Valpariaso Pediatric Dentist | What to Expect at Your Child’s Dental Appointment

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The American Dental Association recommends all patients to schedule routine six-month check-up exams. This is particularly important for growing children.

At your visit, we will screen your child’s mouth for tooth decay and gum disease. Regular professional dental cleanings are essential for a healthy mouth. During your child’s dental cleaning, we will gently remove any buildup of plaque or tartar to help prevent tooth decay.

During this visit, our team will spend time discussing proper brushing technique and oral hygiene with your child. Depending on your child’s age, we may also teach them about the correct use of floss and mouthwash. Our team members are friendly, patient, and great with kids, and will answer every question.

We may recommend fluoride be applied to the teeth as part of your child’s treatment. Topical fluoride is used to strengthen enamel and make teeth more resistant to tooth decay.

Sealants are highly effective in preventing tooth decay and cavities on your molars and premolars. These areas are the most susceptible to cavities due to the anatomized grooves.

Typically, children get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. These sealants can protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants.

The process of applying sealants is easy and fast. The application steps are as follows:

  • Your child’s teeth are thoroughly cleaned
  • The teeth are dried
  • A liquid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth
  • The solution is cured using a special curing light

Sealants act as a barrier and protect the enamel from plaque and acids. They may last for several years before a reapplication is needed. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay.

Sealants are not a substitute for brushing your teeth. It is important to maintain proper oral hygiene and keep up with professional dental cleanings. Also, sealants do not protect between the teeth, so it is essential to continue to floss daily.

Without proper dental care, children are susceptible to oral decay. Healthy smiles should not stop at our dental office. Our experienced and caring team will educate you and your child on how to make good food choices and how to properly brush and floss at home.

Our expert dentist and knowledgeable team have the experience and qualifications to care for your child’s teeth, gums and mouth throughout various stages of childhood. For more information or to request an appointment, contact our office today.

1111 Cumberland Crossing Dr.
Valparaiso, IN 46383

(219) 286-6148

Valpaiso Pediatric Dentist | Early Dental Care Could Save Your Child’s Life

Pediatric Dentist Near Me

The negative effects of poor oral hygiene are well documented, and can impact much more than your mouth. A lot of serious medical conditions can be caused or worsened by complications arising for poor oral health. Starting your child’s oral care off right serves the twofold benefit of modeling the importance of good oral hygiene to them and giving their mouth a solid foundation of oral health. If you want to ensure your child’s oral health is taken care of, contact our pediatric dental team today to schedule your child’s next examination and cleaning!

The Dangers of Poor Oral Health

Poor oral health can result in much more than cavities and toothaches. Studies have linked a long list of serious and life-threatening conditions to poor oral hygiene, including heart disease, dementia, stroke, respiratory issues, an increased risk of miscarriage, and more. Most of these conditions are worsened by the bacteria that can enter your blood stream due to gum disease or tooth decay. These issues take time to develop and time to treat. However, the sooner you start practicing good oral health, the better defense your mouth with have against disease, protecting your whole body.

Care for All Ages

Everyone experience different oral care needs throughout their childhood. From the teething stage as baby teeth start to appear to loss of teeth as adult ones begin to take their place, there are a lot of different stages a child’s mouth will go through before it’s fully developed. It’s important to recognize that each of these stages requires their own unique oral care. Waiting to teach your child good oral hygiene could be disastrous for their health.

Invest in your child’s future health by starting off their oral care routine off well. Contact our pediatric dental team today to learn more about the potentially life-saving benefits of early childhood dental care or to schedule your child’s next examination and cleaning.

1111 Cumberland Crossing Dr.
Valparaiso, IN 46383

(219) 286-6148

Pediatric Dentist | Pacifiers and Teeth Development

Pediatric Dentist Near Me

One of the best ways to calm fussy babies is by giving them a pacifier. However, as babies grow this can be a difficult habit to break. The use of pacifiers can cause improper mouth development which leads to abnormal tooth growth and additional complications later in life. Here’s what you need to know about the impact pacifiers have on your baby’s smile.

Negative Effects of Pacifiers

Physical development is crucial for children’s overall health in the first few years of their life. What you do now can affect them for their entire life. Pacifiers can influence the shape and alignment of your child’s teeth and jaw. It can move the front teeth forward and you may notice your child developing crooked teeth or bite problems. The front teeth may also not meet when their mouth is closed and there can be changes in the shape of the roof of their mouth.

Positive Effects of Pacifiers

While they may contribute to oral health complications, pacifiers do offer several benefits for parents and children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) babies up to one year of age who are offered a pacifier at night have a reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

What You Should Do

Since pacifiers can be beneficial for other health reasons, you should speak with us about how to wean your baby off of pacifiers. We also recommend that you visit our office for an examination as soon as your child’s first tooth develops.

Breaking the habit of pacifier use can be difficult, but there are various ways you can wean your child off a pacifier. By following our tips and recommendations, your child can experience the calming effect of pacifiers without developing pacifier teeth.

Call and schedule your child’s next appointment with our team today.  

Growing Smiles Pediatric Dentistry of Valparaiso
1111 Cumberland Crossing Drive, Valparaiso, IN 46383
(219) 286-6148

46383 Pediatric Dentist | How Probiotics Improve Oral Health

Pediatric Dentist Valparaiso

pediaric dentist valparaisoProbiotics are typically advertised as being helpful for digestion. However, studies have shown that they can also improve oral health. Probiotics are beneficial for fighting infections that lead to oral disease.

Reducing Gingivitis

A study published in Contemporary Clinical Dentistry has found that probiotics can reduce gum bleeding in patients with moderate to severe gingivitis. In the trial, children were given either a placebo or two different combinations of probiotics. At the three-week mark, it was discovered that children who took probiotics had significant improvements in their gingival status.

Combating Periodontitis

Periodontitis is another oral disease that probiotics have been shown to fight. Periodontitis is caused by harmful bacteria that separate teeth from the gums creating pockets that can become infected. Probiotics can fight harmful bacteria and lessen the inflammation to help heal the mouth.

Fighting Cavities

Another finding from the trial of the Contemporary Clinical Dentistry showed that children who took probiotics also saw a significant decrease in plaque. The reduction of plaque leads to less decay. Probiotics fight the plaque and occupy the spaces on the teeth where bad bacteria thrive.

Minimizing Bad Breath

Another benefit of probiotics is the effect they have on bad breath. Bad breath is usually caused by volatile sulfur compound bacteria releasing odor-causing gases. Because probiotics are healthy bacteria, it is believed that they can eliminate the bad bacteria and maintain a healthy bacteria balance in your mouth.

The benefits of probiotics are not just limited to the digestive health. Researchers continue to conduct studies to discover new ways probiotics contribute to a healthy mouth and body.

Contact our team for more information on oral health or to schedule a visit today.

1111 Cumberland Crossing Drive
Valparaiso, IN 46383
(219) 286-6148

Valparaiso Pediatric Dentist | Gear Up – Protect Your Child’s Teeth

Pediatric Dentist in Valparaiso

Pediatric Dentist in ValparaisoLosing a tooth can make simple tasks difficult. A missing tooth can impact the way you smile, eat, and talk. If your child plays sports, they are at a higher risk for losing a tooth. It is important for them to visit us to discuss potential protective solutions. Mouth guards are a useful tool for keeping your child’s teeth healthy. Here’s what you need to know.

What do Mouthguards Do?

Mouthguards help protect the teeth. They are a line of defense in situations where an injury may occur. In addition to protecting teeth, they help cushion the tongue, jaw, and lips from injury. Usually, a mouthguard protects the top row of teeth because they protrude out further than the bottom set.

Who Should Wear a Mouthguard?

If your child plays sports, particularly high-contact sports, they should wear a mouthguard. Hockey, football, wrestling, and boxing can all present situations where teeth may become injured. Think of a mouthguard as a necessary component to your child’s set of equipment. It may also be helpful for non-contact sports players to wear a mouthguard. Even baseball players and gymnasts can benefit from using one to protect against an oral injury.

Custom vs. Store-Bought

Ideally, your child should wear a custom-fitted mouthguard. There are options available at stores, but these often do not fit well. Having a mouthguard that fits comfortably and does not impeded talking or breathing is important. At your child’s next visit, ask us about fitting your child for a mouthguard. If your child wears braces, we can help you find a solution that keeps their teeth safe during orthodontic treatment.

Your child’s teeth deserve to be protected. Imagine how difficult it would be to talk, eat, drink, or smile with a missing tooth. Young athletes put their mouths at risk each time they practice or compete. Make sure they have the right gear to stay safe.

For questions about your child’s dental care or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office.

Valparaiso Pediatric Dentist | Keep Kids’ Teeth Safe and Healthy This Winter

Pediatric Dentist in Valparaiso, IN

Valparaiso Pediatric DentistAs a parent, you want to keep your child’s teeth safe and healthy all year long. Brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are great ways to prevent tooth decay. What you may not realize is that the colder weather of the holiday season brings its own challenges to bear. Here are some ways to help protect your child’s oral health this winter.

Encourage Water

While you may think of summer as having dangers of dehydration, winter play holds similar risks for children. The air is drier during this season than in the spring or fall. Activities such as sledding and snowball fighting can lead to sweating out fluids. Have your child sip water throughout the day. This can keep them hydrated and prevent dry mouth, which can raise risk of tooth decay.

Mouth Guard

Whether your child enjoys skiing, sledding, skating, or snowball fights, winter brings increased risks of falls and injuries to both mouth and face. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), up to 40% of kids’ dental injuries occur during sports. Having your child wear a mouth guard during these activities can greatly reduce their risk of damaging teeth or gums.

Strong Hygiene

Regular brushing and flossing are crucial to keeping teeth healthy. If your child becomes ill with a cold or flu virus, continuing dental hygiene can help their immune system concentrate on getting well. If your child vomits, have them rinse their mouth with water right away to avoid leaving acids on their teeth. Discard and replace your child’s toothbrush once they are well to prevent re-infection.

Limit Sugar

Cold weather can lead to sniffles and coughs. Avoid bathing your child’s teeth in sugar from cough drops. Choose sugar-free options to soothe sore throats. Limit juice and cocoa that have high sugar content. Monitor your child’s candy intake through the holidays and ensure they brush after indulging.

Don’t Share

While sharing toys and books is a habit to encourage, sharing cups or silverware is not. Tooth decay, cold sores, and other oral ailments can be spread through saliva. Make sure each family member is using their own drink, spoon, and fork.

For more ways you can keep your child’s teeth safe through the winter season, contact our office.

Valparaiso Pediatric Dentist | Healthy Transitions: Trading Bottles for Cups

Pediatric Dentist in Valparaiso, IN

Pediatric Dentist Valparaiso

Helping your child switch from bottles to cups can be challenging. Babies may become emotionally attached to their bottles as a source of comfort as well as nutrition.

However, bottles can also become dangerous to your child’s teeth over time. Continuing to use a bottle too long can cause your child’s palate to narrow. This can lead to an increased need for orthodontic treatment as they grow.

Bottles also expose a baby’s teeth to liquids over an extended period of time. Liquids such as milk, formula, and juice contain sugars that can increase the risk of tooth decay. To help protect your child’s teeth, you should encourage your child to start drinking from a cup by their first birthday.

It is important to consider your choice of training cup. There are many and varied options of child training cups available. Here are some things to consider when selecting cups for your child.

Keep the goal in mind when choosing a style of training cup for your child.

Cups advertised as “no spill” often contain a special valve beneath the spout. This valve does protect against easy spilling, but also prevents sipping. Instead, these cups require your child to suck on the spout, essentially replacing one type of bottle with another. This can slow your child’s training on cup usage. In some cases, these valves may even require a high level of suction, making them frustrating to use.

Look for a cup with a simple spout rather than a “no spill” spout.

These cups are easy for your child to use and help them learn to sip. Cups with handles can be easier for small hands to learn to hold. If spills are a concern, look for a cup with a weighted base that can help it self-right.

Remember that transitions occur in stages.

Phase out the bottle in favor of the cup, don’t try to change all at once. Once your child can use the cup, limit the bottle to water. This can help make the bottle less desired. Provide the bottle less often over time to allow your child time to adjust. Once your child has mastered training cups, start offering a small plastic cup without a lid. When they can use this new cup, phase out the training cup.

For more information about bottle to cup transitions or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

Valparaiso Pediatric Dentist | Say Cheese!

Valparaiso Pediatric Dentist

Pediatric Dentist Valparaiso INIt has long been known that dairy products contain high amounts of calcium, which is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. However, not all dairy works in the same ways. Did you know that a recent study has found that cheese can actually help protect teeth against cavities?

How does cheese prevent cavities?

Eating cheese helps stimulate the production of saliva in your child’s mouth, which washes away sugars, acids, and bacteria on their teeth. Additionally, cheese is a great source of both calcium and phosphorous, which can help strengthen tooth enamel. What’s more, the scientists who performed the study found that some of the other compounds found in cheese seem to adhere to tooth enamel, further protecting the teeth from acids in the mouth.

Are all cheeses the same?

No, some cheeses are healthier for your family than others. To get the greatest benefit from your child’s cheese intake, stick with real cheese varieties, rather than processed cheeses. American cheese, cheese dips, and pre-packaged cheese products, such as those found in jars or spray cans, have added sugars to enhance their flavor. These sugars can be harmful to teeth, rather than protecting them. In addition, these types of cheese products contain a significantly reduced amount of actual cheese content. These processed cheeses can even wear down tooth enamel, increasing risk of decay.

What kinds of cheese should I give my child?

There are hundreds of types of real cheese available, which are packed with calcium and great for tooth protection. If your child enjoys aged cheeses, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey jack are all tasty options. If he or she prefers softer cheeses, Mozzarella, Brie, or Camembert may be a great way to make your child smile. Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and other similar cheeses have much to offer for a child with a more expansive palate.

What if we’re on a low-fat diet?

Good news! The fat content of your cheese choices do not affect its ability to protect your child’s teeth. The low-fat or non-fat versions of your child’s favorite varieties of cheese contain just as much calcium, phosphorous, and other tooth-protecting compounds as the full-fat varieties.

With so many great options to choose from, consider offering your child cheese instead of sugary or starchy options for a snack or end of meal treat. Cheese tastes great and is healthy for your child and their teeth. For more ideas for healthy snacking, contact our pediatric dental office.

Valparaiso Pediatric Dentist | Help Your Child Avoid Dental Fear

Valparaiso Dentist

Valparaiso IN Pediatric DentistThe American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children should see a dentist at least once every six months. Depending on your child’s individual oral health needs, they may need to see the dentist more frequently. Our dentist will advise you on how often your child should be seen.

In our office, we love to help children learn how to keep their teeth healthy and beautiful. Unfortunately, some children can develop fear or anxiety about visiting the dentist, even before they’ve ever been to one. We have found that the very best way to combat dental fear is to stop it before it starts. Here are some of our most effective tips for preventing your child from suffering from dental fear:

Start young. Your child should be having regular dental checkups starting by age one or within 6 months of their first tooth growing in. When checkups start from a young age, it is easy for your child’s dentist and hygienist to build positive memories with your child and ward off anxiety.

Stay simple. We like to tell young children that the dentist will check their smile and count their teeth, and that the hygienist will clean their teeth and teach them how to care for their teeth better. Too much detail about treatments and examination can be overwhelming and cause stress about the unknown.

Keep it positive. When you explain to your child that they are going to the dentist, don’t start detailing the things that could be negative. Instead, just explain that the dentist helps to keep their teeth healthy. If and when we need to treat your child further, our team is trained and experienced in explaining treatment without causing fear.

Set an example. The leading cause of dental fear in children is their parents’ dental fear. Make sure you are following your own recommended schedule for preventive care and treatment. When your child sees you being positive about dental care, they will feel more confident about their own dental appointments.

Parents have the greatest influence in their child’s perception of dental care. Show your child that their oral health is important and that the dentist is there to help keep their teeth healthy and beautiful.

For more tips or to schedule your child’s appointment, contact our office.

Valparaiso Pediatric Dentist | How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthier

Dentist in Valparaiso

Dentist in ValparaisoThe food children eat affects their long term oral health. Some foods have nutrients teeth need. Others are full of acids and sugars that are harmful to teeth. With so many unhealthy food choices being marketed to children every day, it is vital that you take a stand. Offer fun, healthy snacks and model the better food choices you want your kids to make.

Offer healthy snack choices. Kids should have a well-balanced and nutritional diet. This not only promotes overall health but also helps build a strong healthy smile. Nutrition is an important part of oral health. Teaching your kids about eating healthy and limiting sugary foods will help foster a balanced diet from an early age. This will form habits that will result in a lifetime of strong teeth and better health overall.

Have fun with snacks. Promote a nutritious diet by getting creative with snack choices. If you show your kids that healthy snacks are fun, they will be more likely to eat them. Apple slices with peanut butter, fruit smoothies, and yogurt with granola or fruit are great examples of fun, yet healthy combinations. Remember to avoid soda and sugary drinks. These can leave sugars on teeth and can increase the risk of plaque and tooth decay. Water is always the best solution! Eating a well-balanced lunch and dinner is important as well. Make sure to add a variety of fruits and vegetables to every meal so that your kids become accustomed to them.

Be a good role model. Children learn habits by following the example set by their parents. Send your kids the right message by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables yourself. Avoid sugary snacks that can cause cavities or gum disease. Be sure to practice good oral hygiene in front of your kids. If you brush and floss after meals and snacks, your kids will follow the example. Consider brushing together with your child to reinforce good brushing skills and habits. Make sure to brush at least twice a day, after breakfast and before bedtime. If it is possible, try to encourage your child to brush after lunch or after sweet snacks.

Follow up. Don’t forget it is also very important to have regular dental appointments for your child, and model healthy habits by seeing your own dentist regularly. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us for more ideas on how to promote healthy snacking for great long term dental health!