New year = healthier habits

Ahhh. We’re into the new year and talk continues about resolutions and plans for the year. Many parents may be thinking about fitness and nutrition. Weight loss goals certainly abound in early January!

But as you think about resolutions and goals for 2020, consider flossing. (No, not the dance – though, that’s good for physical exercise!) Aim to floss between your teeth at least once a day. And ensure your children floss daily as well. (First Impressions recommends helping children floss their teeth until they are about 10).

In fact, flossing should begin as soon as a child has two or more teeth next to one another. This seemingly simple habit is integral to good dental health. Regular flossing removes plaque and food particles, and may help prevent cavities.

For adults, flossing also helps prevent gum disease, an inflammatory response which can wreak havoc on your entire body.

So as you look at your 2020 goals, consider your dental health and setting a good example for your children. Get flossing… and keep smiling. Happy New Year!

Healthy smiles in pregnancy and infancy

Pregnancy is such an exciting time! As an expectant mother prepares for the birth of her child, she considers how her choices impact her unborn baby. While there are many important considerations to make, good dental habits not only help you prevent problems during your pregnancy – they can also affect the health of your unborn child.

Nutrition

Your nutrition can directly affect the development of your child’s teeth. What you eat during the nine months of pregnancy affects the development of your unborn child – including their teeth. Your baby’s teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth month of pregnancy, so it is especially important to receive sufficient amounts of calcium, phosphorous, and Vitamins A, C, and D.

Dental health and potential complications

During pregnancy, your body’s hormone levels rise considerably. This may result in red, puffy, or tender gums that tend to bleed when you brush your teeth. Be sure to contact your dentist if you are concerned. S/he may recommend more frequent cleanings during your second trimester or early third trimester to help you avoid problems.

Studies indicate that pregnant women who have periodontal (gum) disease may be at increased risk for pre-term delivery, which in turn increases risk of having a low-birthweight baby. Continue to see your dentist regularly for oral exams and professional teeth cleaning. Be sure to inform your dentist that you are pregnant (or are planning to become pregnant soon).

After baby’s birth

Baby’s here! Yay! After getting accustomed to numerous feedings, changings, and attempts at catching naptime (!), and as you settle into a new routine, include wiping baby’s gums in your routine. A damp washcloth or wet piece of soft gauze will wipe away any sugars left behind after each feeding.

Your baby’s first set of teeth – the primary or “baby” teeth – will begin to erupt about six months after birth. Unfortunately, these little pearly whites are susceptible to decay as soon as they appear in the mouth. Schedule your child’s first pediatric dentist appointment after the first tooth pokes through (and no later than the child’s first birthday). Studies show that children who visit a dentist by age one have 3.5 fewer cavities.

Moreover, strong, healthy primary teeth help your child to chew food, learn to speak clearly, and give your child’s face it’s shape and form.

Your child’s first dentist appointment

Consider your child’s first dentist appointment a “well-baby check-up” for their teeth. You will discuss feeding habits, care of teeth, and any concerns you may have. The appointment will include a cleaning while your child is in your lap. A pediatric dentist will examine your child’s teeth and mouth.  

In addition to the valuable conversation regarding diet, habits, and prevention of decay, early dental appointments also help establish a positive relationship between your child and their dentist! This rapport may set the stage for a lifetime of good dental habits!

Appleton office on the move

Did you hear the news? First Impressions Pediatric Dentistry in Appleton is relocating to a brand new office on Evergreen Court!

That’s right; beginning on Thursday, May 23, our pediatric dentistry patients will be seen at our new location: 3950 Evergreen Court. (Evergreen Court is just off of Evergreen Drive. Take the N. Ballard Rd. exit off of I-41.)

You may be wondering whether this is a second Appleton location. No. We are simply relocating to a brand-new, larger office.

In fact, we’ve outgrown our current space and are expanding into a larger office to better serve our patients.

Kayla Saiberlich, Administrative Team Leader for First Impressions, explains that the office’s open concept will be expanded, and in a much larger scale. “This open concept will help create an even more interactive flow between staff, and it will also positively affect our patients.” She continues, “The hygiene area is full of natural lighting, which is just awesome for our patients.”

Will there still be a play area? Of course! All of the things that you and your family have grown to know about First Impressions will be present in our new office.

Will our phone number change? No. To reach us by phone, you may still call 920-734-4649. You may also request an appointment online.

We are looking forward to many, many positive pediatric dental appointments in our new office. We remain as committed as ever to our mission: to provide comprehensive oral health care for infants, children, adolescents and patients with special needs delivered in a state-of-the-art, child-friendly environment.

We were also featured on Go Valley Kids at https://govalleykids.com/first-impressions-appleton/.

Too many children using too much toothpaste

Many young children are using more toothpaste than is needed. Is your child one of them?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a study indicating that nearly 40 percent of the three- to six-year-olds studied were using more toothpaste than recommended by dental professionals.

Swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste can cause dental fluorosis, a condition causing discoloration of teeth including white lines and streaks. Fluorosis only affects children because damage only occurs while teeth are developing under gums.

How much toothpaste?

First Impressions reminds parents that children three years and older should use a pea-size squeeze of toothpaste.

Children under three should only use a small smear of toothpaste – like a grain of rice. Use an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first tooth erupts.

Pediatric dentists also urge parents to understand that the study reminds parents of the proper amount of fluoride toothpaste to use. They should not to stop using fluoride toothpaste altogether.

 

Other trends

Interestingly, the CDC also discovered that nearly 80 percent of children studied began brushing their teeth later than recommended. The American Association of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) recommends that parents begin brushing their child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts. Sometimes this happens as early as six months, but usually not past one year old. Yet only about 20 percent of the parents included in the report said they helped their child brush their teeth by age one.

Considerations

One caveat: the report relied on parents self-reporting the information. The researchers did not directly observe the brushing technique and toothpaste use of the children. It’s possible that parents may misinterpret how much toothpaste their children are really using.

How old should children be before they brush without supervision? Parents should stick around until at least age six.

What is a pediatric dentist?

As a parent, you want to do everything you can to keep your children healthy and happy. Thankfully, when it comes to your children’s dental care and taking care of that precious smile, there are pediatric dentists available to provide the best care possible.

So what exactly is a pediatric dentist, and what do they do?

What sets apart pediatric dentists from general dentists is their training. Pediatric dentists received additional instruction on managing pediatric oral conditions, in addition to 2-3 years of specialized training in children’s behavior, growth, and development. This specialty training allows them to develop a deep understanding of the care of children. The pediatric dentists at First Impressions recognize no two children are alike. We approach each patient individually – and identify and address your child’s specific needs and personality.

You’ll also find that the atmosphere inside a pediatric dentist office is tailored toward kids, from the furnishings to the demeanor of the hygienists and assistants. At First Impressions, everything was designed to make going to the dentist an anxiety-free experience – from the brightly-colored walls and child-sized furniture to the iPads in the waiting room. “Because children are our sole focus, we make sure that everything we do is tailored to their needs and comfort,” says Dr. Tom Turner, Pediatric Dentist and Owner.

All of this is done so you can be confident your children are given expert care in a patient and understanding environment. Having positive experiences at the dentist in childhood helps establish a lifelong healthy approach to regular dental visits. And that’s something to smile about!