It’s that time of year again, the snow is melting off the mountains and the sun is shining. Spring is here and that can only mean one thing, it’s time for Easter. Easter means many things: family, friends, eggs, and Easter baskets. Easter baskets are a grand tradition that has been around for years, and one of the staples of the Easter basket is candy. With this in mind, how can you build a dental friendly Easter basket that can still delight your child without the negative dental and health impacts that come from loading it with candy?
Toys are a great way to fill an Easter basket. You can fill a basket with several small toys that your child will love. This is good for numerous reasons: first, you can fill the basket for a price similar to what you would have spent on the candy to fill it the same amount. Also, you will saving yourself the pain of having to deal with a sugar-addled child as well as saving them the potential health and dental problems that can follow them for the rest of their lives.
Play to your children’s hobbies. If your child is into sports, get them items related to their sports. A new glove for your Baseball player, a new Football for your Football player, or new cleats for your Soccer player, all excellent substitutes for candy in an Easter basket. You can also use this in a different way; maybe consider tickets to a professional sports game. If your child loves basketball, you could put tickets to a Jazz game in their Easter basket.
Coupons can be a very fun way to fill an Easter basket. These can be a bit of a risk initially, receiving paper in their Easter basket can sometimes disappoint kids but once they read the coupons, they’re sure to enjoy them. You can leave a wide variety of coupons that will be fun and beneficial for them. A coupon that states that they don’t have to do any chores for one day, or letting them pick what’s for dinner. A fun coupon that’s always a hit with kids is when they can make you do something that they would normally have to, something like “Choose a parent to do your chores for you for one night.”
You can fill your child’s Easter basket with different forms of activities. Coloring books are a great activity for filling an Easter basket. Board games are also an excellent way to fill an Easter basket; these have the added bonus of creating an opportunity for some quality family time with you and your child. You can also put tickets to the zoo or some other activity in the basket that you and your child can enjoy together.
Easter baskets without candy may seem strange but it can be a great way to teach your child lessons that benefit them in the future. You can use one of these ideas or a combination of several of them. The best way to go about it is to find some ideas that you know will work for your child, after all, nobody knows your child as well as you do.
On behalf of our favorite pediatric dentist, and everyone here at Village Dental, have a fun, safe, and healthy Easter weekend.
Despite the rumors, most adults are not afraid of going to the dentist. For adults, visiting the dentist is a necessary part of a healthy life. Children, however, do not have the same experience and familiarity with the dentist, as adults do. To children, the dentist is an unknown. Most children (and adults for that matter) have a fear of the unknown.
To Children The Dentist Might Equal Pain
Whether they have seen their parents experiencing discomfort after a major dental procedure, or they have experienced the pain of a cavity themselves, many children associate the dentist with pain. Pain hurts, and human beings will avoid it at all costs. Many children are also unable to differentiate between going to the dentist and going to the doctor, where they may have been given shots/vaccinations or experienced discomfort.
Here are some tips for parents to help children overcome their fear of the dentist.
Model Correct Behavior
- The next time you have a routine appointment with the dentist, take your child with you. Have your child observe the entire process. Explain to your child what the dentist is doing, as the dentist is doing it. Make sure the child sees that a routine trip to the dentist is pain-free. Afterwards, make sure your child is aware of how amazing your newly cleaned teeth feel and how happy you are to have healthy teeth and gums.
Read Dentist Stories to Your Children
- There are numerous children’s books available that portray visiting the dentist in a fun, inviting, and colorful way. Children’s stories about visiting the dentist will put the dentist and the whole visit in terms that a child can relate to. When the stories portray the dentist as being fun and exciting, then the child will believe that about the dentist as well.
- Role playing with your children is a great way to have them experience what it will be like at the dental office. You can create a fictitious dental office in your house with a chair, fake instruments, and all. You can be as elaborate with it, as you want to be. Take turns with your child pretending to be the dentist and patient. Pretend to check your child’s teeth, diagnose cavities on x-rays, and talk to your child about their teeth brushing and flossing habits. When the visit is over, and your child was a good patient, you can even give him/her a sugar-free sucker.
Bring Your Child’s Favorite Toy
- Talk to the dentist ahead of time to make sure it is OK for you to be with your child throughout their appointment. Keep the mood in the room light, humorous, and fun. Bring your child’s favorite toy or stuffed animal, as long as it does not get in the way of the dentist being able to perform the necessary work. If a child has a parent and his/her favorite toy alongside, they are much more likely to feel safe and unafraid.
Tell Them How Great They Are Doing
- Parents can use positive reinforcement to help their children be less fearful of the dentist. While at the dental office, be sure to consistently give your child encouragement and positive affirmations like: “You are doing a great job”, or “You are awesome for being so brave.” Before the visit, you may feel it appropriate to incentivize your child to be unafraid of the dentist by promising them a movie or a toy for being a good patient.
For most adults, visiting the dentist has become routine, and it is not event to be afraid of. For children, it is a different story. Adults sometimes forget that most of life’s experiences are new to children, and the unknown can cause fear. The main ways parents can help their children overcome a fear of the dentist is to be models of proper behavior and make the dentist as fun of an experience for their children as possible.
Watching your child’s teeth come in can be an exciting time for parents. But, keeping all those teeth healthy can be more challenging than enjoyable. For knowing when to bring your youngster into the dentist and tips on how to keep your child’s teeth clean, read on:
When Should My Child First See a Dentist?
A child should first see a dentist when they have teeth, or by the age of one. When you do decide to take your child to a dentist, opt for a pediatric dentist or a dentist that also specializes in family care.
After your child’s first dental appointment, you should follow up care with regular dentists appointments. If you notice any of the following symptoms or problems with your child’s teeth, you should schedule a dentist appointment:
- Pocked, pitted or discolored teeth;
- Complaints from your child about tooth pain;
- Discolored or swollen gums;
- White spots on teeth;
- Unusually persistent bad breath;
- Sensitivity to touch or temperature; or
- If your child hasn’t been brushing regularly and/or frequently consumes sugary foods or beverages.
As your child ages, it’s likely that your dentist will also suggest that your child sees an orthodontist for further oral care and assessment.
How Do I Prevent My Child From Getting Cavities?
Oral health is all about prevention. Therefore, keeping your child’s mouth healthy can be as simple as scheduling regular dentist checkups, brushing three times a day, and flossing.
For infants or toddlers who are too young to use toothpaste, you should wipe down the gums and teeth of your child with a wet cloth after feeding. Tooth decay and rot can be caused from the milk that your child drinks. If your child has teeth, choosing a toothpaste with fluoride and that is kid-friendly is an important part of establishing a healthy brushing routine.
You can also ask your dentist about other prevention techniques, such as applying a sealant or resin to teeth to help prevent against cavities, particularly in molars.
As a parent, it is also your responsibility to monitor the consumption of foods and drinks that are high in sugar. Sugar is the main culprit of tooth decay. Preventing tooth decay by watching the levels of sugar that your child eats can help save painful, expensive, and inconvenient oral care expenditures in the future.
How Do I Promote Oral Hygiene at Home?
Going to the dentist can often by a scary experience for children, especially when they’re very young. Make dentist visits seem more exciting by following up the dentist’s office with a special treat, like a trip to a restaurant or toy store. To promote healthy habits while at home and to make brushing more fun, let your child pick out their own toothbrush and have rewards or incentives that are associated with regular brushing.
Remember, the earlier you start enforcing good habits and the earlier you introduce dental care into your child’s life, the easier it will be for your child to implement and continue habits on their own. If your child is approaching the age of one and hasn’t yet seen a dentist, or if they are experiencing any of the oral complications listed above, schedule an appointment immediately.
Dental care and personal oral health and hygiene are extremely important throughout every stage of life. The way you care for and treat your teeth and gums will have an impact on your life now and into the future. Ideally, children are taught from infancy to properly care for their teeth. It is best to begin training and educating early in life. However, there is still no time like the present to grab hold of your oral hygiene and start making a difference on your quality of life.
Healthy Teeth and Gums Equals a Lifetime of Smiles
It is important to establish proper oral hygiene habits as early in life as possible. Healthy oral hygiene habits include:
- Brushing your teeth properly at least two times a day
- Flossing your teeth at least 1 time per day
- Visiting the dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings
- Eating a well-balanced diet that is low in sugar
Every bit as important as beginning proper oral hygiene is maintaining the ritual of caring for your teeth and gums throughout your lifetime. Here is a timeline progression for how proper oral hygiene develops from infancy to adulthood.
Infancy to Two Years Old
Most infants begin teething by 6 months of age. If you have little children, you know that teething is not often a pleasurable experience. Signs of teething include: gnawing, drooling, bighting, sucking, and even light fever. Usually, the first teeth to appear are the two bottom middle teeth with the top four middle teeth coming in soon after.
It is recommended that your infant’s first trip to the dentist come as early as the first tooth appearing but no later than their first birthday. There are dentists, who specialize in pediatric dentistry. It is likely your child’s pediatrician will refer you to a pediatric dentist to handle your infant’s oral hygiene needs.
1 to 3 Years Old
Children should begin brushing their teeth (most likely with your help) as early as their first tooth. Use a toothbrush designed for children in their age group. Depending on the fluoride levels in your water supply, using toothpaste is not critical until about age 3. Ask your dentist, when your child should begin using toothpaste in your local area.
Flossing may begin as early as your child has 2 or more teeth that touch each other. Normally, by the time a child is 3 years old, they have a full set of 20 “baby teeth”. By 3 years old, your child should be brushing two times per day and flossing 1 time per day.
4 to 10 Years Old
Visits from the tooth fairy will signify that your child is losing his or her baby teeth. It is common for children to begin losing their baby teeth around the age of 5 or 6. The baby teeth are soon replaced by adult teeth (called permanent teeth). It is still important that your child brush and floss regularly throughout the process of losing their baby teeth and gaining their permanent teeth. Teeth and gums need to remain healthy. Do not forget to include regular visits to the pediatric dentist for check-ups as well.
10 to 16 Years Old
Between 10 and 12 years old children typically will lose their molars and grow in their permanent ones. Age 13 is typically considered the age by which a child will have all of his or her permanent teeth. The majority of people do not have perfectly straight teeth or bite lines. Most children in their pre-teen or teenage years will require orthodontic corrections to their teeth and/or jaw. Braces are used to straighten teeth and correct over or under bites.
17 to 21 Years Old
Some people will grow in wisdom teeth (or third molars) in their later teen years and early twenties. Typically, people do not have enough room in their mouth for a third set of molars. It is common for people to have their wisdom teeth removed to avoid complications in the future. Consult with your dentist to know, if you need your (or your child’s) wisdom teeth removed.
Teeth and gums care and overall oral hygiene is important for a healthy life and great smile. Start young with proper brushing and flossing practices. Maintain those proper oral health habits throughout your life. Visit the dentist regularly. This is the recipe for a lifetime of oral health.
As the Affordable Care Act rolls out more information each day regarding its coverage, the public is learning more and more about what it does and doesn’t cover. Some of the latest news are aiming at disputing Pediatric Dental Care Insurance.
Dental Insurance for Kids
Pediatric Dental Insurance was included in the Affordable Care Act as one of the 10 “essential health benefits” the new health insurance plans are to include starting in 2014. When looking at the type of coverage the Pediatric Dental plans, they must include basic services such as preventative care of teeth cleaning and X-rays and fillings.
Many children will be covered insurance wise with dental care through Medicaid, some health insurance exchanges, and through employer-sponsored insurance.
Dental Plans Separate from Health Plans
Within the Affordable Care Act there is a glitch that is stopping the option of many children from having any dental care insurance. The law in itself requires insurance companies to offer pediatric dental care, but unless it is offered exclusively in a bundle package with healthcare, parents are not obligated to purchase the insurance. What is happening is that many insurance companies have decided to not offer it together with the health plan and it is now found as an alternative plan, making it unenforceable under the Affordable Care Act leaving millions of children without pediatric dental care.
Pediatric Dental Insurance not Affordable Under the Affordable Care Act
Many families qualify to receive tax credit for the Health Insurance Plan, but are finding out that pediatric care, unless it is bundled with the health insurance, it is not covered under the tax credit. These families are receiving tax credit for their health insurance because they cannot afford the full payment. This means that they cannot afford to add any pediatric dental care to cover any of their children’s dental care needs. This leaving out millions of children without dental care.
Dental Care for Children is Essential
When considering pediatric care we are not looking at some kind of optional sickness that can affect children. Dental decay is very much a reality among children and is cause for serious illness produced from such. It is the most common childhood disease.
Dental Care is Part of Healthcare
Pediatric dental healthcare should not be made separate under the Affordable Care Act. All health insurance should be made to bundle this care for children making it truly affordable with the tax subsidy. If the government is truly looking into providing healthcare for children they should not leave out pediatric dental care as it is the most common childhood disease. Many company are using this separation of dental insurance plan loophole to not cover children dental healthcareand leaving them suffering from serious tooth decay.
If pediatric dental care is among the list of 10 “essential health benefits” the government needs to stop the health insurance companies from not including this benefit within the health insurance bundle. This would allow then many families to afford dental care for their children by having it under the tax subsidy.