Costumes, Candies and Cavities

Finally fall is officially upon us! The weather is cooling, back-to-school sales seem like a distant memory, schedules are settling back into normalcy and Halloween is just around the corner. What could possibly go wrong?

fall leaves

Actually, when it comes to your children’s teeth, a lot can go wrong in fall. Caramel apples, trick-or treating and the ever encroaching holiday season mean those notorious sugar bugs (cavities) are just waiting to pounce. But by following a few simple steps, the festivities of fall don’t have to cause your dental downfall.

  1. Limit Sugar – Of course it’s not necessary to ban all sweets from the house, but once that Halloween haul comes in, monitoring candy access for your little monsters can help keep their teeth in top condition. We’d suggest limiting candy to one or two pieces per day in order to prevent the bacterial growth and plaque buildup which cause cavities. Need help kicking the candy habit? Starting November 1st, South Valley Pediatric Dentistry will host our annual Halloween Candy Buyback, exchanging cash for candy!
  2. Rinse, repeat – The heat of summer may be long gone, but kids still need plenty of water to keep their mouths and their bodies healthy. Drinking water will wash excess sugar away from teeth, reduce candy cravings and help prevent infection. Even if they’re not as thirsty as the sweaty summer months, rinsing out your child’s mouth with water can still help keep teeth, gums and tongue healthy and germ-free.
  3. Favor Flossing – Candy and other sweets have a nasty habit of sticking between teeth and causing dental decay, so flossing becomes especially important when sticky, sugary snacks increase in fall.

Taking care of your teeth is important year round, but some seasons present unique challenges to even the most dedicated dental disciples. Taking extra care to limit sweets, drink plenty of water and clean in between teeth can help ensure a safe and healthy Halloween!


Thank You, Teeth!

Usually our articles at SVPDkids are chalk full of facts and information on dental health and the services offered by South Valley Pediatric Dentistry. But our love affair with healthy teeth goes deeper than statistics and analysis. Teeth do many wonderful things for us, and are too often forgotten, underappreciated and taken completely for granted. So today I decided to take the opportunity to celebrate teeth for all of the wonderful things they do for us. Here are some of my personal favorite things about teeth:

  1. Biting into crunchy, healthy, delicious foods! What would fall be like without tasting those wonderfully crisp apples which fill up the produce section? Thank you teeth, for bringing us the best parts of every season!.
  2. Brightening smiles! What happens when we’re really, truly happy? We show our teeth in a great, big, genuine grin.
  3. Keeping us healthy! Studies have shown a strong correlation between tooth loss and malnutrition. That’s probably because healthy teeth play a large role in digesting food and in the ability to chew hard foods like vegetables and meat.
  4. Gum chewing! I hate dragon breath after meals, so I often pop a piece of sugarless gum in my mouth after chowing down. Without teeth, my gum chewing habit would be impossible!

Teeth give us all that and so much more. They take great care of us, so we should take care of them too! What are your favorite things about teeth?

Tooth Fairy Traditions

The losing of baby teeth marks a child’s growing up and can cause excitement (or sometimes concern) for many children. To celebrate this event many cultures have a “tooth fairy” figure who collects a child’s lost teeth in exchange for gifts or money.  In many parts of the world, including France, Spain and South America, the tooth fairy comes in the form of a mouse or rat who often leaves a small gift behind. Many Asian or African cultures throw, bury or hide baby teeth in various baby tooth rituals. In fact, the Tooth Fairy as we know her – a good fairy who leaves money under your pillow – only appeared in popular folklore around the turn of the century.

For more information about baby tooth traditions, see the free printable below sponsored by Delta Dental: Baby Tooth Traditions Around the World.

Resources for More Information

With so much (good and bad) content available on the web, finding the most accurate and up-to-date information can prove difficult. That’s why we at South Valley Pediatric Dentistry want to create a one-stop resource for parents seeking thorough, researched, scientific advice for their children’s all-around dental health. Our blog, SVPD Kids, contains articles with that goal in mind. In order to do so, our articles lean on information from expert sources and other dental writers. The following are some sources we’ve found helpful. They provide clear, concise and correct information geared toward parents who want to give their children the best dental care possible.

South Valley Pediatric Dentistry’s Main Webpage – Our website contains specific information for parents of South Valley Pediatric Dentistry patients, as well as answers to frequently asked dental questions, introductions to our team of certified pediatric dentists, a list of our common services and other important information. This would be a good first stop for anyone curious about the world of pediatric dentistry.

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry FAQ page – The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry is the leading authority on childhood dental care. Their website FAQ answers common questions about at-home and professional dental care to help parents navigate subjects such as tooth brushing, sealant applications, thumb sucking and more.

MyChildrensTeeth.Org – My Children’s Teeth is a webpage hosted by the AAPD which provides links to news articles and studies regarding pediatric dentistry.

Child Dental Health Page on Medline Plus – The U.S. National Library of Medicine’s online resource, Medline plus, provides accurate medical information for everyday use. Their Child Dental Health page includes links to informative articles and videos in addition to activities and games geared toward giving children positive associations with dental care.

In a world full of confusing, conflicting and sometimes outright false information, working out the truth of how to care for your child’s dental health doesn’t have to be impossible. Dependable sources such as the AAPD, The U.S. Library of Medicine and your local Dental Professionals can be a reliable resource for dental health facts.


Why Pediatric Dentistry?

When I was a kid I saw my parent’s general dentist along with the rest of my family. I had never heard of Pediatric Dentistry, and did not understand the need for it, since a general dental office can clean anyone’s teeth. As an avid tooth brusher and a relatively cooperative child, a general dentist was able to treat my teeth without too much trouble. However, when I began working at South Valley Pediatric Dentistry I learned that many children (and adults with special needs) require a trained hand to prevent tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems. Additionally many parents choose Pediatric Dentists because of their specific training and expertise in treating childhood dental problems, because of the fun child-oriented office environment, and/or  because they offer alternative treatment options which you won’t find in general dentistry.

Specialized Knowledge

Pediatric Dentists like Dr. Chamberlain and Dr. Bower undergo an additional two years of specialized training after dental school, so they have more knowledge about childhood dental problems than a general dentist. Due to this specialized knowledge, Pediatric Dentists can answer all of your questions and concerns regarding the mouth of your child. They can address everything from thumb sucking, to braces, to wisdom teeth and beyond. Your pediatric dentist knows everything you need to care for your child’s mouth at each stage of growing, so don’t be afraid to ask what’s on your mind; they’ve heard every unusual question there is! Additionally, their training gives them the unique perspective necessary to treat individual children in the most ethical and stress-free way possible. In fact, because of their specialized knowledge, general dentists often refer younger patients to pediatric dentists when they have cavities, tooth decay or other dental problems.

Kid-Friendly Environment

Pediatric Dental offices treat children exclusively, and are equipped with toys, entertainment and decoration to help children feel at ease. Many patients tell us they love coming to our office because of our colorful fish tanks, television sets, and toys – including our train table, picture books, ipads and Nintendo games. These fun features of our office provide children with activities for the waiting room, as well as distraction during the less fun parts of dental appointments. When I first saw the waiting room at South Valley Pediatric Dentistry, I realized what I had missed by going to a general dentist as a child.

Pediatric Dentists and their assistants also have experience and training working with children of all ages, so they can help anyone from – toddler to teen and beyond. We see children in all the various stages of growing up and tailor the experience to your child’s comfort level. Our staff is also completely used to handling a range of positive and negative reactions to dental appointments. Some children don’t like cleanings, and they may get nervous for exams. Every day we help upset children get through their dental visits. No matter the comfort level of your child, we can and will help them get the dental care they need.

Additional Treatment Options:

Pediatric Dentists have the ability to treat patients who need additional care and attention, including patients with high anxiety, patients with special needs, and/or very young patients, because they are trained in various sedation techniques. Without sedation, some children and patients with special needs could not have dental work done, which can lead to infection, severe tooth decay and loss of teeth. The dentists at South Valley Pediatric Dentistry generally use one of three sedation options depending on the extent of dental work to be done, the age of the child, any special needs the child may have (such as a learning disability), the child’s behavioral history, and any other pertinent factors. For more information on sedation appointments, read this post which describes the three sedation options we use in our office, or give us a call at 801-489-1310.

Sedation Appointments Demystified

At South Valley Pediatric dentistry, we know that cavities and fillings can be frightening for children, so we do everything in our power to make children feel comfortable and calm while they have dental treatment done. Sometimes this means one of our dentists will propose a treatment plan that includes sedation in one form or another. In children with high anxiety, very young children, or patients with special needs, sedation appointments can help them get dental work done which they otherwise would not be able to sit still for. However, parents sometimes find that sedation appointments can feel unfamiliar and frightening. We strive to provide all the information necessary to help parents feel at ease about these various treatment options, and the benefits and risks of each type of sedation.

Our dentists may suggest one of three types of sedation depending on the age, comfort level, special needs, and behavioral history of your child:

  1. Oral Sedation: Dr. Chamberlain and Dr. Bower often recommend Oral Sedation for children who fight their initial dental cleanings and examinations. During an Oral Sedation, children swallow medicine which calms them down and makes them very sleepy. Sometimes Oral Sedation will put the child completely to sleep, but often they will stay slightly alert, which allows the dentist to communicate with them during treatment. This mild form of sedation generally works well for children who need a little help to make the visit less scary.
  2. In-Office IV Sedation: If necessary, the dentist may instead advise an IV sedation to be done in our office. During an IV sedation an anesthesiologist comes to our office. He or she will administer medicine through a small shot, which puts the child completely asleep. To help the child ignore this unpleasant poke, a dental assistant will encourage the child to pick out a prize while the anesthesiologist gives the medicine. Often patients are not even aware that they’ve had a shot. Once the child is completely asleep, the anesthesiologist monitors breathing and heart rate while the dentist completes all necessary dental work.
  3. Hospital Visit: Occasionally, very young children (especially those younger than three), patients with special needs, or children who need extensive dental treatment may go to the hospital for a sedation. The hospital has doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists available in case of emergency in addition to your usual dentist and dental assistants, who will preform all dental work under IV sedation.

All three forms of sedation have the added benefit of allowing the child to partially or completely forget the experience, which means they won’t have continuing fear of their dentist or dental office. Not every child requires sedation, but for those who do, having sedation options available can make dental work go much more smoothly. For more information about the various types of sedations we offer, call our office at 801-489-1301. Our staff is happy to address any questions or concerns regarding sedation appointments.

Life Hacks: Back to School

Every child wants to look and feel his or her best on the first day of school, and a healthy smile can go a long way. Unfortunately, with all the hustle and bustle of returning to school, dental health can sometimes be your last priority. Here are some simple tricks for keeping teeth looking and feeling their best during this busy time of the year.

Don’t Rush the Brush

Mornings are often the busiest time of the day, but even if you find yourself grabbing breakfast to-go, kids can still brush their teeth in the morning. Keep a travel toothbrush in the car or your child’s backpack for those mornings when you just can’t find time to brush at home. Even if they don’t use toothpaste, brushing breakfast away from those pearly whites will still prevent cavities and keep your child’s smile healthy and clean.

Wear your Water

Not only is water the best way to keep kids hydrated, it’s also the best beverage for their teeth. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for children to get enough water while at school. Clipping a water bottle to a backpack, belt loop, or lunchbox can help kids remember to drink enough water throughout the day. Even better, many reusable water bottles come with fun designs and characters on them, which makes drinking healthy much more fun.

Send Healthy Snacks
When kids are at school, they often have access to a variety of foods that mom and dad might not approve of. From sharing cookies with friends, to candy rewards from teachers, to chocolate milk at lunch, the opportunities for delicious, tooth rotting sugar are endless. Giving kids healthy, low-sugar snacks can help lessen the impact of all that sugar and give them another option to combat mid-day tummy rumbles. Try edamame beans, which are low in sugar and high in protein and fiber to keep your children full and alert in class.

This time of year can be equally exciting and frightening, but being prepared with a few quick back to school life hacks like these can help make the transition back to regular life much more enjoyable!