• Have You Considered Dental Sealants to Prevent Cavities?

    A good way to prevent cavities – especially for children – is to apply a dental sealant to your teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier against cavities. It is made from a plastic material and dentists apply it to the area where decay most often occurs in your mouth – on your back teeth’s chewing surfaces.

    Although daily flossing and brushing are critical to good oral health, they often miss some of the food particles and plaque in the depressions and grooves of your molars and premolars. Also, while fluoride does a good job of protecting the smooth surfaces of your teeth, but your back teeth don’t get as protected by the fluoride.

    Why are sealants important?

    The best time to protect your teeth is before they develop decay. Remember, sugar in the food and beverages you consume is used by germs in your mouth to create acids. And it is those acids that cause cavities in your teeth. Therefore, if you apply sealant, it prevents those acids from eating away at your teeth and forcing you to get a filling, a crown, or a cap – all used to restore decayed teeth.

    Are sealants only for kids?

    While children benefit the most from dental sealants, some adults at risk of cavities or who have deep fissures and grooves in their teeth can benefit from dental sealants. Talk to your dentist about your specific needs.

    However, it is highly recommended that children get dental sealants as soon as their permanent molars come in to prevent decay from impacting their teeth. Those initial permanent molars develop in children between 5 and 7 years of age. Their second set of permanent molars come in when they are between 11 and 14 years.

    It can be important to also keep baby teeth healthy, since they save space in a child’s mouth for their permanent teeth. For that reason, be sure to check with your dentist to see if dental sealants would be a good idea on your child’s baby teeth – especially if they have deep grooves and pits.

    How does a dentist apply dental sealants?

    It takes your dentist or dental hygienist just a few minutes to apply a dental sealant to your teeth or your child’s teeth. The process includes:

    • Thoroughly cleaning the teeth;
    • Drying each tooth, and then wrapping an absorbent material around each tooth to keep it dry;
    • Applying an acid solution to each tooth’s chewing surface, which helps the dental sealant bond to the tooth’s surface;
    • Rinsing and drying the teeth;
    • Painting the dental sealant onto the enamel of each tooth, where it will bond to the tooth and harden. Some sealants use a curing light to help it harden.

    What’s the life span of dental sealants?

    You can expect the dental sealant applied to your teeth to last up to 10 years. But be sure to have your sealant checked at your regular dental visits to make sure that the sealant hasn’t become chipped or worn away. Repairing sealants is quick, since the dentist or dental hygienist simply paints on additional sealant material.

    Can you see sealants?

    Dental sealants can be slightly tinted, clear or white. They are visible up close, but generally aren’t noticeable when your child smiles or talks.

    Sources: MouthHealthy.org, National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research, KnowYourTeeth.com, Colgate, American Dental Association (ADA)

  • Tips to Help Your Child Avoid Cavities from Their Baby Bottle

    Here are nine tips for baby bottle usage to help you keep your little one free of cavities.

    Avoid Sugary Beverages

    Sports drinks and fruit juices are packed with sugar and are not recommended for your baby’s bottle. That’s because lots of sugar leads to tooth decay and can create a host of dental problems as their baby teeth start to show. Plus, cavities in your baby’s teeth can sometimes create problems in their new adult teeth when they start to appear.

    Be Sure to Wipe Their Mouth After a Meal

    Fifteen minutes after each liquid or solid meal, wipe out your baby’s mouth with a clean, damp cloth. This will remove sugar and residual food and beverage than can increase the chance of cavities.

    Beware the Bedtime Bottle

    A bottle at bedtime might seem like a good idea for an infant, but it can negatively impact their teeth and gums. The sugar in formula, breast milk and milk can lead to infection if a bottle is regularly given to a child at bedtime. That’s because you won’t be able to wipe out your child’s mouth before they go to sleep, so that sugar will stay in their mouth all night. Try to develop a routine at bedtime that doesn’t involve a baby bottle, or if it does, use water in the bottle.

    Encourage a Drink Before Bedtime

    Encourage your child to develop a routine that involves them taking a long drink before they go to bed. This will help them avoid wanting a bottle at bedtime.

    Skip the Microwave

    Don’t heat a formula-filled baby bottle in the microwave. Granted, it’s more convenient and quicker, but your microwave won’t heat the formula evenly and may produce formula too hot for your baby to drink. Also, the plastic in your baby bottle may be damaged from the heat produced by the microwave.

    Use Warm Water to Heat

    Your best approach to warming a baby bottle is to use a pot on the stove filled with water. Be sure to use a pan that will allow you to completely cover the baby bottle with water. Use a low to medium setting, warm the water for five minutes, then put the baby bottle in the warm water and heat for up to two minutes. Squeeze a drop on the inside of your forearm before giving the bottle to your infant – it’s a good way to check the formula’s temperature.

    Walking and Baby Bottles Don’t Go Together

    Avoid letting your child walk around while drinking from a baby bottle. They are bound to fall when they are learning to walk, and a fall with a bottle in their mouth can result in a facial injury.

    Lidless Cups Should Be the Goal

    Around the time your child begins to walk (generally 12 to 18 months) is when you should start to wean your child off their bottle. Start by having them drink from a sipping cup at mealtimes, or even from a cup without a lid. There’s bound to be a good deal of spilled liquids initially, so start with water (or a beverage without sugar) because it’s easy to clean up.

    Regular Check Ups

    The #1 way to help your child avoid tooth decay is by making sure they see a dentist before they turn one. It’s important to have your child become relaxed about going to a dentist. It will make their check up every six months much easier and set them up for a lifetime of good oral health.

    Source: Healthychildren.org

  • Tips to Prepare Your Child for Their First Dental Visit

    It’s important to schedule your child’s first dental visit before their first birthday. At that point, children’s baby teeth are starting to appear and are susceptible to decay and cavities. Although their baby teeth are not permanent, decay in baby teeth can lead to an increase in the risk of decay to their permanent teeth once they start to develop.

    Many new parents are surprised by this recommendation, but they also don’t realize that preschool-aged children are getting more cavities. In fact, 25 percent of kids had a cavity by age four in the United States. Cavities are appearing in children as early as two years old.

    Why Baby Teeth Are Important

    Parents who have never taken their child to the dentist often are surprised to find out that baby teeth (also called primary teeth) need to stay in place until they naturally fall out. Baby teeth are important for a number of reasons:

    Helping proper chewing

    Speech development

    Saving space for permanent teeth

    Supporting a healthy smile

    Preparing for the Initial Visit to the Dentist

    Preparation is a key to a successful first dental appointment for your child. Be sure to contact your dentist prior to your child’s first visit to discuss the procedures at the office so you avoid surprises. Have the dental office send you the forms you need to fill out for your child ahead of time. Or if they have online forms, use that option.

    Be sure to discuss your child’s first visit to the dentist in a relaxed and positive manner. They will pick up on any negative feeling you have about dental offices, so maintaining a patient and calm approach to their questions is important.

    Help your child practice brushing their teeth prior to the first visit so they will be used to the feel in their mouth of a toothbrush. Learn as much as you can about a child’s first dental visit and their oral health before you take them to the dentist for the first time. Delta Dental has a great set of resources on their website at www.mysmilekids.com. It’s filled with fun activities and interesting stories to teach kids about their teeth.

    Send a list of any medical issues that affect your child to your dentist, along with a list of medications they take. Keep the phone number for your child’s pediatrician easily accessible in case your dentist asks for additional health information.

    Finally, bring your child’s most-loved blanket, toy or stuffed animal so that they feel secure and comforted on their first visit to the dentist. 

    What to Expect At Your Child’s First Visit

    Make sure to schedule your child’s first dental visit early in the day so that they are alert and feeling fresh. Expect a bit of fussing from your child during the visit, but many parents are surprised how easily their child accepts the dentist’s examination. In fact, many kids like the novelty of the visit and the extra attention.

    Your dentist will check the development of your son’s or daughter’s teeth and look for any problems. They will do a thorough but gentle exam of your child’s teeth, jaw, bite, gums and oral tissues.

    This first visit is also a great time to chat with your dentist about tips for dental care for your child, including diet’s impact on oral health, risk of cavities, oral hygiene, use of fluoride, oral habits (thumb and finger sucking), and preventing trauma to their mouth.

    Developing trust with successful visits to the dentist will provide your child with an important foundation for their future oral health. This will reduce potential anxiety and fear, which will make for plenty of stress-free visits in the future. Most experts recommend that children see the dentist about every six months so don’t forget to schedule your child’s second appointment on your way out the door!

    Sources: Parents.com, KnowYourTeeth.com, Colgate.com, DeltaDentalIns.com

     

  • Play Sports? Guard Your Grin With A Mouth Guard!

    Reduce Sport-Related Mouth Injuries with One Simple Piece of Equipment

    Mouth guards, also called mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. They typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining. Your top teeth take the brunt of trauma because they stick out more, says Dr. Thomas Long, the team dentist for the Carolina Hurricanes professional hockey team. Your bottom teeth are a little more protected because they are further back.

    When Should You Wear a Mouth Guard?

    When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouth guard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age.

    While collision and contact sports, such as boxing, are higher-risk sports for the mouth, any athlete may experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating.

     Types of Mouth Guards

    The best mouth guard is one that has been custom made for your mouth by your dentist. However, if you can’t afford a custom-made mouth guard, you should still wear a stock mouth guard or a boil-and-bite mouth guard from the drugstore. Learn more about each option:

    Custom-made: These are made by your dentist at Personal Care Dentistry for you personally. They are more expensive than the other versions because they are individually created for fit and comfort. It’s worth the extra you have to pay when you consider the alternative thousands of dollars of costly dental work to repair or replace broken or chipped teeth.

    Boil and bite: These mouth protectors can be bought at many sporting goods stores and drugstores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They are first softened in water (boiled), then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. Always follow the manufacturers’ instructions.  CustMbite MVP and CustMbite Pro are a boil and bite mouth guards that have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

    Stock: These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.

    Protecting Your Braces

    A properly fitted mouth guard may be especially important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouth guard also provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, which will help you avoid injuries to your gums and cheeks.

    Talk to your dentist or orthodontist about selecting a mouth guard that will provide the right protection. Although some mouth guards only cover the upper teeth, your dentist or orthodontist may suggest that you use a mouth guard on the lower teeth if you have braces on these teeth.

    If you have a retainer or other removable appliance, do not wear it during any contact sports.

    Mouth Guard Care and Replacement

    Talk to your dentist about when is the right time to replace your mouth guard, but replace it immediately if it shows sign of wear, is damaged or ill fitting. Teens and children may need to replace their mouth guards more often because their mouths are still growing and changing.
    Between games, it’s important to keep your mouth guard clean and dry. Here are some tips for making sure your mouth guard is always ready to go:

    Rinse before and after each use or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste.

    Regularly clean the mouth guard in cool, soapy water. Then, rinse it thoroughly.

    During your regular dental checkups, bring your mouth guard for an evaluation. Your dentist may also be able to give it a thorough cleaning.

    Store and transport the mouth guard in a sturdy container that has vents so it can dry and keep bacteria from growing.

    Never leave the mouth guard in the sun or in hot water.

    Check fit and for signs of wear and tear to see if it needs replacing.

    Some mouth guards have fallen victim to family pets, who see them as chew toys. Store your mouth guard and case somewhere your pet cannot get to it.

     

    Sources: American Dental Association, Colgate.com

  • 8 Tips to Help Your Child Stop Sucking Their Thumb and Avoid Oral Health Issues

    Sucking their thumb, fingers or a pacifier is a natural reflex for most children. It helps them fall asleep, calm down, or to just feel good. When they are babies, it is considered harmless in terms of a child’s growth and speech development.

    But how long should it go on? Should a child still be sucking their thumb or a pacifier when they are ready for preschool?

    Generally, a child who is in the 2- to 4-year range will start to develop other coping skills beyond thumb or finger sucking, such as language development. These coping skills replace the need for a child to suck on a thumb or finger. But for some kids, thumb sucking or finger sucking is harder to kick, which could lead to problems for their growing mouths. Recent research shows that thumb or finger sucking can have an impact even at a younger age – as young as 2 to 4 years old on the mouth and the jaw.

    Remember, sucking their thumbs or fingers is a soothing activity that can help reduce their anxiety. For most children, growing up is filled with anxiety and change.

    So if your child is approaching preschool and still sucking away, here’s 8 tips on how to handle it correctly:

    Try to limit the time that your child sucks their thumb to their bedroom or in the house, not in public. Explain to them that this is a bed activity during nap time and at night.

    Don’t turn it into a confrontation. Try to recognize your child and praise them when they are not sucking their thumb instead of criticizing them when they are.

    If your child is hurt or injured, don’t prohibit them from sucking their thumb or fingers. They need that comfort zone to cope.

    Help your child practice self-awareness by pointing out to them when they are sucking their thumb or fingers. Offer them an option to soothe them, like a blanket or stuffed animal.

    Avoid the gross-tasting stuff that is sold to stop thumb and finger sucking. It’s just creates more anxiety, which is the initial reason why your child is sucking their thumb.

    Use creative methods to help your child understand that they are growing up and one day won’t suck their thumb anymore. Ask your child if their favorite cartoon character sucks their thumb.

    Don’t try a glove or a mitten on the hand as a quick-fix to thumb or finger sucking. This will just frustrate the child and cause more anxiety. Plus, they are old enough to just remove the glove or mitten themselves.

    Be sure to remember that a child will grow out of the need for thumb sucking or finger sucking when they are good and ready.

    SOURCE: WebMD

     

  • Fun Activity Sheets for a Stay-Indoors Day

  • Fun Activity Sheets for a Stay-Indoors Day

     

  • 10 Great Stocking Stuffers for a Happy Smile

    Skip (or at least go easy) on the candy and the chocolate this year when you’re filling the holiday stockings for your loved ones. Instead of a stocking full of sugar, why not add some of these healthy and sometimes funny oral health stocking stuffers that are sure to bring a smile to the faces of your family and friends.

    Tootbrushes With Character

    Colgate offers toothbrushes featuring Dora the Explorerâ„¢, SpongeBob SquarePantsâ„¢or Transformersâ„¢.

    Fun and Yummy Toothpaste Flavors

    Whether you like the taste of watermelon or strawberry  or even cupcakes or bacon there are toothpaste flavors for just about everyone.

    Organize Your Oral Hygiene

    Cleverly designed to hold virtually anything from toothbrush and toothpaste in the bathroom to pens and pencils on a desktop this eye-catching organizer is a great conversation-starter.

    Travel In Style with the Wisp

    The Wisp is ideal to throw into backpacks or briefcases for on-the-go freshening. This mini brush head cleans the surface of teeth.

    Cool Covers for Your Toothbrush

    The DenTek Animal Toothbrush Cover provides a fun, engaging and sanitary way for kids to protect their toothbrushes. It’s also cute!

    Sugar-Free Gum

    Try sugar-free gum with xylitol this year. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that does not break down like sugar and can help keep a neutral pH level in the mouth. Xylitol also prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth. And that’s good news if you want to chew gum but not worry about creating cavities.

    Crocodile Dentist A Grouchy Friend With a Serious Toothache

    This classic game with a serious bite is great fun for ages 4 and up. Stuff it in a stocking and play it later that day for a unique break from the usual holiday festivities.

    Ice Cubes Your Guests Will Remember

    Gain a smile from a friend when you get them this great conversation starter and fun party gimmick. These denture-shaped ice cubes make a great gift for the gagster in your life.

    Lights and Timers On A Toothbrush

    These toothbrushes are fun and functional for your kids. The Firefly Ready Go Brush flashes for 60 seconds. It goes from green, to yellow, and then to red to encourage brushing and so kids know when to stop. It’s available in Darth Vader, Yoda and Hello Kitty versions. You can find it at stores like Walgreens and Walmart.

    Put Some Teeth on Your Fridge

    These unique magnets are guaranteed to draw a smile from your family and friends when they open the fridge. Featuring five white teeth and one gold tooth.

    Enjoy your stocking-stuffing this holiday season. If you include some of the items from this list, you’re sure to bring a smile to your family and friends. Enjoy!

     

  • Dental Care for the Entire Family

    We love treating entire families at Personal Care Dentistry. Our care team members are equally adept at providing dental services to 4-year-olds as they are to those kids’ grandparents. At Personal Care Dentistry, we provide high-quality, affordable dental care in a gentle, compassionate atmosphere. We believe in the Golden Rule of Dentistry we treat all of our patients the way we would want our family to be treated.

    So make an appointment for one of your kids, or a parent, or a grandparent  – or yourself to experience the unique care at Personal Care Dentistry.

    Here’s what some of our patients have said about us after their appointments:

    Excellent Work With My 8-Year-Old E.E.

    My 8-year-old needed 4 small cavities filled. Dr. Teo was able to do all of them in one quick appointment. Both she and her assistant were professional and took great care of my son.

    High Quality Service – Maria W.

    Service was amazing and perfectly kid-friendly for my son with autism!!! Highly recommended!

    My 6-Year-Old Was Very Nervous But He Forgot All About Being Scared – Adrianne H. 

    My 6-year-old daughter was very nervous about going to the dentist for the first time. The staff was so nice and personable she forgot all about being scared. We got in fairly fast and we will be back. I enjoyed the atmosphere so much I made an appointment for myself. I highly recommend this office to anyone looking for professional, fast and friendly service. I cannot forget to mention the high-end coffee and cool play area for the children!

    Awesome Dentist Carol M.

    This is one of, if not the BEST dentist in the Twin Cities. The dentists, hygienists and support staff are all totally competent and very friendly. I’ve taken my children here since they were young. 

    Positive Experience for Our Entire Family! Olia H.

    Warm environment, welcoming staff, professional high quality service. Personal Care Dentistry makes going to the dentist a positive experience for our entire family! Thank you Dr. Hunt & Team!! 

    Excellent Service! Paulo M.

    Genuinely friendly, professional and they provide unquestionable quality service. The quality of work Dr. Hunt provides is of the highest level you can get, I’m totally satisfied and my family as well.

    Wonderful Experience! Steve K.

    Have had terrible luck finding a Dentist I can actually look forward to coming back too. Well I found them, sending my family there as well. Thanks guys!!!

    Trusted Service and the Best Team Geoff B.

    My family has been coming to Personal Care Dentistry for as long as I can remember, and have always been treated with great care and expert work.

    Professional and Friendly! Sarah S.

    I’ve been looking for a new dentist and found Personal Care Dentistry. Went in for a cleaning and was very impressed! All of the staff, from the front desk to the hygienist to the dentist were all very friendly, professional, and caring. They were very considerate and understanding of my needs. They took their time and I didn’t feel rushed. My kids were seen here too for the first time and they were excellent with them. My kids loved it! Will definitely be making Personal Care Dentistry my new dental home.

  • Summer Presents Challenges for Kids’ Oral Hygiene

    Unfortunately, teens and tweens sometimes take the summer off from oral hygiene, and that makes it harder for kids to stay on top of cavity prevention. Many dentists know that summertime often means more time for kids to drink sodas, eat sticky candy and consume starchy foods like French fries, pizzas and white bread. But aside from the quality of food itself, what is it about summer that makes the tooth care of teens and tweens more difficult?

    1) Kids have more free time in the summer so they invest much of that extra time doing what many of us like to do when the fish are jumpin’, and the livin’ is easy  eat.  And much of what they’re eating lodges between their teeth, lingers in their mouth for long periods and feeds the bacteria that create cavities.

    2) Summertime is hot, and many people like chewing or sucking on ice in an effort to stay cool. While chewing on ice may be a popular summer pastime, it is never a good idea because it can cause tiny fractures in the teeth that weaken them.  Once weakened, the teeth may eventually break off or absorb extra bacteria into their fissures that become cavities.

    3) Permissive parenting often means more popsicles, sodas and ice cream for kids with time on their hands and parents counting the days until school starts again.  Because kids are often allowed to stay up later they may forget about brushing their teeth before bedtime and need reminded.

    4) Prolonged exposure to chlorine in swimming pools can wear away tooth enamel. Anyone know of a kid who doesn’t take in a couple of mouthfuls of pool water while swimming with friends?

    Kids Taking Care of Teeth

    Parents can ensure their kids take good care of their teeth and have a good summer with a few quick tips:

    Have kids take their sweet or gummy vitamins with breakfast and before brushing their teeth each morning

    Fun foods like nuts and yogurt strengthen a tooth’s surface so supplement your child’s sweet tooth with more healthy staples

    Apples, pears, yogurt and other dairy neutralize acids in food like tomatoes and citrus so keep these on hand to counter less healthy summer treats

    Keep your mouth closed while swimming and lightly brush your teeth afterwards

    Have kids sip sugary drinks through a straw to minimize contact with the teeth

    Encourage kids to drink water frequently during the day to wash their teeth and counter bacteria

    Keep Up That Oral Hygiene

    Brushing twice a day and flossing daily is as important in the summer as it is in any other season. But with vacations, camp and lots of days spent at the pool, don’t be surprised if you frequently need to remind your kids to brush and floss.

    Now is a great time to buy new toothbrushes to replace the old, worn out or “germy” ones. In fact, you should stock up on extra brushes, as well as travel-sized toothpaste and floss for those summer trips and days out.

    Now’s the Time for Checkups

    Parents tend to schedule dental checkups in August, right before class starts. But to prevent dental problems over summer, book the kids in June for a dental visit. This way, the kids will have a clean bill of dental health for summer. The last thing you want is a child suffering from a toothache while away on summer vacation.

    Stock a Healthy Kitchen

    Keep the summer from being an “acid attack” on your family’s teeth by investing in healthy snacks. It’s hard to limit snacking when the kids are home all day, but with the availability of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, you can stock the fridge with healthy options. Be sure to keep the fruits and veggies clean and ready to grab. You’ll feel better about snacking when the kids are reaching for blueberries and strawberries instead of candy and cookies. And swap out the sugary, acidic soft drinks with bottled water.

    Prevent Dental Emergencies

    It wouldn’t be summer without lots of swimming, bike riding, volleyball and other playground activities. And while these are great fun, they can unfortunately result in a dental injury. Parents can be prepared for the worst by following these tips:

    Make sure your kids follow the “pool rules.” According to the Academy of General Dentistry, many of the summer oral injuries dentists treat are due to a pool accident. Running on slippery pool decks, diving into shallow waters or bumping the pool ledge with their mouth causes many children to either chip or knock a tooth loose.

    Know what to do yourself. Getting to the dentist right away is important, but there are things you can do to help. Use warm water and cold packs first, to clean the area and reduce swelling, respectively. Use gauze to stop any bleeding. Place a lost permanent tooth back in the mouth, if possible. If not, use salt water or milk to keep it moist for the ride to the dentist.

    Pack an emergency dental care kit to take along for vacation. Essentials for this kit, according to the AGD, are a handkerchief, gauze, a small container with a lid, ibuprofen and your dentist’s contact information.

    Summer can really throw your routine for a loop. But by following these oral health tips for summer, your kids can start the school year with great oral hygiene. While, using practical tips today can help parents enjoy lazy, carefree days without sacrificing their kids’ bright smiles in the fall.

    Sources: Washington Post, WebMD, Delta Dental, Colgate.com