How to Choose a Cavity-Fighting Toothpaste for Your Child

We’ve all faced a confusing array of options in the dental care aisle. In this month’s blog, let’s consider these two cavity-fighting toothpaste options for your kiddos and determine which might be the optimal choice for their oral health.

Fluoridated toothpaste: The trusted guardian

Cavity protection:

Fluoride toothpaste is the gold standard for toothpaste. It has a known efficacy in guarding against cavities. How does it achieve this though? Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that acts as a protective barrier for teeth, strengthening enamel against acid erosion caused by bacteria.

Enamel restoration:

Beyond protection, fluoride plays a pivotal role in enamel repair by fostering remineralization. It replenishes minerals in weakened enamel, effectively addressing the early stages of tooth decay.

Established reputation:

Fluoridated toothpaste has been around for a while since it has been proven to be a reliable partner in keeping teeth healthy. Its widespread endorsement by dentists has solidified its reputation as the recommended treatment.

Hydroxyapatite toothpaste: The natural caretaker

Derived from nature:

Synthetic hydroxyapatite, which is a crucial part of dental enamel, is incorporated into toothpaste recipes. The qualities of the actual mineral are mimicked by this biomimetic material.

Enamel nurturing:

Think of toothpaste with hydroxyapatite as a caring partner for enamel. Enamel is strengthened and repaired in an effort to smooth out flaws and maybe reduce tooth sensitivity, helping to rejuvenate your teeth. 

Fluoride-free alternative: 

A desirable substitute that offers freedom from fluoride while preserving dental health is hydroxyapatite toothpaste, which appeals to people looking for fluoride-free options or who are worried about consuming fluoride.

Comparative review:

Cavity prevention: While toothpaste containing hydroxyapatite is good at repairing enamel, it is still relatively new in the field of cavity prevention. Fluoride toothpaste has a strong track record in this regard.

Enamel strengthening: 

Both versions seek to support the health of the enamel, but they do so in different ways. While toothpaste containing hydroxyapatite adds synthetic hydroxyapatite to strengthen enamel, fluoride toothpaste uses fluoride for remineralization.

Fluoride consideration:

An important differentiation can be made between fluoride and fluoride-free options. For individuals who are hesitant about consuming fluoride, hydroxyapatite toothpaste is a viable option, even though fluoride toothpaste is supported by substantial research.
Personal preference:

The best toothpaste to use ultimately depends on a person’s unique must haves, including sensitivity, requirements for maintaining good dental health, and personal preferences such as taste, or natural ingredients.
Balancing fluoride in your routine:

One last thing before we go… 

Fluoride is a mineral found in toothpaste that acts as a kind of cavity defender. It is wise to evaluate your intake of fluoride, particularly shedding light on non-fluoridated communities along the South Shore such as Braintree. It is also important to consider your child’s daily fluoride intake and the sources of fluoride. Are they getting an adequate daily supply of fluoride from tap water, toothpaste, mouth rinses, and diet? 

The CDC’s My Water’s Fluoride tool provides information about the fluoride level in your water. It’s critical to keep your child’s fluoride consumption balanced. Dr. Anderson and her Sprout Kids Dentistry Team follow the guidelines outlined in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Policy on Use of Fluoride Dr. Anderson’s preferred toothpaste selections for every need

  • Trusted Household Choice: Opt for the reliability of Crest, Colgate, or Tom’s of Maine for consistent dental care.
  • Hydroxyapatite Enriched: Experience advanced enamel repair with Risewell, a leader in hydroxyapatite technology.
  • Focus on Pure Ingredients: Choose Twice for a toothpaste that emphasizes clean, health-conscious ingredients.
  • Flavorful Dental Experience: Try the unique and enjoyable flavors of Tom’s of Maine, making brushing a treat.
  • Comfort for Sensitive Teeth: Trust Sensodyne for gentle and effective care in managing tooth sensitivity.

Whether you prefer the all-natural benefits of hydroxyapatite or the tried-and-true effectiveness of fluoride, the end result is always the same: maintaining the integrity and brightness of your child’s teeth. 

Schedule Your Appointment

Remember, your child’s smile is our success! Feel free to reach out to us with any queries or for further information. All of us at Sprout Kids Dentistry look forward to maintaining the oral health of our little ones in Quincy, MA. Fill out an online contact form to schedule an appointment today.

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When to Begin Orthodontic Evaluation for Kids

At some point, while your children are aging, you will want to take care of their oral health, whether that requires trips to the dentist or even orthodontic evaluations. You may wonder if there is a suitable age to start orthodontic treatment. We look forward to treating your child’s dental issues at Sprout Kids Dentistry.

The Importance of Orthodontic Evaluation

Wanting your children to be healthy is a common goal for many parents. Although treatments can look different from child to child, an orthodontic evaluation is vital because it determines a plan and addresses concerns before they are visible to you. Not all children need early orthodontic treatment, but an appointment can evaluate and identify potential issues.

What Age Should I Schedule an Orthodontic Evaluation?

You may have noticed people of all ages wearing braces. Although this is common, the best time to start orthodontic care is between the ages of seven and ten. Early orthodontic treatment can intercept and identify issues before your child’s baby teeth even fall out.

Your Child’s Orthodontic Evaluation

Children should go to a dentist regularly before visiting an orthodontist. It is recommended that children have an orthodontic evaluation by age seven by the American Association of Orthodontists. Early evaluation can diminish the need for extensive orthodontic treatments later in life. Early evaluation can identify and treat oral problems before more significant issues occur.

The Best Age to Get Braces

The most common age for braces is between 11 and 14 years old. This is when children lose most of their baby teeth. Some specialists will recommend using dental appliances to begin, followed by a shorter second phase of treatment with braces.

Phases of Orthodontic Treatment

Early orthodontic treatment can utilize palate expanders, space maintainers, and fixed or removable dental appliances. These treatments can occur in both dental phases.

Phase 1

Phase one can begin when children still have their baby teeth. Interceptive care during this phase can address many orthodontic issues, including underbite, overbite, crossbite, capped teeth, and an abnormal number of teeth.

Phase 2

Phase two begins when your child has all their adult teeth. This phase is also referred to as full orthodontic treatment. This phase can include braces and teeth aligners.

Schedule a Consultation

Dr. Anderson is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. At Sprout Kids Dentistry, your skilled pediatric dentists strive to give you worry-free dental visits for your children. If you are interested in pediatric dentistry in Boston, contact us to schedule a consultation with Sprout Kids Dentistry today.

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The Difference Between Children’s Teeth Cleaning and Adult Teeth Cleaning

We all know how important it is to care for our children’s teeth. This includes proper brushing and flossing techniques to help them establish good oral hygiene habits as they grow. However, not all parents realize just how important regular dental cleanings are in childhood. Routine dental check-ups for children may be even more important than they are for grown-ups because they help establish the foundation of good dental hygiene practices that will see young people through their entire lives.

Children should be seen by a pediatric dentist twice a year for regular cleaning and to ensure their teeth are growing properly. Pediatric dentists undergo several years of specialized, rigorous training beyond traditional dental education. While dental check-ups are very similar for adults and children, there are some differences. Here are just a few to know before you bring your child in for their appointment.

Learning How to Care for Your Child’s Teeth

A big part of a regular pediatric dental appointment is making sure kids and parents know how to take care of their teeth. Your child’s dentist will look out for signs that your child is brushing and flossing correctly. If their technique is still lacking, they’ll take the time to teach your child how to brush their teeth thoroughly and floss well. Sometimes, very young children have enough space between their baby teeth that they don’t yet need to floss. However, it’s still very important to be checked by a pediatric dentist throughout development.

Pediatric Teeth Cleaning

Like an adult dental appointment, the main part of a regular pediatric dental appointment is the cleaning stage. Your child’s dental technician will clean their teeth with special toothpaste, floss if necessary, and (depending on the level of build-up present) may use a sonic device to remove plaque and tartar.

Growing Assessment

One vital part of a children’s dental check-up is ensuring that their teeth are coming in correctly. This may require x-rays for teeth that have not erupted yet. When problems in the growth patterns are caught early, children can get early orthodontic care that may help prevent bigger issues down the road.

Schedule an Appointment

Here at Sprout Kids Dentistry, Dr. Michelle Anderson and her team offer quality dental care exclusively for children. Along the way, they strive to educate kids and their parents on good dental hygiene. Start your child out on the path to great dental health for a lifetime of strong, healthy teeth. If you’re looking for excellent pediatric dentistry in Boston, give us a call or use our convenient online form to schedule an appointment with Sprout Kids Dentistry today!

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One of the hardest things a pediatric dentist has to tell a parent is, “Your child has cavities.”

Sometimes you already know, and sometimes you are taken off guard; but regardless of the circumstances, these words can often leave a parent feeling guilty and uncertain about what comes next.

If the cavity is small, your pediatric dentist can fix the tooth with a traditional filling. However, if the decay is extensive, it may be necessary to place a crown or “cap” on the tooth. Crowns are placed on teeth that have large areas of decay that could possibly break if a traditional filling material is used to fix it.

Why Use Crowns on Baby Teeth?

One of the first questions that come to mind about pediatric stainless steel crowns is usually:

“Why is it necessary? And, why not just pull the tooth?” 

Crowns are often the best treatment plan for decayed or damaged baby teeth for one main reason.

The alternative to using a crown would be extraction, which can lead to complications if a baby tooth is removed too soon such as blockage, misalignment or tipping of baby teeth, or crowding of permanent teeth as they begin to arrive. This could necessitate further treatment including orthodontic care.

Using crowns allows the baby tooth to continue to act as a placeholder until permanent teeth have reached full maturity, while addressing the decayed tooth.

So your child needs crowns, and you are asking, “What choices does my child have?”

Some of the most common options in pediatric dentistry are listed below.

Stainless Steel Crowns

Stainless steel crowns are the most common type of crown used in pediatric dentistry. These are what many people call “silver” crowns. These crowns are covered by most major insurances. They are very durable and are a great option if you aren’t concerned about the cosmetic appearance of baby teeth.  On rare occasions, they can cause localized tissue irritation and have been known to be a contributing factor in metal allergies.

Stainless Steel Crowns with White Facings

Stainless steel crowns can be made to look more esthetically pleasing, especially when front teeth need treatment. This type of stainless steel crown is available with a pre-veneered plastic facing. These crowns are more cosmetic in appearance because from the front they look “white” but the reverse side is the portion of silver crown that is non-coated metal. In order for the white facing to adhere to the metal, extra bulk must be added, so these crowns tend to look bulk, thick or rounded. The white facing also has a tendency to chip off easily over time, exposing the silver crown underneath. There are two main reasons the white facings of a stainless steel may chip off: (1) when children grind their teeth, (2) or as a result of regular wear and tear related to chewing forces on back teeth.

Composite Strip Crowns or Resin Crowns

This type of crown is very cosmetic when prepared well by your child’s pediatric dentist. Placing these crowns requires tremendous skill. It also requires the most time to complete. Because of the time required, these crowns can be difficult to place on young, uncooperative children. General anesthesia sedation is often recommended for a cosmetic crown procedure. Strip crowns are entirely made of composite “white” “filling material. This filling material looks very natural– a shade guide may be used to match the crown’s color to the color of your child’s natural teeth. The biggest consequence of composite strip crowns or resin crowns is that they have a tendency to absorb food stains and discolor. It can also attract plaque if brushing and flossing is not done well and recurrent decay may result. Resin crowns are also much weaker than stainless steel crowns so there is an increased risk that a piece or corner of the crown may break off.  Most major insurances cover composite strip crowns on front teeth only for baby teeth that require treatment.

How are baby teeth prepared for stainless steel crowns?

1. Your pediatric dentist may recommend using “Laughing gas” and Novocaine for a stainless steel crown procedure. Laughing gas is a very mild form of conscious sedation that helps to manage nervousness or anxiety. Your child is awake during the entire procedure. Novocaine is injected into the gums surrounding the decayed tooth so there is no discomfort during the stainless steel crown procedure.

2. A soft latex sheet called a rubber dam is draped over the mouth to isolate the tooth being treated. This also helps to keep the working area free of any moisture, increasing the dentist’s field of view while preventing the child from swallowing any debris.

3. First, the chewing surface is reduced by about 1.5mm outlining the tooth. Second, the contact area between neighboring teeth is opened to create space for stainless steel crown placement. And third, all decay is removed from the tooth.

4. A crown is chosen, sized, trimmed, and fitted to adapt to the prepared primary tooth. The crown and the tooth are then washed and dried separately.

5. Cement, otherwise known as “tooth glue” is mixed and placed on the insides of the stainless steel crown prior to being fitted on the tooth.

6. The rubber dam is removed and the child is asked to bite hard on the crown so that all the excess cement is removed. 

7. The excess cement is cleaned off and the tooth contacts are flossed to finish the procedure.

What do we need to do after a stainless steel crown is placed?

Because we use Novocaine during the crown fitting process, your child should not eat until the anesthetic wears off to avoid biting their lip, cheek, or tongue unknowingly. Once it has gone away, they are free to eat and drink as normal, although the crown may be sensitive. They may feel some discomfort for a day or two after the procedure, which can be handled with over-the-counter pain relievers such as Children’s Tylenol or Children’s Ibuprofen.

Pediatric Stainless Steel Crowns in Quincy, MA

You and your child may be nervous if a stainless steel crown procedure is in order, but at Sprout Kids Dentistry, we know how to create a safe and welcoming environment for you and your little

one. Don’t wait to get the treatment your child needs – call 617-934-6339 or visit us online to schedule your pediatric stainless steel crown appointment today.

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Child’s Dental Hygiene: What Should It Look Like At Which Age?

Your child’s health and safety are top priorities. Their oral hygiene should be one of your top priorities too. Dental health is a vital part of every child’s total health, which starts with parents. You can give your kid a great start, so he or she has healthy gums and teeth his or her entire life. Here’s what to know about treating your child’s dental health at each stage.

Dental Hygiene for Younger Children (Infants)

Most babies start to get their teeth a few months after birth. Some infants have one or more teeth when they are born (referred to as natal teeth). The roots have already formed beneath the gums when babies are born. You may not be able to see the teeth yet, but they are there. Normally, infants start to teeth approximately six months after birth. It is vital to begin good oral hygiene practice while your baby is younger. The healthier the gums are, the healthier the teeth will be.

  • After your baby eats or drinks milk, you should use a clean, damp face cloth to wipe his or her gums. You could give your infant some water in a baby bottle. These actions help clean out any bacteria, which could cause gum issues, nursing decay, or “bottle rot”.
  • It is a good idea to take your baby’s bottle away from them once they are finished drinking. If they start to fall asleep with the bottle in their mouth, it could allow bacteria to grow, which can cause issues such as Thrush, milk tongue, or nursing decay.
  • Brushing your infant’s gums and teeth should start when they are about six months old. One way to help your child learn about brushing their gums and teeth is to allow them to witness you brushing your gums and teeth. (Consult a Dentist regarding how much toothpaste to use and which kind to use).
  • Get a soft-bristle toothbrush for your little one.
  • Some parents take their infants to a dentist as soon as their child’s teeth start to come through the gums. Some parents wait until their babies are around six months old, but most parents schedule a dental appointment before their child is one year old.

Dental Hygiene for Older Children

As children get older, their dental hygiene practices should continue to include age-appropriate habits. Children typically have their first set of teeth (primary teeth) by the age of three. At about age six, their first tooth may fall out and permanent teeth start to grow in. If there are gaps between your six-year old’s teeth, that is normal. The gaps allow his or her permanent teeth room to start coming in. All permanent teeth generally have grown in by the age of thirteen.

How to Develop the Best Dental Hygiene Schedule for Kids

Beginning at age three, you can develop a schedule to help keep your little one’s gums and teeth strong and healthy. Here are some ways you can accomplish that:

  • Dentists recommend using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste (containing fluoride). It is also advisable to make sure your little one does not swallow toothpaste and learns how to rinse and spit properly during and after brushing.
  • It is important that your child brushes for two minutes or so, twice daily.
  • Once teeth have grown in and there is a space where dental floss will fit, you can begin to floss your child’s teeth for them.
  • Help your child brush properly.
  • Take your child to a dentist once every six months.

Pre-Teens – Dental Hygiene

Do you want to help your older children avoid getting cavities or gum disease? You might want to encourage them to continue with a good oral hygiene routine. They should brush twice daily, and floss at least once daily. Using a fluoride mouth rinse once daily before bed is not a bad idea either.

It is a good idea to limit sugary foods and drinks as well. It seems easy but there are times when life gets hectic. Pre-teens might forget to brush their gums and teeth, so you might need to remind them to do it. Pre-teens should visit a dentist every six months or so too.

Encouraging Pre-Teens in Other Ways:

  • An electric toothbrush might help encourage your older children because it might make brushing more fun.
  • Remind your child what happens when they do not take care of their teeth and gums – it could result in tooth decay, stains, gum disease, pain, infection, or more.
  • If your child plays sports, encourage them to wear protective gear like a mouthguard that protects the teeth.
  • Children who have braces should brush and rinse more often. Otherwise, their teeth might have white spots all over them when the braces are removed.

Schedule an Appointment

It’s extremely important to set your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth and a confident smile. If your child struggles to practice good dental hygiene habits, we can offer advice and good tips on establishing good habits. To schedule an appointment, contact us by calling or filling out our online form.

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