September 28th, 2022
Children are born with a natural sucking reflex. In fact, sonogram images from the womb often reveal an unborn baby practicing by sucking on his or her fingers or thumb. Not only does sucking aid in your baby’s ability to acquire food and nutrients, but it is also a security and possible analgesic outside of meal times.
Though it is both normal and beneficial for parents to soothe their children with pacifiers during infancy, long-term use could interfere with oral health and development. Most children will stop using a pacifier on their own. However, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends halting pacifier use after age three. Prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use after this time can cause the upper front teeth to begin to lean outward. It can also cause new teeth to erupt crookedly, and it can negatively affect jaw alignment.
If your child is not showing signs of self-weaning by age two, you may begin the process by limiting pacifier usage to specific times, such as nap time or when getting vaccinations. Offer an alternative security item, such as a blanket, and be sure to praise your child when he or she chooses the blanket over the pacifier.
- Never under any circumstances should you dip your baby’s pacifier in something sweet. Though it is a tempting way of encouraging your child to take a pacifier when crying, it can also lead to early childhood tooth decay.
- If your child has not discontinued pacifier use by age three, talk with Dr. Brent Moody and Dr. Somer Heim about behavioral modifications or appliances that can help your child wean.
- Never use negative reinforcement to discourage pacifier use. Punishment for pacifier use is not effective for changing your child’s habits.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s pacifier usage or which types of pacifiers are best for your child’s oral health, please give our team at Pediatric Dental Specialists of Central Oklahoma a call at our convenient Oklahoma City office!
September 21st, 2022
You have a lot more freedom as a teenager than you did as a young child. You also have a lot more responsibilities, and one of your jobs is to take care of your teeth. Develop and maintain good dental habits now so you can have great dental health for life!
As a teenager, you risk tooth decay, or dental cavities, if you are not careful. In fact, 59% of adolescents aged 12 to 19 have at least one cavity, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Dr. Brent Moody and Dr. Somer Heim and our staff recommend keeping your teeth strong and healthy by brushing at least twice a day and flossing every day.
If you suspect that you have tooth decay, do not be embarrassed. Instead, ask your parents to bring you to Pediatric Dental Specialists of Central Oklahoma to get it looked at. When you do not treat your dental cavities, they can turn into more serious problems. A severely damaged tooth may need to be treated with a root canal or even an extraction.
You can take easy steps to prevent tooth decay when you are at school or hanging out with your friends. Carry a bottle of water around with you so you can take a sip after you eat any kind of food. Choose water or milk instead of soda or sports drinks, and if you chew gum, select a sugar-free flavor.
Other Oral Health Concerns
You can probably think of many reasons why you should not smoke or use tobacco. Your oral health is another one. Tobacco gives you bad breath and stains your teeth yellow. It also increases your risk for gum disease and cancer of the mouth. Smoking even slows the speed of healing after you have dental procedures done.
Here are a few more tips that can keep your mouth attractive and healthy during your teen years.
- Drink plenty of milk.
- Limit candies and sugary snacks.
- Wear a mouthguard if you play a contact sport.
- Visit Pediatric Dental Specialists of Central Oklahoma twice a year.
- Reduce infections and avoid piercing your tongue and lips.
You only get one set of permanent teeth in your life, so get in the habit of taking care of them now!
September 14th, 2022
It’s common for toddlers to be wary of strangers, but their first experience at the dentist shouldn’t be a scary one. Dr. Brent Moody and Dr. Somer Heim and our team have five tips for you to make your child’s first visit to Pediatric Dental Specialists of Central Oklahoma easy as pie!
- Bringing your child to one of your own appointments before his or her first dental visit can calm your little one’s nerves. This gives your son or daughter the opportunity to get familiar with our office and see a cleaning isn’t very scary.
- Our big dental chair can be fun! Toddlers love games, and seeing the chair go up and down can make it seem like an amusement ride rather than sitting down for an exam.
- Dr. Brent Moody and Dr. Somer Heim and our team hand out cool toothbrushes and stickers to kids after their appointment. Your child will love the fun-colored toothbrush and can look forward to a post-appointment prize at the next visit.
- Schedule your appointment for a time that sets you up for success. Bringing your child to our Oklahoma City office an hour before he or she is due for a nap may be a tantrum just waiting to happen.
- Kids love books! Try reading your toddler bedtime stories about what happens at the dentist before you come in for the appointment. We recommend Dora the Explorer’s Show Me Your Smile, written by Christine Ricci.
September 7th, 2022
It's the end of summer, and fall is just around the corner. Soon the temperatures will cool down, the leaves will start to change, and Dr. Brent Moody and Dr. Somer Heim and our team at Pediatric Dental Specialists of Central Oklahoma are sure that you’ll soon be thinking about Halloween costumes and Thanksgiving plans in no time. But wait! First, we want to know about your favorite parts of the summer! Did you go on a wonderful family trip? Did you pick up a new hobby? Did you try to spend as much time outside and in the sun as possible?
Share your favorite memories, stories, or photos with us by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page.