Kids Korner

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FAQ for Kids, Teens and Parents

Kids

How long should I brush my teeth?

Most dentist recommend brushing for a full 2 minutes or even more for squeaky-clean teeth. A two-minute timer makes it easy and fun to brush your teeth long enough every time! All of our new patients receive one of these timers in a freebies bag full of many other gifts for your teeth!

When am I old enough to floss my own teeth?

Parents should begin flossing their kid’s teeth as soon as the teeth appear. A wet cloth will effectively clean the gums and get rid of any plaque on the teeth at this development stage. Most children are able to floss their own teeth by the time they turn eight or nine. It is important to have your parents supervise this process in the beginning to ensure healthy flossing habits.

Why do I have to take care of my baby teeth?

Even though primary “baby” teeth eventually fall out, maintaining their oral hygiene is VERY important. Believe it or not, baby teeth help to provide a path for adult teeth to grow, develop a healthy jawbone and proper chewing. If these teeth are not taken care of properly it can have a negative effect on the development of permanent teeth. Your teeth, no matter young or old, always need careful cleaning!

Is thumb sucking harmful to my teeth?

If habits such as, thumb sucking and using pacifiers, goes on for an extended period of time it can cause teeth to become crowded and crooked. It can also causes bite problems in the future. Most children grow out of this habit. If it continues when permanent teeth begin to come in it is important to talk with your dentist about correcting the problem.

Teens

Should I wear a mouth guard when I play sports?

Yes! Any protection is better than no protection! Mouth guards help protect your teeth, gums, lips and cheeks from a sports- related injury. They are made of a spongy plastic that is personally fitted for an individual’s upper teeth. There are many different types of athletic mouth protectors available in all shapes, colors and sizes.

What is gingivitis and how can I prevent it?

Gingivitis / gum disease is an infection in tissues that support your teeth. If left untreated it can cause teeth to loosen or fall out completely. Gingivitis is common in teenagers. The causes of gum disease in teens include lack of sleep, hormonal changes, poor eating habits and wearing braces. The best way to prevent gingivitis is by brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily and visiting your dentist regularly.

Is there a certain age to begin whitening my teeth?

Teeth whitening has become a million dollar industry within the last decade. Large portions of this market are teenagers who are willing to try anything to get a whiter smile. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends waiting until the age of fourteen to use whitening procedures for the first time. There are many different options available, bleaching, whitening toothpastes, and strips. It is important to speak with your dentist prior to using any of these treatments so you are aware of the risks involved.

What are the effects of sugary drinks on teeth?

Soft drink consumption in the US has been steadily increasing over the years, especially among teenagers. Sports and energy drinks are acidic and contain high levels of sugars. Sugary drinks destroy tooth enamel and can lead to cavities, gum disease and even tooth decay. If you are unable to give up the sugary drinks, try drinking these beverages through a straw. This reduces the contact the beverage has with your teeth thus causing less damage.

Parents

How can I make my child comfortable going to the dentist?
It is important to for children to have a positive and enjoyable first experience at the dentist. Confidence in a person’s dentist correlates with good oral hygiene later on in life! You can make this experience positive by bringing your child to your next dental appointment. This allows the child to feel comfortable with their dentist and it also allows them to experience a visit without being examined.

When should I schedule my child’s first appointment?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a child should visit the dentist around his or her first birthday. But most dentists recommend a visit as soon as a child’s teeth start coming in. This is usually between six to twelve months.

What is “tongue-tied”?

“Tongue-Tied” is a common nickname for the birth defect ankyloglossia. Ankyloglossia is a hereditary condition. This condition reduces the tongues mobility due to an abnormally short lingual frenulum. The lingual frenulum connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Typically, this defect corrects itself within a child’s first year.

Is Fluoride harmful to teeth?

As a general rule, the use of toothpaste that contain fluoride in its composition is not harmful to the consumer. We are exposed to fluoride numerous times each day. Fluoride is found in drinking water, medications and in the air we breathe. Fluoride has the ability to strengthen enamel and prevent cavities. Because of this, a majority of dentists RECOMMEND using fluoride-based products on a daily basis. By strengthening the enamel of the teeth, they become less susceptible to cavity causing acids and tooth decay.

Brushing Tips

  • An old worn-out toothbrush does not properly clean your teeth. In fact, it can lead to cavities. Be sure to replace your toothbrush when the bristles feel soft or every two to three months, and of course after an illness.
  • Brushing your teeth with a toothbrush that has hard bristles can hurt your gums. Although it is important to brush your teeth thoroughly, you must also be gentle. Brush your teeth with a soft brush. Be sure not to squash the bristles while you are brushing; that is a sign you are being too rough.
  • Majority of people do not brush for the full two minutes. To make it easier divide you mouth into four sections and spend an equal 30 seconds brushing each section. That way you can ensure each section gets the proper amount of care.
  • Have a brushing routine. This helps you get into the habit of brushing daily as well as prevent yourself from missing a spot. This helps your routine become second nature.

Fun Facts

  • The enamel on the top surface on your tooth is the hardest part of your entire body.
  • Your teeth are as unique as your fingerprint- no two people have the same set of teeth. So be proud of your unique set of teeth!
  • If you brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, you will brush your teeth for about 24 hours each year, or 76 days over the course of your life!
  • Snails can have more than 25,000 teeth, which are located on the tongue. Can you image how long it would take to floss?
  • It takes 30 minutes after brushing for soda to wear at your enamel
  • An elephant’s molars can weigh up to 10 lbs. They fall out every 10 years and new ones grow in to replace them. Elephants can have up to six new sets of teeth during a lifetime.
  • It is true that George Washington had to wear dentures because he suffered from severe tooth disease. But the dentures were not made entirely from wood. To replace what was missing, the dentist made dentures out of cow, hippopotamus and walrus teeth as well.

Thanks to Louisville Water for letting us share the following fun videos from their Smile Kentucky website!

Silly Jokes!

Q: What did the vampire say after Dr. Kress finished checking her teeth?
A: Fang you very much!

Q: What do explorers call it when they go searching for fossil teeth?
A: A molar expedition!

Q: Why didn’t the astronaut bring her toothbrush?
A: She thought that the moon had no cavities!

Q: When Dr. Kress went to the fair, what she like even better than the roller coaster?
A: The fluor “ride”