, as with brushing, there is a correct way to do so. According to the ADA, you should use about 18 inches of floss, wrapping each end around one finger. Unspool the floss as you go, so that you are using a new section of floss between each tooth. Apply a gliding, rather than a snapping motion, which can damage your gums. And use a C-shaped movement to clean between the top of each tooth and the gum line. Children may need help with this technique for quite some time.

3. Drink Plenty of Water

Water is not only essential for physical health (especially as we approach the hot summer months). Drinking water is also among the key healthy oral habits. Water helps to stimulate saliva production and to wash away food particles. It’s also one of the healthiest beverages. Juices and sodas contain high levels of sugar, which can be devastating for kids’ teeth. 

4. Wear a Sports Mouthguard 

If your child plays contact sports, an athletic mouthguard is crucial. These devices can prevent serious damage to your kid’s teeth, as well as lacerations and facial injuries. You can purchase pre-made mouthguards, but they often don’t fit well and could even impede breathing and athletic performance. Instead, we recommend a custom mouthguard, provided by your pediatric dentist.

5. Visit the Dentist Twice a Year 

Of course, no list of healthy oral habits would be complete without mentioning routine dental visits. At every checkup, we will examine and clean your child’s teeth. We also monitor dental development, and typically once a year, we will take x-rays.

These appointments should begin much earlier than you may realize. Children should visit the dentist once their first tooth arrives or by their first birthday, whichever comes first. We believe so strongly in the importance of early dental care that we offer free exams and cleanings for kids under age 2.

Learn More Healthy Oral Habits When You Contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids 

Contact our office to schedule an appointment or to learn more about kids’ dental health. 

Reach us online or call us at (913) 685-9990.

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

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This past May 5 was widely celebrated as Cinco de Mayo. But we also celebrated National Astronaut Day! The first American in space, Alan Bartlett Sheperd, Jr., launched into the atmosphere on May 5, 1961. The anniversary has since been dedicated to inspiring everyone to “reach for the stars.” A fun way to celebrate is to learn how astronauts do daily tasks in space, including caring for their teeth.

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS, Dr. Matt and Dr. Craven appreciate the insatiable curiosity of children. That’s why we love to answer their questions, including (when we can) the unexpected queries, like, “How do astronauts brush their teeth?” We also encourage kids to reach for the stars with their own oral health by practicing outstanding dental hygiene. 

To schedule an appointment for your child or to learn more about dental care for kids, contact our office today.

Dental Health Is Vital for Astronauts

If you want to be an astronaut, bravery and keen intelligence aren’t the only requirements. Astronauts must also have a clean bill of dental health before being allowed to enter orbit. Though good dentistry is important for everyone, it’s all the more vital for astronauts. This is because they are under tremendous pressure from G-forces during launch. Untreated decay or loose cavities can cause immense discomfort.  

Brushing and Rinsing without Gravity

So how do astronauts keep their teeth healthy while they are in space? Isn’t it impossible to rinse and spit when there’s no gravity to keep things in place?

As it turns out, brushing in space isn’t too much different from brushing on earth. Astronauts use standard toothbrushes and toothpaste, usually sharing the same tube among crew members. After squeezing a drop of water onto the toothbrush from their water bags, they apply a small amount of toothpaste and brush thoroughly. When they’re done, they simply swallow the toothpaste. Then they use another drop of water to clean off the toothbrush, often physically sucking the water off the brush. If you want to see the process in person, you can watch astronaut Chris Hadfield here.  

A word of advice: typically swallowing toothpaste isn’t encouraged. Consuming large amounts of toothpaste can lead to stomach pain and even blockage of the intestines. Even regularly swallowing a bit too much can result in a fluoride build-up, which can create white spots on your teeth. But in space, waste management is a high priority. So astronauts use small amounts of toothpaste that will not cause bodily harm when swallowed. 

Dental Emergencies in Space 

Another reason that dental health is so important for astronauts? There aren’t any dentists in orbit. Crew medical members (CMOs) have some medical training and are authorized to perform emergency dental treatment, including extractions. But in many cases, CMOs just don’t have enough dental knowledge. As a result, an oral health problem could result in an astronaut being sent home early.

Reach for the Stars with Your Own Dental Hygiene 

Whether your child aspires to be an astronaut or simply wants to have an out-of-this-world smile, contact our office for great pediatric dental care. 

Send us a message online or call us at (913) 685-9990.

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
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As children enter their teenage years, it’s natural for them to want to express themselves. But if your teen’s desired form of self-expression is an oral piercing, it may fill you with dismay. First, be aware that minors may not get an oral piercing without parental consent. But if you feel that you should support your child, it’s important for both of you to be aware of the complications of oral piercings as discussed by your pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, we offer great dental care for youth of all ages. We understand that each stage of childhood brings new challenges, and we want to help parents face these challenges with our knowledge and expertise. Whether your child already faces dental complications as a result of an oral piercing, or you are simply trying to discourage them from making this decision, we invite you to schedule an appointment with us.

Contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids today.

What are oral piercings?

There are several types of oral piercings, but tongue piercings are by far the most common. Most frequently, the tongue is pierced in the middle. But the tip can also be pierced. Some people opt to have two piercings on either side of the tongue.

Other locations for oral piercings can include the lip, cheek, uvula, or frenum (the tissue that attaches the tongue to the bottom of the mouth.)

Oral Piercings and Dental Health

Oral piercings can cause tooth erosion, as the mouth jewelry comes in frequent contact with the teeth. This is especially common with tongue tip piercings. This type of piercing can also lead to diastema, or a gap between the two front teeth, particularly if a person continuously manipulates his or her tongue piercing. 

Oral Piercings and Gum Health

Periodontal complications are even more common following an oral piercing. In fact, 50% of those with lip piercings and 44% of those with tongue piercings have reported gum erosion. In turn, receding gums can dramatically affect a person’s appearance, giving their teeth an elongated look. Even more alarming, gum recession can lead to exposed tooth roots, severe dental sensitivity, and tooth loss

Further, without vigilant hygiene and cleanings, oral piercings often trap and harbor bacteria, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease. 

Oral Piercings and Overall Health Complications 

Aside from dental complications, oral piercings can be dangerous for systemic health. For one, the tongue is a highly vascular area, so if the piercing is not performed properly, it can lead to prolonged bleeding. The tongue could also swell, which could block the airway and cause difficulty breathing

Though rare, mouth jewelry could become embedded in other soft tissues, necessitating surgical removal. And some people have experienced life threatening complications because of their oral piercings. For all of these reasons, the American Dental Association (and your pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS) advise against this practice. 

Book an Appointment for Your Teen with a Pediatric Dentist in Overland Park, KS

Think your teen might be more receptive to advice coming from someone else? Feel free to book an appointment with us!

Contact us online or give us a call at (913) 685-9990. 

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

Get in Touch

"*" indicates required fields

Do you want to receive an email about promotions, news, etc?
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.