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2290 Birch St, Ste A, Palo Alto, CA 94306.
(650) 503-6777
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Redwood City, CA
81 Birch Street, Redwood City, CA 94062.
(650)-345-5300
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Santa Clara, CA
1394 Franklin St, Santa Clara, CA 95050.
(408)-246-6030
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5 Benefits of Dental Sealants for Children

Children are the most susceptible to developing tooth decay; this is often due to the types of foods they consume and the absence of a dental regimen. Therefore, as parents, we have a responsibility to guide them right on how to practice good dental hygiene and ensure they receive the best dental care in Palo Alto, CA

In addition to maintaining good dental practices at home, there are plenty of treatments that your youngsters can undergo to help their teeth remain in tip-top shape. Dental sealants are one of them, and your pediatric dentist in Palo Alto will certainly be able to add this preventative measure to your child’s dental cleanup appointment.

What are dental sealants? 

Dental sealants are a non-invasive preventive measure that forms a barrier against cavities. They are usually a plastic material applied on the tooth’s surface, particularly the molars and premolars, filling in some of the deeper crevices that are difficult to clean while maintaining the tooth’s capability. 

Why are dental sealants helpful?

  1. Protection from decay – One of the key benefits of dental sealants for children is their capacity to protect hard-to-reach parts of the mouth. For example, the premolars and molars at the back of the mouth are especially prone to the buildup of food particles and bacteria that causes cavities. By applying dental sealants to these areas, a barrier is created that prevents debris and bacteria from reaching the tooth enamel; hence causing decay.

In fact, research comparing school-aged kids (6–11 years old) with and without dental sealants found that kids without sealants had a higher likelihood of developing cavities than their counterparts who did.

2. Safe and non-toxic – Some parents are hesitant to use dental sealants on their children. However, dental sealants are made from a non-toxic plastic material entirely devoid of harmful chemicals. This makes them safe for children and even pregnant women. 

Remember, tooth decay and other gum diseases often begin early in life; thus, applying sealants is an ideal option for young ones who might not have adopted a comprehensive oral care routine yet. 

3. Quick and easy application process – For most kids, the thought of visiting the dentist’s office could be uncomfortable. Fortunately, the sealant procedure is easy, quick, and painless, so your child should not be afraid. The dentist will meticulously clean and dry the teeth before applying a specific solution to roughen the teeth’s surface in order to increase adhesion. After cleaning and drying again, the sealant is applied onto the molar and premolars and hardened with a light. 

The entire sealant application procedure will take a few minutes, and your child can return to their regular activities immediately. Actually, the process is quick and simple enough to be finished during a routine dental examination, saving both you and your child a lot of time and worry.

4. Dental sealants are quite long-lasting – The sealants the dentist will apply to your children’s teeth will provide them with protection for up to ten years. That said, the best Palo Alto dentists recommend replacing your children’s sealants at least every two to four years. Also, how long sealants last depend on various factors, such as your kid’s diet, oral hygiene, and overall care. 

To lengthen the lifespan of your kid’s sealants, you can encourage healthy oral habits like brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Most importantly, ensure your child does not chew on things such as ice cubes or hard candy. These can make the dental sealants wear down faster.   

5. Helps reduce your children’s dental costs – As we mentioned, sealants prevent cavities and tooth decay. This lessens the need for dental treatment, which can, at times, be expensive. 

Picture this; at least 3 million cavities can be avoided if 7 million children have dental sealants, saving around $300 million in dental care expenses. Again, when you take into account the money required for tooth repair, it’s evident that the cost-saving advantages of dental sealants can only get greater over time.

Not having to lose sleep over the future of your children’s dental health situation is priceless. It can ease your financial stress and other miseries that come with a sick child.  

Seal it up! Schedule an appointment today

Children’s dental sealants can be a powerful cavity-prevention tool. If you are concerned about your child’s oral health, you will find sealants to be a cost-effective alternative to frequent tooth repairs and fillings. The fact that they last longer and are also non-invasive and painless cannot make them a no-brainer! So, by scheduling regular dental checkups and considering using sealants, you can work with your Palo Alto dentist to maintain your child’s optimal dental health and minimize future dental problems.

5 Summer Dental Tips for Kids

5 Summer Dental Tips for Kids_Palo Alto Dentists

The best summer break should not require a visit to a Palo Alto pediatric dentist, all in the name of getting some fillings! And the best way to prevent an emergency visit to the dentist is to take simple steps to take care of your child’s teeth during summer. Summer oral routine can be especially challenging as changes in daily diets and lack of routine can have a negative impact on your children’s teeth. It is easy to see how.

Sleeping in longer hours and forgetting to brush, combined with sugary drinks or sodas throughout the hot days, vacation car trips with sugary snacks or hard candy, popcorn kernels, or ice can all damage oral health. And don’t overlook the dental emergencies that might arise if your children hurt their teeth during contact sports or other summer activities.

But summer oral care does not have to be demanding. Follow our dental tips below to keep your kid’s smile shining all summer long!

 

  1. Schedule your kid’s dental check-up early enough 

Visit a pediatric dentist at the start of every summer. Evidently, there is no better occasion to set up one of those bi-annual dental appointments than summer, when your children are out of school and your schedule is more flexible.

Most parents wait until summer ends to schedule these appointments. Chances are they find dental offices fully booked at this time or end up being overwhelmed by the back-to-school mad rush. As such, it is advisable to plan your child’s trip to the dentist as soon as the summer begins and avoid being caught up in an unnecessary last-minute rush.

 

  1. Stay on schedule 

Summer vacation can disrupt bedtime routines. Regardless of how action-packed your summer gets, it’s vital to ensure your children continue to practice good oral hygiene.

Resist the temptation to allow your children to skip brushing and flossing before bedtime. Also, constantly supervise them to ensure they are brushing twice every day, for at least two minutes with dentist-recommended toothpaste. The American Dental Association (ADA) advises parents to use brushing calendars to be on top of their children’s brushing habits during summer.

Besides, it is an opportunity to spend more time with them. Brushing alongside your kids for two minutes twice a day for at least three months gives you a total of six extra hours together; thus, make the most of them!

 

  1. Prepare well for sleepovers 

No summer break is complete without sleepovers. Sadly, amidst all the pillow throwing and fun, your children could “forget” their brushing habits. Make sure that you pack toothpaste and toothbrushes along with their pajamas and sleeping bags. Furthermore, you can also make it a habit of calling in to ensure that your kid brushes.

It might appear ridiculous to place such emphasis on brushing. But, better brush now than plan emergency visits to a pediatric dentist later, right? Being vigilant will teach your children the significance of dental care throughout their lifetime.

 

  1. Buy healthy summer beverages and snacks. 

Having your children home all day means endless snacking opportunities. It is easy to flood the refrigerator with candy, chips, fruit juices, raisins, cakes, and bread. However, these foods can easily dent your kids’ teeth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cavities (also known as tooth decay or caries) are among the most common chronic illnesses that affect kids in the U.S. Here is how cavities affects children based on their age groups:

 

  • Ages 5-11: The prevalence of untreated cavities in kids aged 5-11 years is 20%.
  • Ages 12-19: The prevalence of untreated cavities in adolescents aged 12-19 is 13%.

As a general tip, avoid acidic, sugary, or starchy food items. Say no to gummy candies. Such snacks stick on your kid’s teeth, invite bacteria, and cause potential tooth decay.

Alternatively, stock your pantry with fresh vegetables and fruits, and make healthy eating seem like a cool thing. Even more important, make plenty of clean drinking water available. When sending your children off to play, trade in the pricey sports drinks for cool, refreshing water.

 

  1. Prevent dental emergencies 

For children, most dental emergencies come about in the summer. Extended time playing outside means more adventures. And while those can be fun, children sometimes hurt their teeth when riding bikes, playing outdoor sports, or enjoying other daring activities.

If your kid has a dental emergency, ensure you take them to a Palo Alto pediatric dentist near you to treat the injury. Most importantly, always encourage your children to wear helmets and mouthguards when riding skateboards, bikes, or roller skates.

 

Summing it up

No matter the season you are in, early dental care is important. Creating and strictly following a dental health care routine is vital for both your kid’s short and long-term health. Observing simple tips like brushing twice a day, snacking healthy, and regularly visiting a pediatric dentist are helpful in protecting your kids’ teeth all summer and beyond.

Article resources:
Information in this article has been gathered from multiple public health sources, including:
https://www.ada.org/
https://www.healthline.com/
https://www.mayoclinic.org/
https://www.mouthhealthy.org
https://www.cdc.gov/

Top 5 Dental Tips for a Healthy Halloween

Top 5 Dental Tips for a Healthy Halloween_Santa Clara Dentists

2020 has been a hard year, and all of us need a break right now. Halloween comes as the perfect opportunity to let our hair down and enjoy the beginning of the holiday season. Get the dental tips from the experts!!

Of course, it doesn’t mean we throw caution to the wind during a global pandemic. We still need to follow the coronavirus guidelines of wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, maintaining at least a six feet distance from others, staying away from crowded places, and washing hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer.

You can still indulge in all the fun that accompanies the Halloween season – pumpkin carving, scavenger hunting, dressing up in Halloween costumes, and eating candy.

Talking of candy, that’s where the horror story for dentists begins. Halloween can spell disaster for the teeth, if the dental tips for this holiday are not followed. Eating candy occasionally and in moderation can do no serious harm. It’s the choice of candy, how many you eat, and how long it lasts in your mouth that determines the extent of damage on your teeth.

Let’s discuss in detail the preventive dental tips for Halloween to ensure you have many reasons to smile this holiday season.

1. Choose Treats Wisely

Halloween treats usually mean candy. You don’t have to be a killjoy and eliminate candy entirely from the party list.

Fortunately, not all candies are made alike, and you can still choose the healthiest options available on the menu.

Here is a lowdown of all the traditional candy options for Halloween and the best dental tips and picks for your teeth.

 

  • Chocolate: When it comes to the best traditional Halloween candy, chocolate wins hands down. The fact that it is popular among children and adults works in its favor as well. Chocolate melts easily and doesn’t stick to your teeth or stay in your mouth long to cause tooth damage. The darker the chocolate, the better for your teeth. It also has a lesser sugar content than the milk version.

 

  • Hard Candy: They harm your teeth, and can break it if you are not careful. Hard candy tends to stay in your mouth for a longer time, allowing the sugar to damage your teeth and gums. Unless it is a sugar-free product, try to avoid or limit this type of candy for Halloween.

 

  • Sticky Candy: Candies like taffy and gummies are sticky and can spell bad news for your dental health. It clings to your teeth, stays longer in your mouth, and tough to remove, allowing enough time to damage your teeth and gums.

 

  • Sour Candy: Though delicious, sour candy is highly acidic. The acid in sour candy can weaken and damage the teeth enamel putting it at higher risk for cavities. Be it hard or sticky form; sour candies are among the worst offenders of teeth and gums.

 

  • Popcorn: Popcorn might seem like a harmless, healthy treat at the outset, but it can also potentially damage your teeth. The hard kernels can get stuck in-between your teeth, and the caramel version is sticky and sugary.

2. Tackle the Bacteria

It’s not the candy per se, which wreaks havoc on your teeth. It is the bacteria that develops in your mouth due to the high sugar content in candies. The bacteria feast on the sugar and leftover food in your mouth, leaving behind erosive acids that cause teeth decay, cavities, and gum diseases.

One effective solution and dental tip is to chew sugarless gum with the ADA seal for 20 minutes after your meal. Chewing gum increases the saliva in our mouth and helps in neutralizing the acid produced by the bacteria. You can add the sugarless gum in your bag of treats for the Halloween party instead of candy.

3. Have a Plan

Having a plan in action beforehand will help you enjoy the candy treats as well as keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Candy is not harmful when eaten in moderation. The best time to eat candy is along with meals or immediately after mealtime. Saliva production increases during meals and helps rinse away the sugar, food particles, and harmful acids.

Educate and emphasize the need for a balanced diet for your family. Eating candy and consuming sugary carbonated beverages does nothing good for your body, including your teeth and gums. They lead to tooth decay and gum diseases.

Drink fluoridated water to prevent tooth decay and wash down the harmful effects of sugary candies and beverages is a good idea. Keep sufficient stock of water in handy for your Halloween party. Opting for sugar-free candies and drinks for ‘trick or treat’ is a smart choice as well.

You can take control and set a limit on your family’s candy consumption by keeping a limited stock and donating the rest to other people and charitable organizations.

4. Maintain Dental Hygiene

While you may know the basics and benefits of daily dental hygiene, you need to amplify your cleaning routine during Halloween.

Here’s how you can do it!

Don’t rush. Curb the tendency to rush to the bathroom to brush your teeth immediately after eating the candies. Brushing after you eat acidic foods can further damage your teeth enamel when it’s hypersensitive. Instead, drink lots of water to rinse away the sugar and food bits in your mouth, and wait for at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste. You can also check with your dentist about the recommended toothpaste based on your teeth condition and type.

Take extra care of your teeth during Halloween. You can brush your teeth three times a day instead of the standard practice of 2 times a day and spend more time thoroughly brushing your teeth. Continue to floss once a day as it helps remove plaque and food bits from hard to reach places in your mouth.

5. Be Cautious about Halloween Costumes 

This might sound bizarre, but your Halloween costume can indeed cause damage to your teeth.

The makeup, cosmetics, or accessories you use on your teeth to achieve a specific look, can harm your teeth. Check with your dentist before putting anything inside your mouth – fake teeth, prosthetics, or makeup. While they might not cause teeth cavities, the high lead content can be hazardous for your teeth.

Final Thoughts

Celebrating Halloween in times of the pandemic is a great idea. But, do follow the coronavirus guidelines, consult your dentist, and practice the above preventive dental care advice for a safe and fun-filled Halloween.

You can trust Blue Turtle Dental services in Palo Alto, CA, for expert dental care. We are enthusiastic about helping you and your children have a happy & safe Halloween.

To schedule a dental appointment before Halloween, call our dentists in Palo Alto, CA, now.

 

Why You Must Schedule Your Child’s Back-to-School Dental Checkup Even if They’re Attending Online School

Why You Must Schedule Your Child’s Back-to-School Dental Checkup Even if They’re Attending Online School_Redwood City Dentists

For generations in American history, Back to School has been an important time to check children’s general dental health. Call our children’s dentists in Palo Alto to schedule a back-to-school dental checkup for your kids even if they are attending online school.  

Back to school dental checkup offers a fresh chance for a healthy start. It’s time for your children to get school books, cool stationery, and new toothbrushes! 

Starting the new school year with a renewed commitment to dental hygiene puts your children on a winning track throughout the academic year. The American Dental Association estimates that dental diseases cause children to miss over 51 million school hours each year! Dental checkups are especially essential to fight the most common chronic dental condition: cavities. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to avoid untreated dental diseases that can cause pain, trouble eating, difficulty in speaking and school absenteeism.   

The academic year of 2020 presents unique challenges for parents and children. Your child’s dental problems remain the same whether the classroom is in place or online, and when neglected, has a direct impact on his or her school life. However, parents may hesitate to schedule dental checkups to reduce chances of community coronavirus transmission. Bear in mind that back-to-school dental check-ups are even more critical amid the current coronavirus pandemic to avoid easily treatable conditions that might result in dental disease flare-ups and emergency visits later on. 

It’s a great idea to schedule a dental appointment with your child’s pediatric dentist before they start school to ensure they’re maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Some schools in California require your child to get a dental examination before going back to school in the fall. Even if your child’s school doesn’t mandate an appointment, it’s still essential for their overall health to see regularly see their dentist and get their annual dental checkup. 

 

Why are Back-to-School dental check-ups important? 

Your child cannot afford to miss a dental examination before heading back to the classroom. Dental check-ups are an essential part of your child’s overall health, which could affect his or her academic performance. 

Dental examinations are equally important as immunizations and booster shots as per the American Dental Association.  Back to school is the right time to pay attention to your children’s dental care, among other aspects such as their eyesight, disease prevention, and sports equipment.

Early detection with dental problems can ensure that your child gets treated at the right time and stays healthy throughout the academic year. When you ignore your child’s ‘back-to-school’ dental check-up, dental problems that arise in the course of the year can be painful and affect your child’s life, including his or her classroom performance. For example, tooth cavities, a common dental problem among children, can cause severe pain, difficulties in eating and speaking, poor concentration, and school absenteeism. 

Dr. Alex Yen, one of the best children’s dentists in Palo Alto, CA, says that parents must treat their child’s ‘back-to-school’ appointments as preventive dental services. Children with dental complications get affected physically, mentally, and socially. A healthy mouth leads to improved concentration and classroom performance. Treating minor dental problems and preventing cavities boosts your child’s morale and school performance. 

 

What happens during back to school appointments

With a recommended two dentist check-ups for children, back-to-school time is an ideal time to have one scheduled for your child. 

At Blue Turtle Dental, our pediatric dentists in Palo Alto, we have been busy with back-to-school dental appointments. We maintain the highest standards of sanitation, health, and safety as per the COVID-19 regulations. If you have not made a Back-to-School dental appointment, please make the time and do it for your child. This appointment is always important, but more so than ever in these times.

The ‘back-to-school’ dental exam will help ensure your child is brushing and flossing correctly. It will help us identify any potential issues before they become an emergency visit and put your child’s mouth in a lot of trouble in the future. We examine your child’s overall dental health, looking for decays, cavities, gum diseases, misalignment, and malocclusions. Based on your child’s dental condition, we suggest the right treatment. Your child’s dental check-up may include the following procedures: 

 

  • Professional Tooth Cleaning – This is a must! No matter how well your child brushes and flosses, a professional tooth cleaning removes more cavities-causing bacteria than routine brushing can achieve. Professional tooth cleaning also removes most teeth stains for children.
  • Fluoride Treatment – This is another must. Fluoride is a mineral that prevents caries in their very elementary, microscopic diseases stage. At your child’s dental exam, we will apply topical fluoride to protect their teeth and they may be advised not to rinse, eat, or drink for 30 minutes after the application.
  • X-ray Procedures – Dental x-rays help us observe the development of your child’s teeth and to check on their tooth root health. X-rays also help detect decay, if any. 
  • Mouthguards Checks – If your child plays sports and uses mouthguards, back-to-school dental checkups is a good time to get the mouthguard evaluated for wear and tear and fit.
  • Sealants – Sealants are another way to protect your child’s teeth from cavities. Dental sealants create a thin protective barrier to prevent growth of bacteria and food accumulation in the molars (back teeth), where most common tooth decay occurs. Once permanent molars start coming in, ask your dentist if sealants are recommended for your child.

 

It is essential to maintain dental hygiene post the dental check-ups. Ensure your child is brushing twice a day, flossing once in a day, and eating a healthy diet that limits sugar intake. 

Final Thoughts on Back-to-School Dental Checkups with Children’s Dentists in Palo Alto

A back-to-school dental appointment is critical in your child’s health and academic performance. You can trust Blue Turtle Dental services in Palo Alto, CA, for expert dental care. We are enthusiastic about helping your children start their school year on a happy, winsome note.To schedule a back-to-school dental appointment, call our children’s dentists in Palo Alto, CA, now.

The Importance of Bringing Children to the Dentist

The Importance of Bringing Children to the Dentist_Palo Alto Dentists

Once your child’s first teeth erupt, it’s time to visit the dentist. You may think these baby teeth don’t really matter, because they will eventually go, and the adult teeth are more important. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. You can set your child on a course of good dental health by bringing him or her to the dentist right from the sign of the first tooth.

Statistics show that by three years of age, as many as 30 percent of children have had tooth decay. This can be very dangerous for the developing adult teeth and is completely preventable. Our specialists can see early signs of disease. A child’s risk of decay may also depend on the shape of the tooth, the enamel and saliva.

During early childhood, a good diet is essential for overall good health. To get the best nutrition from food, a child needs to be able to chew properly. Healthy teeth also help the child learn to speak clearly. Many of the treatment options that are available to adults are also available to children.

During a child’s first visit to the dentist, the parents may have a lot to learn. At this time, parents can talk to the dentist about:

• How to help their infant or toddler have good oral heath

• What is the proper use of fluoride

• What to do about finger or thumb sucking

• What are the milestones for teething

• How does diet effect oral health

• How to brush a child’s teeth

After the first checkup, parents should have a good idea of what is good oral care for their young child. If the child doesn’t fall asleep while sucking a bottle of milk or juice, doesn’t eat in the middle of the night and has transitioned from the bottle to a cup, it may be enough to wait one year before the next visit to the dentist. By age two, children should visit the dentist every six months just as is recommended for adults.

It helps a lot to visit a dentist who knows how to treat children. Our specialists know how to help children relax, and they have the patience to answer all of your child’s questions.

By taking their children to the dentist when the first teeth begin to arrive, parents are putting their children on course for keeping their teeth all their lives. Our specialist may be able to see oral problems in the making and help stop problems before they become serious issues that cause pain and require major treatment.

Contact Blue Turtle Dental today to make an appointment. We look forward to answering any questions you may have.

How Dental Sealants Can Help Protect Kids from Tooth Decay

Even with modern dental services, tooth decay affects just over 70 percent of American children under the age of 19.

In addition to being unsightly and potentially painful, untreated tooth decay can result in a number of serious oral health problems that could plague a child for years.

Studies continue to show that dental sealants are one of the most effective ways to preserve a child’s oral health and prevent tooth decay from developing.

The Importance of Baby Teeth

Many parents fail to schedule regular dental appointments for their child simply because they know that baby teeth are going to fall out at some point. While it is true that their baby teeth will eventually fall out, developing multiple cavities at a young age can lead to a lifetime of oral health problems.

Younger children with unhealthy baby teeth will have a higher risk of developing issues such as malocclusion (an improper positioning of adult teeth).

When to Start Scheduling Appointments

Parents can begin scheduling dental appointments for their child as soon as they feel comfortable with it. Most specialists suggest that children have their first appointment by the time they reach one year of age or when their first teeth begin to erupt.

In those first few years, the dentist will be able to keep an eye on your child’s oral health and suggest preventative treatments as they are needed. Most children require dental sealants around the time they turn the age of six or when their first set of molars come in.

A Look at Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are not only easy to place on a child’s teeth, but when they are combined with great oral hygiene habits and regular trips to the dentist, they have a success rate of nearly 100 percent.

These sealants are nothing more than thin plastic strips that are applied to the grooves on the chewing surface of one’s teeth. It is important to apply sealants to the chewing surface because they will keep food debris and bacteria out of the hard-to-reach areas of the teeth.

The entire process can often be carried out in as little as an hour and it requires no drilling or scraping of the teeth.

The dentist will begin by cleaning the teeth thoroughly before applying a special gel to the chewing surface of each tooth.

After the gel is dry, the teeth are cleaned once again and the sealant is “painted” on the teeth. For most children, each tooth can be sealed in less than a minute.

Does My Child Need Sealants?

The only way to know for sure if your child is a good candidate for sealants is to schedule an appointment with Blue Turtle Dental today.

Why the Kindergarten Health Requirement is so Important

Oral health is a major issue for children in the United States. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 42% of children aged 2 to 11 have had cavities in their primary teeth, and 23% of children in the same age group have untreated dental decay. Children in families facing economic challenges have an even higher prevalence of dental decay. Oral care for children is really necessary to look into.

California is taking steps to reduce childhood oral health problems– and Blue Turtle backs our great state in this effort!

California’s Kindergarten Oral Health Requirement

This new law mandates that all children be seen by a dentist prior to starting kindergarten. It is an effort to catch kids whose oral health may be “slipping through the cracks” with the hope that earlier visits to a dentist will prevent dental disease or redirect oral health that needs improvement.

Some kids have already seen a dentist multiple times before entering kindergarten. Others have not. With this requirement, California hopes to reach the many children who are lacking oral care. For those who need it, there is assistance available so that every family can have access to a dental visit regardless of their tax bracket.

Oral care counts with kids

Oral health problems can have a big impact on the life of a child. If a child has tooth pain when they eat– or even drink– this can lead to malnutrition, affecting growth and development. Oral pain can also distract children during school, hindering their ability to learn and may contribute to behavioral problems or social maladaptation.

Pain isn’t the only thing that can impact school performance. Poor dental health often hurts children’s self esteem and lowers their self confidence– this in turn makes them far less likely to raise their hands, ask questions, and participate in their education. Even if they’re doing fine in class, kids with oral health problems may struggle making friends with peers and gaining the critical social education they need to learn about themselves and others.

Dental health problems last a lifetime

Sometimes people incorrectly believe that pediatric oral health is a “trial run.” After all– kids’ teeth fall out, right? Well yes, kids’ teeth fall out– and are replaced– but the importance of oral health remains the same. Studies show that people who experience dental decay in their primary teeth are more likely to face oral health problems as adults as well.

Not only that, but gum health is essential, and no matter what kids’ teeth are doing, their gums certainly stay in place. Periodontal (or gum) disease in adults has been linked with heart disease, pancreatic cancer, kidney disease, alzheimer’s, prostatitis, and more. People who don’t receive the necessary dental care at home and in a dentist’s office are far more likely to experience gum disease.

Clearly, oral care is absolutely critical, not only for kids’ education, comfort, and well-being– but for their future health.

Find the best pediatric dental care with Blue Turtle Dental

One reason Blue Turtle Dental is the best source of family dentistry Palo Alto has ever seen is that we are completely committed to exceptional oral care for the entire family– and especially, getting the youngest members off to a great start. We stand behind California’s Kindergarten Oral Health Requirement, and are working to get all children access to the dental care they need to succeed in school.

The ADA recommends that children be seen by a dentist when they cut their first tooth, or before one year of age. After that, dental visits should take place every six months so that dental professionals can monitor the health of your child’s mouth and catch any small problems while they’re still small.

At Blue Turtle Dental, pediatric visits are easy, quick, and often very fun. We work together with families to ensure that your child is comfortable at all times and that all your questions and concerns are addressed at every visit. We know that a positive start to oral care can set the stage for an entire lifetime of great dental health– and we’re honored to be your child’s starting place.

Schedule your child’s appointment today!

Photo Credit: amrufm via Compfight cc

Halloween Tips for Parents

With Halloween just around the corner, you may be considering the effects of the imminent candy onslaught on your small monsters’ teeth. It’s fair to say that health-conscious parents everywhere cringe at the sight of their triumphant children’s heaping bags of sweets following the trick-or-treating ritual. As your source for family dentistry in Palo Alto, your Blue Turtle Dental team would like to assuage your fears: Halloween doesn’t have to be a scary holiday! Here are some of our tips for keeping Halloween safe for your kids’ teeth, while indulging in some spooky fun.

Set a treat schedule with your child

After her big Halloween haul, set a time for eating a small treat of her choice. Our suggestion is to combine candy-eating with an actual meal or snack (preferably a healthy one). This takes advantage of the elevated saliva production associated with eating, and thus saliva’s unique anti-microbial properties– in addition to its function of “cleaning” the mouth of bacteria food, like lingering sugar. Don’t worry if your child eats more than her “share” of candy on the actual night of Halloween. Just brush and floss afterward, and set a schedule for the following days (or months).

Be choosy

We’ve all been taught to say please and thank you, and your polite children are no doubt as equally accepting of a stale Tootsie Roll as they are of a king size Snickers. However, once your children have brought their loot home, it’s worth it to go over that candy with a critical eye. Why? Well, not all candy is created equal in terms of oral health.

We suggest limiting the following:

  • Sticky, tacky candies that get stuck to teeth long after they’re eaten– like taffy or caramel. These could feed hungry bacteria hours after your child has finished her treat.
  • Hard candy, like jawbreakers, that require literally hours of sucking on a rock of sugar, also raise dental red flags. The entire time that your child is slowly, slowly eating away at his treat– bacteria in his mouth are getting the nutrients they need to eat away at your child’s teeth!
  • Acidic candy. What is this? You find acidic candy commonly labeled as “sour.” The problem is, raising acid levels in the mouth can harm tooth enamel— and if this sour candy is a hard candy as well, that means long exposure to enamel acid wash!

Seize the “teachable” moment

When it comes to Halloween and your child’s health, your glass of bubbly green witch’s brew is definitely half full. Instead of worrying about how much sugar your darling has gorged on, take this opportunity to teach her about good dental health habits.

Show your child that after indulging in a treat, it’s important to brush and floss to protect her teeth and gums from lingering sugar that could feed harmful bacteria. You can even explain how sugar causes cavities– it’s not the sugar itself, but the acid formed when bacteria eat sugar that eats away at our tooth enamel.

Practicing a schedule for eating a limited amount of treats, followed by appropriate oral care, sets your child up for later success in a lifetime of great dental health.

Questions about Halloween and your child’s heath?

Please call us. At Blue Turtle Dental, a family dentistry in Palo Alto, we’re happy to answer all your questions and brainstorm with you about the best way to keep your kids smiling. We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment!

Photo Credit: kierkier via Compfight cc

Your Questions About Thumb-Sucking — Answered!

At Blue Turtle Dental, we get a lot of questions about thumb-sucking, and what to do about it. It’s a common behavior for babies and small children, and understandably– parents want to know how thumb-sucking effects dental development!

To better assist our patients, we’ve put together a brief list of frequently asked questions regarding thumb-sucking to complement the help parents also receive from our dentists.

 

Why thumb-sucking?

Sucking actually begins as a very important reflex— called the sucking reflex— which is present in all new babies and helps them to begin nursing. As a matter of fact, this reflex is so strong at the beginning of life that during an ultrasound, parents-to-be can sometimes see their growing baby already sucking her thumb in utero!

The sucking reflex is known as a primitive reflex, a set of very old reflexes that can be found in all healthy newborns. Some of these reflexes– like the moro, or startle reflex– don’t have a lot of use today, while others– like the rooting reflex– still help newborns gain nutrition and help them bond with their parents.

 

My child is no longer an infant– why is she still sucking her thumb?

Your child is not alone. Other primates also suck their thumbs long past the days when they were nursing. Sucking behavior is actually very normal behavior in young children.

Sucking on thumbs, fingers, or a pacifier or toy becomes a comfort measure for many children– they use this behavior to self-soothe when overwhelmed or sad, to calm themselves at the end of the day or before sleep, to show contentment, even sometimes if they’re just hungry or bored! Young children are still learning about self-regulation. At this stage of life, they don’t have a lot of the tools that we adults do; so, they suck their thumbs.

 

If this behavior is normal, why should I be concerned?

This is the most common question we hear at Blue Turtle Dental. As normal and natural as thumb-sucking is, this behavior can also cause problems with development. Some problems we’ve seen connected are:

 

Most children naturally stop sucking their thumbs before these problems develop, but for the die-hards out there– kids who suck their thumbs for a long time, or extremely vigorously– it’s important to be aware of the potential complications of this.

 

When should I be concerned?

Again, keep in mind that most children will naturally wean themselves away from thumb-sucking– usually between three and five years of age. Children who continue sucking their thumbs after ages five or six are at a greater risk for malocclusion or speech problems, and this is when we start to get concerned.

Besides your child’s age, there are some other signs to be on the look-out for that will tell you if thumb-sucking has become a problem for your child:

 

  • child shows embarrassment or shame about thumb-sucking behavior (such as hiding, or pulling hand away)
  • child develops a callous from sucking (this shows the child is sucking too much or with excessive vigor that could cause problems with dental development)
  • child pulls on or chews her hair while sucking (this could be an indicator of a larger anxiety problem)

Please keep in mind, these instances are outside the norm. Usually, thumb-sucking both resolves itself, and is not involved in anxious behaviors.

 

What can I do if my child will not stop sucking his or her thumb?

If thumb-sucking becomes a problem, our dentists are here to help parents and patients address it. Because our philosophy at Blue Turtle Dental is to provide excellent preventive dental care, our dentists work with parents early to stop thumb-sucking before it becomes a problem. There are even some home remedies they suggest:

 

  • provide distracting activities when your child starts thumb-sucking
  • praise your child for not thumb-sucking
  • limit “sucking time” to just before sleep and naps, thus normalizing awake time as “non-sucking”
  • create a reward system for non-sucking

At Blue Turtle Dental, we recognize that all our patients are unique, and we pride ourselves in providing the dental care that fits each patient. If you believe this is effecting your child’s dental health, please don’t hesitate to visit us in our Palo Alto office. Let us work with you to make sure your child has the best pediatric dental care!

Photo Credit: Byron and Tamara via Compfight cc