Gary Sabbadini, DDS Blog

First Trip to the Dentist: How to Make Sure it is Smooth Sailing

 

Trips to the dentist are an essential part of oral care, but for a child, the first time can be scary. Sitting in a chair, under a light, while a stranger pokes inside their mouth is understandably daunting.

We are often afraid of things we don’t understand, so the best way to make your child’s first trip to the dentist smooth sailing is to help them understand what to expect before they get to the office. Knowledge will make the visit more comfortable and relaxing.

Normalize visits to the dentist with books, or simply talking about it! There are many children’s books out there from Dr. Suess, The Berenstain Bears, and Sesame Street. A quick search online will bring up a plethora of books about brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist.

We also recommend roleplaying with a pretend visit!  Making the dentist fun at home will make the outing more fun when the time comes. Be sure to use positive vocabulary, avoiding words like shot and hurt. Instead, talk about a clean, strong, smile. In keeping with the positive theme, be sure not to bribe your kids with a post-appointment treat. Bribery gives the idea that there is something to be nervous about. Instead, opt for surprising them with some sort of reward after the fact.

Here at our practice, because we specialize in pediatric dentistry, we too have tactics to make the appointment go easy and smooth for both you and your child! Thank you for trusting us to do so.

So when should you schedule this trip? As a rule of thumb, kids should start going to the dentist by age 1 or within six months after their first tooth erupts. We’ll see you then!

 

Toothaches in children can be tricky ordeals that cause distress for both the child and the parent. You may feel helpless and frustrated because you cannot pinpoint the location of the pain. It is so hard to see your little one experience discomfort and feel like there is nothing you can do about it. But there are ways you can help. Try these tips the next time your child has a toothache.

Zero in on the Painful Area

The first thing you need to do is find out where the pain is coming from. If your child is old enough, ask him or her to point to the painful area. In younger children, look for swelling and redness on the gums and cheek, dental caries (discolorations on the tooth), or broken teeth. Try to get as close to the location of the pain as possible so you can determine an effective course of action to relieve it.

Try to Find the Cause

Not all toothaches are actually toothaches. A child can bite his or her tongue or cheek, have sore gums, or develop ulcers in the mouth. Teeth that are coming in can also be quite painful. If a tooth is discolored, broken, loose, or has spots that are either darker or lighter than the rest of the tooth, those could be causes of pain.

Five-Step Approach to Dental Pain Relief

  1. Floss. Help your child floss to remove any food particles that may be wedged between the teeth and could be causing pain.
  2. Rinse with warm salt water. Use a warm salt-water solution and have your child rinse well by swishing or holding the salt water over the painful area.
  3. Use a cold compress. This can relieve pain and swelling. If there is no swelling, you can try it anyway to subdue the pain. Try it on for about 15 minutes, then off for 20.
  4. Give the child ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Use the appropriate dosage for your child’s age and administer it regularly as directed.
  5. If you determine that the tooth or gum is damaged, or if the pain simply cannot be relieved, call our office.

If your child is experiencing throbbing pain, fatigue, or fever, you should call your pediatrician as soon as possible. If your child is experiencing mouth pain accompanied by trouble breathing or swallowing, it can indicate a more serious situation and you should take your son or daughter to the emergency room.

Most mouth pain in children can be remedied with the simple steps here. The important thing is that you remain calm, no matter what. You child is taking cues from you and if you panic, he or she will panic.

 

Growing a healthy, adult smile takes a lot of work and maintenance, but your teenager can earn a healthy mouth by avoiding some the greatest threats to teen teeth.  

1 – Cavities 

Cavities are the most prevalent disease affecting children and teens in the United States, but cavities are nearly 100% preventable. Your teen can fight cavities by avoiding eating and drinking too much sugar, adding high fiber fruits and vegetables to their diet, and brushing twice per day for two minutes at a time and flossing once per day.  In addition to a proper oral care routine, your teen should have an oral health checkup every six months in our office so that we can help them navigate growing a healthy, adult smile. 

2 – Sports Injuries 

The CDC estimates that more than 3 million teeth are knocked out at youth sporting events. Mouth guards – sometimes called mouth protectors – work by helping cushion a blow to the face, and minimizing the risk of breaking teeth, or lacerating a lip, tongue or cheek. Mouth guards work to prevent tooth loss and other facial injuries.

Without a mouth guard, young athletes are susceptible to jaw damage, lacerated lips and tongue, broken teeth, and even concussions. If your child is playing any contact sport, then buy them a mouth guard that will provide adequate protection for their sport. If you’re unsure, just check online too see if their sport requires – or even suggests – using a mouth guard to prevent an injury.  

3 – Tobacco and Nicotine 

90% of adult smokers began smoking as teens, and each day more than 3,200 Americans younger than 18 try their first cigarette. Tobacco use harms teeth and health in many ways. It can lead to oral cancer, periodontal disease, delayed healing after oral procedure, bad breath, stained teeth and gums and damage the ability to smell and taste. The health risks related to tobacco use are serious, and negative oral side effects are chilling. Unfortunately, teen use of e-cigarettes and nicotine vaporizers is on the rise, and they’re also terrible for teeth.

Most studies find that teens that are actively discouraged from smoking, or that live in an environment where smoking is not normalized, are less likely to use tobacco as an adult, so encourage your children to stay away from all nicotine and tobacco products.

Visit Our Office 

Call us today to schedule an appointment so that we can evaluate the state of your children’s teeth, and help them reach healthier smile this year.

Starbucks is one of the most popular spots for young adults to gather and hang out, and enjoy coffee with friends.  But, a lot of the drinks on Starbucks’ menu are terrible for teeth. So, what should parents do?

The Problem: Way Too Much Sugar 

Sugar feeds the harmful bacteria on teeth, and creates acid that erodes enamel. This causes plaque and ultimately cavities, which is why you should limit the number of sugary foods and drinks your child consumes. Unfortunately, most of your kid’s favorite drinks from Starbucks are absolutely LOADED with sugar.

The American Heart Association recommends children limit their daily sugar intake to less than 26 grams per day, and adults should have less than 36 grams per day. Unfortunately, most of the items on Starbucks’ menu far exceed 30 grams of sugar – even if the drink is a “small” (tall) on the menu.

What about the Kids Menu? 

Starbucks has a kid’s menu that features drinks with less sugar and caffeine than their other beverages. But, don’t be fooled: each drink contains at least 25 grams of sugar, and the steamed apple juice has a whopping 50 grams of sugar. If you choose to get your child a beverage from Starbucks, go with a hot, decaffeinated tea and a little bit of honey.

The Worst Offenders:

1 – ANY Frappuccino 

One of the most popular drinks aimed at kids, Frappuccinos are absolutely loaded with sugar, each of which contains AT LEAST 50 grams of sugar per drink. Frappuccinos come in a variety of flavors, but each of them contains far more sugar than your child needs to consume in one day.

2 – Iced White Chocolate Mocha 

Another iced drink, the Iced White Chocolate Mocha contains 54 grams of sugar per drink, which is far too much sugar for one drink to contain. That’s because white chocolate is made with vanilla, and sweetened with sugar when it’s processed. 

3 – Cinnamon Dolce Crème 

Here’s an item from the kid’s menu that is terrible for teeth. The Cinnamon Dolce Crème doesn’t have caffeine, but it is loaded with sugar at 28 grams of sugar in a tall drink, and 37 grams in a grande.

Make Starbucks a Special Treat 

It can be easier for parents to justify getting a black cup of coffee everyday from Starbucks, but most of the drinks intended for children are loaded with sugar, and should be seen more like milkshakes and less like coffee. Since their favorite drinks are like milkshakes, then treat them that way and limit the number of drinks they purchase from Starbucks to once per week. If your child regularly enjoys beverages that are loaded with sugar, then they are more susceptible to cavities and their overall health can suffer.  

Cavities are the most prevalent disease affecting children in the United States, but cavities are nearly 100% preventable. Here are some of the worst activities for teeth that can lead to cavities.

1 – Not Brushing Twice Per Day 

Avoiding cavities begins with proper, routine oral care. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that everyone brushes their teeth twice per day, for two minutes each session. By brushing for the proper amount of time, you help ensure that your child is cleaning all of the bad bacteria off of their teeth and preventing cavities. Be sure that they brush the entire surface of their teeth, including the backs of teeth – which is often neglected. 

2 – Too Much Sugar 

We all know that too much sugar can cause tooth decay. But how does it work? When you consume sugar, bad bacteria in your mouth feeds off of it and create acids that destroy tooth enamel. Try limiting the amount of sugar your child eats to keep their enamel strong and prevent cavities. Additionally, reduce the amount of starchy carbs that they consume (like bread and chips) to keep teeth strong. When left in the mouth for too long, starchy carbs eventually turn into sugar and fuel bad bacteria.

A good place to start cutting back on sugar intake is in the beverages that your child enjoys. Try to avoid fruit juice, sports drinks and colas, which all contain a high amount of sugar.

3 – Not Enough Water 

Did you know that fruit juices contain about as much sugar as a bottle of cola? If your child is drinking too much fruit juice – or anything other than water – then it is providing sugary fuel that cavities need to thrive.

Water is one of the best things for a healthy mouth. Did you know that saliva is 99% water, or that saliva is critical in the fight against cavities? This makes it imperative that your child drinks plenty of water so that they can keep their enamel strong, and stay cavity-free. By drinking enough water, your child can avoid dry mouth and ensure that their saliva is produced at an optimal rate. 

Fight Cavities with Proper Dental Care 

Your child should visit our dental office once every six months for a routine checkup. This checkup allows us to get ahead of any oral health issues that may be occurring, and helps them maintain a healthier smile that lasts a lifetime.





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Gary D. Sabbadini, D.D.S.

1500 Tara Hills Drive, Suite 100 Pinole, CA 94564