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There are a lot of toothbrushes options out there. Electric, manual, plastic, metal, brand name, cartoon characters, singing, and everything in-between. The reason there are so many toothbrushes for children is that they are all designed with the same goal in mind: to get kids to want to brush their own teeth. But how do you know what toothbrush you should get your child, and at what age should they start being more responsible and brushing their own teeth? Here are some things to consider when purchasing a toothbrush for your little one.

Electric Versus Manual

It is no secret that electric toothbrushes are better at getting the plaque buildup off your teeth.  They also help reduce gingivitis, and they have built-in timers that allow you to focus on brushing on your teeth for the recommended time of two minutes. They don’t need to be replaced as often as manual toothbrushes and can last longer. The biggest con of an electric toothbrush is that they can be very expensive and they can be hard to travel with. Depending on the toothbrush, just replacing the head of the brush every three months can cost an average of $25, and a new electric toothbrush can get into the hundreds. Luckily, most children’s electric brushes don’t cost that much, but they are more than a manual toothbrush. As far as traveling, anything that vibrates will cause TSA to search your bag, and they need an outlet to charge so they aren’t the greatest to take camping. Some children don’t like the feeling vibrations in their mouth and might avoid brushing more.

Manual toothbrushes are a great option for very young children with developing teeth. Soft bristles are best for children because the one problem with manual is that some people brush their teeth too hard. They are a great way to start young kids on the habit of brushing their teeth. Manual toothbrushes are more accessible and much cheaper than electric toothbrushes, but they do have to be replaced more often.  Overall, they perform worse on adults at keeping plaque at bay, but with children who are supervised by their parents, they have the same results as electric toothbrushes. The most important difference between them is the one your child wants to brush with.

Age They Should Start Brushing

Just because babies don’t have any teeth, doesn’t mean that you can skrimp on oral health. While they are teething, make sure that their gums are healthy and clean. When they grow their first tooth,  you can brush it with an infant toothbrush and a tiny, tiny amount of toothpaste.

It is important that you minimalize how much toothpaste children swallow because it can cause an upset stomach.  By the time they are they are two, they should learn to spit out toothpaste after brushing. By the time they are four, they can practice brushing their teeth under supervision. Most kids under eight need help brushing their teeth twice a day to make sure they are getting all their teeth and that they are not swallowing toothpaste.


Teaching your kids the importance of oral health and creating habits at a young age will lead to a great life skill of wanting to take care of their teeth as they get older. Choosing the right toothbrush and encouraging them to brush on their own will help kids understand that they are responsible for their body. Your dentist can also teach them the importance of brushing, so it is necessary to start scheduling appointments early so children can become comfortable with the process of taking care of their teeth.

The post What Toothbrush to Choose for Children appeared first on Bear Creek Pediatric Dentistry - Medford, OR.

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We tend to associate braces with the awkward teenage years, and many of us have embarrassing yearbook photos to prove it. But a lot of parents don’t know that their children could need braces much earlier than expected.  There are many reasons why parents should consider booking an appointment with an orthodontist before they are teenagers because braces are not always cosmetic. They can prevent a more painful and expensive fix down the road, or help with teeth that are already coming in.

If your child has most of his/her adult teeth in and you can tell that their teeth or jaw are misaligned, it might be time to seek professional help. Children as young as 7 can go in for a checkup, so don’t feel too concerned that they won’t take you seriously. Many orthodontists will do a thorough examination of the child’s mouth, including x-rays and checking on the jaw muscles.  Children with overbites, underbites, and teeth that are too crowded or going to grow in crooked are a very common reason as to why parents choose to give their children braces at a young age.

There are many different approaches to braces or variations of braces. The most common version of braces includes brackets and colorful rubber bands that most of us had to wear growing up. There is also Invisalign, retainers, and even headgear (yup, it’s still a thing). These different options are going to depend on the child’s mouth, how old they are and the problems that require special treatment. Most little kids are not going to need a full set of braces to straighten their teeth, that comes later. Orthodontics for children are meant to be preventative, not necessary cosmetic.

Many orthodontists are switching to a two-step treatment method or the interceptive approach which requires that they treat the problem when they are younger, and then re-treat it when they are a little older. Many people believe that by treating it early, the second time around it will be much faster and less painful. Others argue that it costs more and is not as effective as promised because the traditional route still provides the same results. Every child’s mouth is unique and there are many reasons why they might need work done early. Your dentist can be the one to decide if they should be referred to a specialist, so it is best to consult with them first. It can be hard to determine if your child needs extra dental care, so it is best to leave it to a professional to save you time and money. If you have any questions or concerns, schedule an appointment today!

The post When To Look Into Getting Braces appeared first on Bear Creek Pediatric Dentistry - Medford, OR.

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Little kids love to drink out of their sippy cup and chew on snacks. Even as adults, we tend to find that a snack helps break up the day and can take the edge off hunger. But even though snacking and juice can seem harmless, some companies even promote their product as very healthy, all that sugar and acidity can be very hard on children’s teeth. There are ways that you can monitor your child’s intake of sugar to protect their both their baby and adult teeth from cavities.

Limit the Amount of Juice They Drink

Drinking fruit juice and smoothies are supposed to be good for you and in a lot of ways, they are. But most children’s juice boxes are filled to the brim with artificial sugars and high concentrations of acidic fruits. Fruits like oranges, pineapple, lemon, lime, and tomatoes can cause enamel to break down faster so it is important to not allow children to constantly be sipping on these types of juices. The easiest way you can prevent tooth decay without cutting out juice completely is set times when they can drink it ( only at breakfast, not drinking it all day), water it down, and don’t let them drink it from a sippy cup. Sippy cups cause the sugar and acid to sit on the back of the teeth longer instead of a straw which allows the liquid to go to the back of the throat bypassing the teeth altogether.

Switch Out Carbs and Sugar for Whole Grain and Fruit

It is no secret that sometimes white bread can taste better than whole grain, and it might be easier to snack on cheesy crackers than celery. But snacks that are high in simple carbs can sit on your child’s teeth and turn into sugar that is harmful to enamel. Food like raisins, fruit snacks, and gummy bears are sticky and will stay on a child’s teeth all day, even after brushing. Regularly brushing and flossing kid’s teeth is an important way to counteract cavities, but watching what children eat will have the biggest impact overall. The texture of food, the sugar content of food and how often they are eating these foods are all aspects to consider when supplying your toddler with snacks. Swapping out crackers for whole grain foods and fruit snacks with real fruit will be healthier for their teeth and their growing body.

It can be tricky raising kids and balancing all of their needs. It might be easier to give a crying toddler a sugary snack at the moment, but paying extra attention to what your child is eating establishes a pattern of healthy eating early on and will allow them to be happier and healthier. Trying to incorporate all of the food groups on the food pyramid into your toddler’s diet will help you keep track of what you can give them. Special dietary restrictions should always be followed, so parents can adapt their child’s diet accordingly. If you are worried that your child might have a cavity, or you have more questions regarding food and its relation to teeth, feel free to call your local dentist and have a great Holiday season!

The post Snacking, Juice Boxes and Baby Teeth appeared first on Bear Creek Pediatric Dentistry - Medford, OR.

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Most children suck their thumb when they are younger and we find it endearing and adorable.  Kids tend to suck their thumb when they are nervous or scared, and it can be a source of comfort for them and have the same effect as a blanket does. But it isn’t until they get older that it can have a negative impact on their teeth. When thumbsucking becomes an unbreakable habit, early intervention is key to preventing permanent damage to children’s mouth and their adult teeth.

The average age for thumbsucking is between two to four years old. Most kids will stop on their own, right around the time that their adult teeth are starting to come in. But some children will find the habit almost impossible to break and will suck their thumb until intervention takes place. The reason that it is so bad for permanent teeth is that it warps the jaw, which will later have to be corrected with braces or through surgery. The constant pressure of sucking the thumb will push the roof of the mouth up in a way that misaligns the jaw and will cause the front teeth to push forward. Very severe cases will result in problems with speech patterns, such as a lisp. There are ways that a parent can help in order to prevent these outcomes.

Positive Reinforcement

Most children who are six and older want to stop sucking their thumb, they just don’t know how. Getting them in trouble or yanking their thumb out of their mouth can result in the child being stubborn and wanting to suck their thumb more. Maintaining a positive relationship with your kids and having them on board and wanting to quit will make it a great learning experience. Observing when kids suck their thumb like if they are nervous or going to sleep, can allow you to anticipate their needs and replace their thumbsucking with something else like a blanket or a hug. Using a progress chart with a reward attached can also motivate children to want to quit for themselves.

Alternative Options

If rewards and positive reinforcement doesn’t work, then there are other ways that will force a child to quit. Putting a sock on their thumb at night will help if they need to suck their thumb to fall asleep. If the problem is persistent, consult your dentist and they can recommend the best course of action for your child. They can prescribe a bitter medicine to place on the thumbnail, or place a device in a child’s mouth called a “palatal bar” or a “crib” that would force them to stop sucking.

Thumbsucking is a cute habit that can be very hard to break once the child gets older. It can cause speech impediments, a misaligned jaw, and has social stigmas attached. Parents who are proactive in getting their children to stop sucking their thumb can prevent most of these problems, but there are still solutions if your child has developed any of these symptoms. Feel free to contact your dentist for the best options regarding your child’s health.  

The post Thumb Sucking and its Impact on Teeth appeared first on Bear Creek Pediatric Dentistry - Medford, OR.

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It can be stressful when children lose or chip their teeth because it can be very painful. Luckily, taking certain precautions ahead of time can help with stress and managing your child’s pain as efficiently as possible. While a chipped baby tooth might not seem like a big deal because a new one will grow in, there might be more damage under the surface that can lead to infection.  Here are some steps you can take when a child chips or loses a tooth:

Keep Your Dentist Number on Hand:

There is no better place to get advice than from a trained professional. Most dentists will see you on an emergency basis or first thing in the morning. Chipping or knocking out a baby tooth is not something you have to go to the emergency room for, but it is important to prevent infections. When a baby tooth is chipped, it can damage the root of the tooth which will harm the permanent tooth coming in. Only your dentist will be able to determine the proper care and steps that are needed in order to ensure that your child’s teeth are healthy and cared for.

Don’t Replant a Baby Tooth

You might have heard that you can preserve teeth that have been knocked out by placing it in a glass of milk, salt water or saliva. This is true with permanent adult teeth, but with baby teeth, there is no reason to try and replace them. In fact, trying to replace baby teeth can cause major damage to the permanent teeth underneath the root, so never try and regrow them. If a tooth is knocked out of place but you can’t find it, it might have gotten shoved up into the gum. Please go to your dentist immediately so they can take an x-ray in order to remover the tooth. Never assume that the tooth fell out unless you have proof because it can cause a serious infection.

Managing Pain:

Getting a tooth ripped out, even a baby tooth, can be very painful. Have your child rinse out their mouth with water and place an ice pack on their face to help with the swelling. Your dentist can determine if extra care is needed, like a small dosage of over-the-counter painkillers. Luckily, the mouth is one of the fasted healing parts of the body, so the pain should subside in a matter of hours or days. The most important thing to watch for is an infection. Signs include a fever, heat radiating from the damaged area, or the tooth isn’t healing in a timely manner.

Children will tumble and fall, it is a part of growing up. Baby teeth will fall out unexpectedly or get chipped. But knowing how to handle the situation will help you and your child to remain calm, and your quick thinking will have your child smiling again in no time. Always contact your dentist if you have any concerns, and remember to have a fun, safe Halloween!

The post Chipping or Knocking Out Baby Teeth appeared first on Bear Creek Pediatric Dentistry - Medford, OR.

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It is no secret that most children hate going to the dentist. Parents will beg, plead and promise in order to get their children to behave with little avail. Sedation dentistry has become a popular option in order to help children deal with the anxiety and stress of getting their teeth worked on. But there are concerns when it comes to these procedures, and knowing about the procedure can help ease parents and their children’s anxieties.

Bear Creek Dental offers three types of sedation- oral sedatives, nitrous oxide and intravenous sedation. Each one is used for different procedures and each has their benefits, but how safe are they?

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation allows the child to be calmed and relaxed while still being able to interact with the dentist. A common form of oral sedative is valium (diazepam). It needs to be taken before the procedure and it will be dosed according to the age and weight of the child. Side effects include lightheadedness, drowsiness, dry mouth, or upset stomach. Oral sedation is a mild sedative and is a very safe option for both patients and dentists.

Nitrous Sedation

Nitrous Oxide, also known as laughing gas, has been used in dentistry for over a 100 years. It is a mild sedative that has no known negative effects on the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs or brain. It is referred to as laughing gas because it can make the patient giddy and relaxed. The effects wear off just minutes after the mask is removed. This is one of the most commonly used forms of sedatives because the child can still respond to the dentist and feel relaxed during procedures such as cavity fillings and extractions. Nitrous Oxide reduces pain so even if the child needs to receive local anesthesia, the shots will feel very mild.

Intravenous Sedation

Intravenous sedation is administered through an IV by highly trained dentists. This procedure is fast acting and is best for longer, more in-depth procedures. The child’s heart rate and breathing are heavily monitored because there is a higher risk when getting completely sedated for adverse effects. Most children also hate needles, which the parents can help offset by bringing the child’s favorite toy or distracting them in some way. It is important to create a calm and reassuring environment for the child. Anesthesia will cause grogginess and confusion after, but the main effects will wear off after a couple hours.

Not every child will be able to use sedation. It is important to inform your dentist of your child’s entire medical history, including their medications. For the best experience, it is pertinent to talk with your dentist to decide which option is best for your child.

The post Is Sedation Dentistry Safe for Children? appeared first on Bear Creek Pediatric Dentistry - Medford, OR.

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What Age Do You Normally Lose Your Baby Teeth By?

Every child is different and every child loses their last baby teeth at a different age. Some kids don’t lose their last baby teeth until they are in their early to middle teens and some kids lose them all before they leave elementary. It all depends on the genetics of your teeth and when your permanent teeth start pushing on your baby teeth. But there is an average time frame that you can expect your children to lose their teeth by that you can use as a frame of reference to make sure your child’s teeth are as healthy as they can be.

First Teeth

Baby teeth usually fall out in the same order that they came in. So the front teeth are usually first with the ones near it following soon after. Some kids lose their first tooth as early as 4 or as late as 7 but most kids lose their first tooth at age 5 or 6. If your child is at either end of this scale you may consider taking them to a dentist to make sure that their teeth and gums are healthy as they should be. Children whose teeth come in really early when they are a baby tend to also lose their first tooth at a younger age as well. You can usually know if there is an underlying issue if the tooth that falls out is not replaced with a permanent tooth within 3 months. In this case, you should contact your dentist to examine the missing tooth.

Losing Teeth

By the time a child is 12, most have lost all of their baby teeth. If they haven’t lost all of their teeth at this point there isn’t necessarily a problem, but it never hurts to have it looked at by a dentist if they get closer to 14 or 15 years old as it could be an underlying problem. As mentioned early, it still can be completely healthy to still have baby teeth at this point, it just depends on the specific situation. Girls teeth will usually erupt earlier than boys, and because of this, they will usually fall out faster as well.

The main problems that can occur when baby teeth fall out too late or too early are usually orthodontic related. If the permanent teeth take too long to grow in after the baby tooth falls out it can cause the permanent tooth to not grow in the correct spot and cause crowding. If the baby teeth fall out too late it can cause the permanent teeth to grow in crooked because they were stuck above the baby tooth trying to grow in for too long. This is why it is suggested to take your child to a dentist or orthodontist if either of these issues occurs. But most of the time the variance is normal and your child’s smile and teeth will still be intact!

The post What Age Do You Normally Lose Your Baby Teeth By? appeared first on Bear Creek Pediatric Dentistry - Medford, OR.

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Filling Cavities on Baby Teeth?

The question of whether or not to fill cavities in baby teeth is a very common concern. It seems somewhat pointless to invest the time and money into filling cavities on teeth that are just going to fall out. Though it may seem pointless, it actually isn’t. According to professionals in the field, the effects of not filling baby teeth can have permanent long-term damage to the child’s mouth and permanent teeth.

Baby teeth are a fundamental part of the child learning to form words and speak. If the teeth are sore or aching, the child will modify the way they eat and speak in order to least irritate that tooth. This can cause lifelong bad habits that often lead to overbites, underbites, and other jaw problems. In the long run, it is often less expensive and time-consuming to fill cavities on baby teeth than to deal with the more severe medical issues in the future.

Not filling cavities in baby teeth also affects how the permanent teeth grow in after them. If the teeth and gum are infected it can cause the permanent teeth to grow in the wrong direction or crooked. The permanent teeth are also more prone to cavity and infection.

The only exception that most professionals have to this rule is if the cavity is very small. In this case, you should talk to your dentist and ask his opinion. If he thinks the cavity is in its early enough stages that it can be reversed then you should follow his advice or tips on what steps need to be taken to get rid of the cavity before it becomes a problem.

If your child has multiple cavities on their baby teeth and they seem to get them often, then it is advised to have them filled. This can indicate future problems of weak enamel that causes the teeth to be more prone to cavities and gum infections. Ask your dentist about sealants and other preventive measures to help stop the cavities from forming in the first place. If they do get them anyway than speak with your dentist about the best step for your child’s health.

The post Filling Cavities on Baby Teeth? appeared first on Bear Creek Pediatric Dentistry - Medford, OR.

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Whitening Strips. Do They Really Work?

Whitening strips are always a tempting option when you are looking for just a little more shine in your smile. But are they really worth the cost and time? This has been debated often because some people seem to have amazing results and others seem to not notice a difference at all. So are they a scam? Or a quick easy fix?

How They Work

Let’s first go over whitening strips work chemically. The actual strips are usually made out of polyethylene, and the gel that goes on the strips are usually made of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. According to Humana, the process of whitening teeth is similar to bleaching clothes. The peroxide on the strips bleaches or whitens your teeth as it sits in contact with it. The longer you leave it on, the longer it usually will bleach your teeth for.

Pros of Whitening Strips

  • Less Expensive and Faster
    • The main reason that most people choose to use whitening strips instead of having their teeth whitened professionally is that it is significantly cheaper. Having it done professionally will cost you a lot more money and time. Most of the time it requires a consultation appointment, a couple more application appointments, and some follow up appointments. Because of this, a lot of people choose to whiten at home at their own convenience.
  • Simplicity
    • Practically anyone can use whitening strips because they are made to be very simple and convenient. You can put them on while watching a movie at home, or while doing your hair in the morning. Most people have 15 minutes to spare in their day to apply the strips. Which makes them a much better option for a lot of busy people.

Cons of Whitening Strips

  • Spots
    • The whitening strips are 2D and your teeth are 3D. This can cause the whitening to be uneven because the strips are only touching the top of your teeth. So the quality of the strips you purchase can make a big difference.  
  • Gum Damage
    • The gums are a lot more sensitive than the teeth and the chemicals that are used to whiten teeth are too harsh for the gums to endure. To preserve your gums it is best to brush your teeth before you whiten them and then wait at least 30 minutes. Then when you are whitening, make sure to not let the strips touch or rest on your gums at all. Some strips will need to be folded or cut to achieve this more easily.

          So through all of this we still have the question, do they really work? And the answer is, it depends. If you are looking to brighten your smile just a little, then whitening strips will most likely be a good option for you. But on the flip side, you get what you pay for. Getting your teeth whitened professionally will cost a lot more time and money but they will also show night and day results. It really depends on 1) what your goal is 2) how much you are wanting to spend and 3) what your gum health and teeth history is. If you have had problems with your gum or teeth enamel in the past, I would stay away from whitening strips unless cleared by your doctor.

          A good option for those who are wanting something in between professional whitening and over the counter whitening strips are whitening trays. These are normally made by a dentist by creating a mold of your mouth and then making trays that look similar to Invisalign. The gel is normally the same or of similar composition and a small dot of the gel is placed on each tooth mold. These are more expensive than whitening strips but also a lot cheaper than professional whitening. The risks associated with these trays also decline immensely. Because the trays are fit to your teeth specifically, there is less chance of getting any gel on your gum or other parts of your mouth.

          So all in all, if you are just looking for a quick, easy, and inexpensive fix to give your teeth a little more glow, and you haven’t had any gum or enamel issues, then whitening strips are a perfect option for you! If that’s not quite what you are looking for then you might want to skip the strips and find an option that suits you better.

The post Whitening Strips. Do They Really Work? appeared first on Bear Creek Pediatric Dentistry - Medford, OR.

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Grinding your teeth at night can leave you feeling unrested and sore the next day, making it harder to live the busy, upbeat life that you want to. Grinding your teeth is a medical condition called bruxism. Though a very common disorder, the reason for its occurrence has a large range of variation. According to WebMD, 25% of people grind their teeth. That is a huge percentage of people to all have the same disorder, and the worst part is that very few of that large percentage do anything to treat it.

Common Treatments

The most common treatment for bruxism is to wear a mouthguard at night. A mouth guard can be purchased over the counter at most convenience stores. You can also have your dentist make a mouthguard for you. This option tends to be more expensive but sometimes worth it. Your dentist can form the mouthguard to your mouth so it fits more comfortably and so you notice it less. A lot of the time your insurance will even cover most of the costs. This is, of course, effective because it makes it so you can’t grind your teeth, as long you remember to wear the mouthguard. But grinding your teeth is usually caused by an underlying issue, that if you treat will also cure your teeth grinding.

Misalignment

The first, and simplest cause of bruxism is that your jaw or teeth are misaligned. This causes them to wear and grind on each other in the wrong places. To realign a misaligned jaw, there are a couple of options depending on how it is misaligned. If you have a severe underbite or overbite, braces are often the easiest solution to realign your bite. But if your teeth are straight and you don’t need braces you might have a retainer and rubber bands put in to pull the jaw forward or backward. If it is too severe to be fixed either of these ways, then surgery may be the only option to correct this. If surgery isn’t something you want, or if it’s not severe enough, your dentist will often just have you wear a mouthguard.  

Sleeping Disorder

Though it surprises most, a sleeping disorder can actually cause you to grind your teeth. The most common sleeping disorder that causes you to grind your teeth is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA causes you to stop and start breathing throughout the night.This can cause you to wake up constantly, snore, and feel very tired during the day. the US, 25% of people have this disorder, and the worst part is a very small percentage of those people ever go to the doctor for it. If a sleeping disorder is causing you to grind your teeth, then treating the disorder should also cause you to stop grinding your teeth.

The post Why Do I Grind My Teeth? appeared first on Bear Creek Pediatric Dentistry - Medford, OR.

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