How bad is ICE CREAM for my kids' teeth?

ICE CREAM is one of the most ancient desserts enjoyed as early as 2nd century BC. Some variety of ice cream can be found in almost all American freezers and the fight of which flavor or kind is the best is a conversation topic of many dinner parties! With today’s health trends and growing numbers in the obesity battle however, we often get questions on what desserts can actually be given to kids without harming their teeth.

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We all know that having desserts once in a while is unavoidable and Smiles For Kids’ guide to desserts is simple:

  1. Sticky, gooey things are a big NO-NO. Things such as gummies, fruit roll-ups, or sticky candy including toffee, caramel, or Skittles stick to the teeth and stay around for a long time not allowing saliva to recover proper health of your oral cavity.

  2. Acidic candy such as Sweet Tarts, Spree, Altoids, or gummy sour candy dissolve enamel of your teeth and cause a lot of damage in addition to being bad for the rest of your digestive system.

  3. Hard candy that stay in the mouth for a long time such as lollipops or jolly ranchers spend a lot of time exposing teeth to long time sugar and acid damage.

  4. BETTER CHOICES??? Things that are not acidic, not sticky, and that are in and out of the mouth in a short period of time. Sounds like ice-cream fits the description! ICE CREAM is milk based, which makes it not acidic and melts away from teeth in a short period of time. Ice cream is of course full of sugar so choosing frozen yogurt or other low sugar alternatives is best. Also watch for sensitivity to your teeth as the cold temperatures can make ice cream an uncomfortable treat for some. If eating ice-cream hurts your teeth, chose a room temperature snack instead. Enjoy your sweet treat in moderation and remember to brush and floss before going to bed!

Which Toothpaste is Best?

Which toothpaste is best?

At Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry, we get the question on which toothpaste to use on a daily basis. The answer is that is all depends. Here’s why.

AGE

For infants that are less than 2 years old, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends using a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth.  The smear of toothpaste should be about the size of a grain of rice. At about 3 years old, you can start using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.

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TASTE

Most kids have a preference when it comes to flavor. Usually, the fluoride toothpaste comes in a kid-friendly flavor like bubble gum. Where it gets more challenging is if your child does not like those flavorings. Fortunately, now, many companies make other flavors. You may have to experiment with them until you find the right one. For those that have trouble with all flavoring, there’s toothpaste called OraNurse which is flavorless but still has the benefit of fluoride.

The main thing to remember is that Dr. Lindhorst, Dr. Jadav and Dr. Theriot recommend using fluoride toothpaste. As long as you have that active ingredient in there, we’re happy with any brand of toothpaste that you choose to use.

RISK FOR CAVITIES

Some of our patients are at higher risk for cavities. This could be due to enamel hypoplasia, crowding, history of decay, oral hygiene, or having braces. For these patients, Dr. Lindhorst, Dr. Jadav or Dr. Theriot may recommend toothpaste with a higher concentration of fluoride. We have these available at our office for the patients that need them. Using this specific toothpaste can help strengthen areas that may be getting weaker or help prevent cavities on those teeth that are just more prone to them.

Happy Summer!

Dr. Urvi Jadav

Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry

Apthous Ulcers

What is an apthous ulcer? Physically, it’s a shallow lesion that develops in the mouth.

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It is quite common and it is similar to the body’s reaction to an allergen. Triggers can vary. Some common triggers are stress, acidic foods, trauma, and ingredients in mouth products. It is not known to be a viral nor a bacterial infection.  They do not occur on the outer surface of the lips and they are not contagious.

Unfortunately, they can be painful making eating and talking difficult. Most of the ulcers resolve on their own in 2 weeks. Applying a topical numbing gel can help with discomfort for children that are old enough for it. It is recommended to avoid spicy or acidic foods while the healing is in progress.

Dr. Lindhorst, Dr. Jadav and Dr. Theriot are happy to address any questions or concerns. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (713)461-1509.

Dr. Urvi Jadav

Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry

 

Thumbsucking

Thumb sucking is one habit that is always hard to break until your child is ready to quit. Here are a few ideas from Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry for when your little one decides he is ready.

Positive Reinforcement - Whenever you notice your child not sucking his thumb, you give him praise. This serves as a gentle reminder and is a good first step even if he hasn’t mentioned that he wants to quit.

Sticker Chart - This motivates kids to be consistent with the change. When your child brings his completed chart to us, we will take his picture and put it on our Wall of Winners. He can also pick out a special prize! Here’s a link to our personalized thumb sucking chart on our website: http://www.smiles-for-kids.com/charts/

Physical barrier - These come in all shapes, designs and sizes but basically, it places a cover over the digit that they suck so that he doesn’t get that same suction when it is placed in the mouth. Here are some photos of some available on the market.

thumb1.jpg
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Thumb appliance – Dr. Lindhorst or Dr.  Jadav may recommended this for patients that have tried all of the above and are still having trouble stopping the habit. It’s a custom appliance that sits on the palate and serves as a barrier in the mouth.

thumb3.jpg

Dr. Jadav

Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can be caused by a variety of reasons and most people don’t think of this as an issue in the pediatric population. However, there are many kids who suffer from dry mouth as a side effect of medication that they are taking.

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What causes dry mouth?

Did you know that there are literally hundreds of medications that cause dry mouth? Even some of our innocuous over-the-counter medications have dry mouth listed as a side effect. Oftentimes, our kiddos are taking antihistamines and decongestants. These can cause dry mouth as a side effect. If you’re not sure if your child’s medication causes dry mouth, ask your doctor.

Why is dry mouth important to recognize?

When you don’t have as much saliva in the mouth, bacteria does not clear as well. This can lead to increased plaque and cavities. Some people will experience a rough tongue, mouth sores or a yeast infection. In severe cases, children can have difficulty chewing and swallowing.

What can you do if you child has dry mouth?

To decrease the chance of cavities, incorporating a fluoride toothpaste is key. If your child is old enough, encourage him to use a fluoride mouthwash as well! Encouraging your child to take sips of plain water throughout the day can help. Continue to moisturize your child’s lips to help with any cracking or irritation. There are several over-the-counter mouthwashes you can try but make sure your child is not swallowing the mouthwash. You can always talk to your doctor about switching medications if you feel your child has severe symptoms.

Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry realizes the how oral and systemic health relate. We try out best to strike a balance for our patients and families!

If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (713)461-1509 or email us at drkasia@smile-for-kids.com.

Dr. Urvi Jadav

Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry

Staying Hydrated & Sugary Drinks

As the intense Houston heat is setting in, Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry wants to remind everyone about staying hydrated this summer. It is super important for our kiddos to drink plenty of fluids especially with the peak of the summer heat already here. It seems like there are a million and one options these days at the grocery store when it comes to drinks for our kids. Here’s a quick guide to help you make the best choices for your little one.

Juice

Juice is loaded with sugar, which will only accelerate the cavity process! Even 100% organic juices have lots of sugar. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting juice intake to less than 4-6 oz per day for children ages 1-6. The newest recommendation is no juice for kids less than 1 year old. The constant exposure to sugar and acid can quickly break down teeth.  We recommend giving children fresh fruit slices to get their daily fruit intake. A fun idea for summer is to freeze grapes or blueberries for a fun, juicy, and healthy afternoon snack!

Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are not recommended for young children.  Having them often increases your child’s risk for obesity. They can cause dental erosion because they are acidic. The sugar will of course increase their risk for cavities, too.

Sodas

Soda, as we all know, is bad for our teeth and bodies. Drinking soda can be as bad as having battery acid in our kid’s mouth. The acidity can quickly cause breakdown and weakening of teeth.

Keep in mind that frequency is key.  It’s worse to sip on a juice drink all day than to just have it during a meal when it comes to your teeth. We recommend that kids should only use sippy cups if they have not mastered using a cup. If it’s not for mealtime, they should be drinking water.  All in all, the best option is always water! It will keep our little ones hydrated without all the side effects of juices, sports drinks, and sodas.

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Look at how much sugar these drinks have in them! We would never let our kids eat spoonfuls of sugar so why give them drinks loaded with this much sugar?

Dr. Jadav

 

Pediatric Crowns: Silver & White

When teeth have large decay, they often cannot be restored with a filling. When that is the case, Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry has choices as to what type of crown can be placed.

The gold standard is the stainless steel crown. They have a proven track record and are very durable. Due to the metal, we can shape them to fit almost any tooth. They are more cost-effective than the white crowns. On the other hand, they are not esthetic as white crowns.

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White crowns are a newer material that is now available. Their most obvious advantage is the esthetics. Unfortunately, because of the hard material, we cannot get them to fit every tooth. We have to remove more of the tooth to fit this thicker crown.  Also, due to the nature of the material, it can break.  They cost more than stainless steel crowns.

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There is no right or wrong choice in most cases. If Dr. Lindhorst or Dr. Jadav feels that one will be better for your child than another, they will specify. Otherwise, it is up to the you to decide which one you prefer.  

We hope this helps explains some of the pros and cons of silver versus white crowns. If you have any other questions, please contact us at 713-461-1509.

Dr. Jadav

Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry

How to care for your child after a Filling

After your child has dental fillings, it’s important to care for the gums and teeth to help healing.  Below is a list of what to do and what not to do.

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  1. Your child’s lip, cheek, and tongue will be numb or “asleep” for about 2-3 hours. During this time make sure your child does not bite, scratch, or pick at these numb areas.

  2. Restrict diet to liquids (milkshake or smoothie) for the first 3 hours, and then eat soft foods for the rest of the day such as soup, yogurt, eggs, jello etc.

  3. Normal brushing and flossing should resume tonight.

  4. Give Tylenol or Motrin in case of any discomfort of the tooth or gums.

  5. If your child complains of discomfort when chewing after a few days, please come in to the office for an adjustments to the height of the filling, which is a short, painless procedure.

Your child should heal normally if you follow these instructions. Please feel free to call our office at (713) 461-1509 if you have any questions.

Dr. Urvi Jadav

Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry

Your Child’s First Dental Visit

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your child’s first dental visit be before his or her first birthday. You may be wondering what we do at Smiles for Kids Pediatric dentistry for a first visit and why it’s so important to start early.

ORAL DEVELOPMENT - A lot of changes happen in a child’s mouth from when they are born until they get their full set of baby teeth.  At Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry, we want to explain what parents should expect. We will talk about timing of new teeth coming in, what to expect when they are coming in, and how many of them are left to come in. Dr. Lindhorst or Dr. Jadav will show you if they note any concerns with their mouth and what that means for your child. By starting early, we can let you know if we see any early signs of decay. Many times, when we see very early changes, we can suggest changes that can prevent having to do treatment on these teeth. Aside from his or her teeth, we will be checking the tongue, cheeks, jaws, and tonsils. We want to make sure every aspect of your child’s mouth, bite, and jaws look healthy!

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ORAL HYGIENE - Parents often ask when to start brushing their child’s mouth and how to brush their little ones. We will review when to start, how to position them, and toothpaste use.  At our office, we rate oral hygiene on a scale from 1-5 with 5 being the best. That way, you can see how you’re doing in terms of hygiene at each and every visit.

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DIET – Diet plays a major component in cavity formation. For babies, we’ll review bottle use. For toddlers, we talk about gummy snacks, sippy cups, and juices. For oldest kiddos, we’ll review the types of foods (ooey, gooey, sticky) to try to avoid. Sippy cups, juices, and candy are just a few of the topics we’ll cover.

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HABITS - We will talk about habits that your little one may have like thumb sucking, a pacifier, or nail biting. Although a lot of these habits are age appropriate, we will review what long term changes that they can cause in terms of his or her bite if the habit continues.

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TRAUMA - We will review what to do if and when your child ever has any trauma. It’s very common and we want parents to know what to look for, when to call us, or when to come see us in the office.

Most of all, we want you and your child to be very comfortable here. The more the child visits, the more likely that they will realize that coming to the dentist is fun! We can’t wait to meet your little one!

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Dr. Urvi Jadav

Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry

 

Lip or Cheek Bites - OUCH!

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Ouch! Your child just had a dental procedure and bit his/her cheek? What do you do next?

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The cheek or tongue will be swollen, red/white, hot, and painful.  Sometimes parents mistake the chewed up area for infection, but it is injured tissue that will heal without antibiotics. Apply ice packs for first 3 days. Ice packs should be placed for 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off, for 1 hour, 3 times a day. Rinse with salt water two times a day for 3 days. Give your child Tylenol or Motrin for pain. You can apply topical numbing ointments available over-the-counter at any pharmacy.

Call Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry at 713-461-1509 if the wound does not heal in 5-7 days or if it seems infected. Dr. Lindhorst or Dr. Jadav will take a look and let you know if you child needs any further intervention.

 

Silver and White Crowns

When teeth have large decay, they often cannot be restored with a filling. When that is the case, Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry has choices as to what type of crown can be placed.

The gold standard is the stainless steel crown. They have a proven track record and are very durable. Due to the metal, we can shape them to fit almost any tooth. They are more cost-effective than the white crowns. On the other hand, they are not esthetic as white crowns.

Crown1.jpg

White crowns are a newer material that is now available. Their most obvious advantage is the esthetics. Unfortunately, because of the hard material, we cannot get them to fit every tooth. We have to remove more of the tooth to fit this thicker crown.  Also, due to the nature of the material, it can break.  They cost more than stainless steel crowns.

Crown2.jpg

 There is no right or wrong choice in most cases. If Dr. Lindhorst or Dr. Jadav feels that one will be better for your child than another, they will specify. Otherwise, it is up to the you to decide which one you prefer.  

 We hope this helps explains some of the pros and cons of silver versus white crowns. If you have any other questions, please contact us at 713-461-1509.

 Dr. Jadav

Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry

Thumb Sucking Tools

Thumb sucking is one habit that is always hard to break until your child is ready to quit. Here are a few ideas from Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry for when your little one decides he is ready.

Positive Reinforcement - Whenever you notice your child not sucking his thumb, you give him praise. This serves as a gentle reminder and is a good first step even if he hasn’t mentioned that he wants to quit.

Sticker Chart - This motivates kids to be consistent with the change. When your child brings his completed chart to us, we will take his picture and put it on our Wall of Winners. He can also pick out a special prize! Here’s a link to our personalized thumb sucking chart on our website: http://www.smiles-for-kids.com/charts/

Physical barrier - These come in all shapes, designs and sizes but basically, it places a cover over the digit that they suck so that he doesn’t get that same suction when it is placed in the mouth. Here are some photos of some available on the market.

thumb1.jpg
thumb2.jpg

Thumb appliance – Dr. Lindhorst or Dr.  Jadav may recommended this for patients that have tried all of the above and are still having trouble stopping the habit. It’s a custom appliance that sits on the palate and serves as a barrier in the mouth.

thumb3.jpg

Dr. Jadav

Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry

How Much Radiation?

At Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry, our promise is to use as little radiation as possible while still gathering all the information that we need to diagnose and treat your child safely and comprehensively.

Each dental radiograph exposes your child to 0.5 mrem of radiation. Below is a schematic that puts this number into perspective.

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We often get asked about x-rays and why we need them. We strictly follow the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Guidelines. We need them in order to diagnose cavities between the teeth that cannot otherwise be detected, check for abnormalities in the bone, monitor growth and development patterns, and identify missing teeth, extra teeth or infections. We evaluate each patient individually and take radiographs only when we know it will affect patient care. We take into account age, date of the last radiographs taken, patient’s specific risk for decay, oral hygiene, diet and any concerns such as trauma, pathology or infection.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us or email us.

Dr. Jadav

What to do about Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is one habit that is always hard to break until your child is ready to quit. Here are a few ideas from Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry for when your little one decides he is ready.

Positive Reinforcement - Whenever you notice your child not sucking his thumb, you give him praise. This serves as a gentle reminder and is a good first step even if he hasn’t mentioned that he wants to quit.

Sticker Chart - This motivates kids to be consistent with the change. When your child brings his completed chart to us, we will take his picture and put it on our Wall of Winners. He can also pick out a special prize! Here’s a link to our personalized thumb sucking chart on our website: http://www.smiles-for-kids.com/charts/

Physical barrier - These come in all shapes, designs and sizes but basically, it places a cover over the digit that they suck so that he doesn’t get that same suction when it is placed in the mouth. Here are some photos of some available on the market.

thumb1.jpg
thumb2.jpg

Thumb appliance – Dr. Lindhorst or Dr.  Jadav may recommended this for patients that have tried all of the above and are still having trouble stopping the habit. It’s a custom appliance that sits on the palate and serves as a barrier in the mouth.

thumb3.jpg

Please don’t hesitate to ask questions. We are here to help!

Dr. Jadav

Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry

Mr. Fishy

For most procedures here at Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry, we use what is called an Isolite. We lovingly call it “Mr. Fishy” and your kids may, too!

It’s a plastic piece that comes in many sizes. It helps your child stay open, keep the area dry with suction, provide light for the dentist, shorten treatment time, and protect your child’s tongue and cheeks. Our assistants are well-trained in picking out the right size for your child.

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Once one is chosen, they will show it to your child. They’ll get to see the light, hear the suction, and feel how soft it is. Then, the assistant will try it in so that your child can see how it will feel when the dentist starts treatment. We find that this show and tell helps with anxiety especially for patients that are new to “Mr. Fishy”.

Some patients have difficulty tolerating it. Dr. Lindhorst or Dr. Jadav may recommend laughing gas to help with gagging and anxiety. If patients are still having trouble, they will review other options with you. We hope this helps explain why and how we use the Isolite system.

Dr. Jadav

Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry

Q&A with Jamie

Jamie is our wonderful hygienist at Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry. She’s a mother of three and has 12 years of experience in the dental field. She’s fantastic with all the kiddos!

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Check out Jamie’s answers for some of the most common questions that parents are itching to know the answers to on almost a daily basis!

When can my child brush his/her own teeth?

“The average age is around 8 years old. That being said, every kid is different. Parents should check in with brushing a few times a week to check the most common trouble spots like along the gumlines and towards the back of the mouth. If they see he’s doing a good job, they can check less frequently.”

What’s the best toothpaste to use?

“We definitely recommend a fluoride toothpaste. The brand is dependent on your child’s taste preferences.”

What floss should I use for my child?

“If they’re flossing on their own, the string floss can be tricky for some. The floss sticks can be easier at first. The key is to gently go below each tooth and ‘hug’ it on both sides.”

What’s a good way to prevent swimmer’s stain?

“Brush well before swimming to ensure that there’s no plaque buildup. Also avoid taking pool water in your mouth when possible.”

Thanks, Jamie!

Dr. Jadav

Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry

Your Baby's First Dental Visit

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your child’s first dental visit be before his or her first birthday. You may be wondering what we do at a first visit and why it’s so important to start early.

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ORAL DEVELOPMENT - It’s important for us to let parents know what to expect. We will talk about timing of new teeth coming in, what to expect when they are coming in, and how many of them are left to come in. The dentist will show you if your child has any variations of normal with their teeth and what that means for your child. By starting early, we can let you know if we see any early signs of decay. Many times, when we see very early changes, we can suggest changes that can prevent having to do treatment on these teeth. Aside from his or her teeth, we will be checking the tongue, cheeks, jaws, and tonsils. We want to make sure every aspect of your child’s mouth, bite, and jaws look healthy!

ORAL HYGIENE - Parents often ask when to start brushing and how to brush their little ones. We will review when to start, how to position them, and toothpaste use.  At our office, we rate oral hygiene on a scale from 1-5 with 5 being the best. That way, you can see how you’re doing in terms of hygiene.

DIET – Diet plays a major component in cavity formation. For babies, we’ll review bottle use. For toddlers, we talk about gummy snacks, sippy cups, and juices. For older kids, we’ll review the types of foods (ooey, gooey, sticky) to try to avoid. Sippy cups, juices, and candy are just a few of the topics we’ll cover.

HABITS - We will talk about habits that your little one may have like thumb sucking, a pacifier, or nail biting. Although a lot of these habits are age appropriate, we will review what long term changes that they can cause in terms of his or her bite.

TRAUMA - We will review what to do if and when your child ever has any trauma. It’s very common and we want parents to know what to look for, when to call us, or when to come see us in the office.

Most of all, we want you and your child to be very comfortable here. The more the child visits, the more likely that they will realize that coming to the dentist is fun! The Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry team cannot wait to meet your little one!

Dr. Jadav

Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry

 

HOW TO CARE FOR A CHEWED LIP, CHEEK OR TONGUE

 

One of the most common complications of numbing for dental procedures for children is lip biting. Some kids also chew on their tongues or cheeks. It’s a really foreign feeling when the tissues “wake up” from anesthesia and some kids will confuse this feeling with itchiness. At Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry, we offer OraVerse, which helps reduce the time the patient is numb significantly.  However, if you child does bite himself, here’s what to do!

cheek bite.jpg

 

Remember that the cheek or tongue will be swollen, red/white, hot, and painful.  Sometimes parents mistake the chewed up area for infection. It is injured tissue that will heal without antibiotics.

 

Follow these steps if you notice a bite:

 

  • Apply ice packs for first 3 days. Ice packs should be placed for 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off, for 1 hour, 3 times a day.
  • Rinse with salt water two times a day for 3 days.
  • Give your child Tylenol or Motrin for pain.
  • Apply topical numbing ointments available over-the-counter at any pharmacy.

 

If the wound does not heal within a week, call us at 713-461-1509.

 

Dr. Jadav

Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry

IS MY CHILD READY FOR MOUTHWASH?

Many parents encourage their little ones to use mouthwash starting from an early age. Though it can be a beneficial part of his or her oral hygiene routine, you want to make sure your child is ready for it.

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At Smiles for Kids Pediatric Dentistry, we stress that if your child hasn’t mastered the “swish and spit”, they are not ready for mouthwash. We don’t want them to accidently swallow it so please make sure to always supervise. This is especially true for mouthwash with alcohol in it. Always purchase alcohol-free mouthwash for children. If you’re not sure if they’re ready, have them practice with water until their confidence grows.

All mouthwashes are not the same. They can serve several different purposes. Some are simply to freshen breath and others to have the added anti-cavity effect of fluoride. Kids with braces can highly benefit from an anti-cavity rinse in addition to their regular brushing and flossing. To get the optimal anti-cavity effect, always follow the instructions on the back of the bottle. With fluoride mouthwash, don’t eat, drink or rinse after.  It’s best to do the rinse at night so that the active ingredients can stay in contact with the teeth longer.

Don’t forget that mouthwash is just an addition to your hygiene routine. Brushing twice a day and flossing will help keep teeth strong and beautiful!

Dr. Jadav