Everyone knows that brushing your teeth and flossing are very important, but did you know that saliva also plays a very big role in your oral health? While we do not have as much power over our saliva production as we do over the health of our teeth, there are a few ways you can ensure that your child is producing the right amount of saliva needed for excellent oral health at a young age. Read on to learn more about all the great things saliva does for us, and how you can support healthy saliva production!
What is saliva?
Saliva, also known as spit, is a clear liquid that is produced by the salivary glands in the mouth. These glands are found on the inside of each cheek, under the tongue, and under the jaw at the very front of the mouth. These glands secrete about 2 to 4 pints of spit per day! Saliva is produced 24 hours a day, and is mostly made up of water and chemicals naturally produced by your body.
How does saliva affect my child’s oral health?
Did you know that saliva actually serves a great purpose in our oral health? Saliva helps clean your teeth and mouth between meals, and it helps rinse food particles from between your teeth. Saliva also makes eating possible! It would be very difficult to chew a sandwich or other dry foods without saliva to get the food wet in your mouth. The enzymes in saliva actually helps reduce bad bacteria in your mouth too. Spit contains proteins that help protect tooth enamel and can even reduce bad breath!
What else does saliva do?
As pediatric dentists, we are most interested in the ways that saliva keeps your child’s smile clean and healthy. However, saliva also serves several other very important functions! Saliva contains enzymes that aid digestion by breaking down food before it even reaches the stomach, which jump starts the process. Saliva also helps your tongue taste the delicious food you’re eating! A dry tongue would not be able to properly taste food. That would be a bummer!
How do I make sure my child is producing the right amount of saliva?
Most young people actually produce the right amount of saliva naturally. However, dry mouth can occur as a side effect of certain medications and medical conditions. Hydration can also affect saliva production, as spit is mostly made of water. Make sure your child is drinking enough water, especially during the summer and during exercise!
Wow, saliva is awesome! If you are concerned about your child’s oral health, schedule their first appointment with us today!
We all know that we need to take care of our teeth because they serve vital functions for regular activities, like eating, speaking, and smiling. But considering baby teeth are going to fall out anyway, do parents really need to take as much effort to care for them? Though it may seem like an aimless pursuit, it is very important to take care of baby teeth. Before they fall out, they retain space for adult teeth and stimulate bone growth for the jaw and face. That’s why baby teeth need just as much attention as adult teeth!
How do baby teeth erupt?
Now that you’re aware of the importance of baby teeth, you may be anxious to know when your infant’s teeth will erupt. Every baby is different, so the timeline varies with each individual. Generally speaking, most babies are born with 20 teeth and they start to show around 6 months to 1 year of age. Here’s what you can expect:
6 – 8 months: Lower central incisors
8 – 12 months: Upper central incisors
10 – 14 months: Upper lateral incisors
10 – 16 months: Lower lateral incisors
14 – 19 months: Upper and lower molars
16 – 24 months: Upper and lower canines
25 – 33 months: Final upper molars
Once the first few teeth start to show, it’s a good idea to take your tot to the pediatric dentist! It’s recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists to bring your child to a professional by the age of 1 or when the first tooth sprouts, whichever comes first. The pediatric dentist can give you advice about how to best take care of your child’s new teeth. You can expect to go over the family oral health history, a dental exam, nutritional counseling, and dental care guidance.
At the pediatric dentist’s office, parents will learn about good dental habits for their babies and how to brush their teeth. Even if your baby is mostly gums at this point, it’s still important to keep the mouth clean with soft, baby-sized brush and toothpaste. The pediatric dentist will show you what works for babies and what to avoid as their teeth develop and needs change.
Should baby teeth have gaps?
Many parents are concerned that their baby’s teeth are growing in with gaps. If the gaps are small and evenly spaced, this can actually be beneficial for adult teeth growing in later on! The gaps will give your child’s adult teeth extra space to grow in, so they don’t overlap or crowd.
Gaps that are too large or uneven, however, could be a concern for parents. If it becomes difficult to eat or clean the teeth because of these gaps, they could lead to bigger problems, like a nutritional deficiency or tooth decay. Irregularly spaced teeth could affect the way permanent teeth grow in, making them overlap or crowd. In order to avoid these problems, take your child to an early orthodontic screening by the age of 7. At this point, all of the teeth should have grown in and the orthodontist can evaluate whether any action needs to be taken preemptively to ensure the permanent teeth develop properly.
Are baby teeth more susceptible to cavities?
Baby teeth are not more susceptible to cavities. They’re made just like adult teeth, with pulp, dentin, and enamel. Children may get more cavities because of bad habits, like drinking bottles before bed or eating too many sweets. In fact, tooth decay is the most prevalent disease in children, even though it can be easily prevented.
To keep your child cavity-free, establish a dental hygiene routine for your child early on. When baby teeth are exposed to bacteria and sugar, a sticky residue called plaque is formed that can damage the teeth with harmful acids. To protect the teeth, brush twice a day or after every meal and floss every night. Dentists also recommend drinking plenty of water to flush away food debris and consuming calcium-rich foods. Once your child reaches a certain age, you can also start giving them fluoridated products with the pediatric dentist’s recommendation.
When do baby teeth fall out?
Baby teeth can start falling out as early as the age of 6 and continues until the age of 12 or 13 latest. Teeth usually fall out in the same pattern that they grew in. When a tooth becomes “wobbly”, your child may have trouble eating or speaking like usual because the tooth is loose. You can help your child alleviate the pain by gargling salt water and avoiding eating where the tooth is loose. If you notice the permanent tooth growing in before the baby tooth is lost, consider seeing your pediatric dentist to remove the baby tooth.
If your child’s tooth is knocked out early, see the dentist immediately! The doctor may be able to reattach the tooth. Teeth that are lost early can lead to the improper development and spacing of adult teeth. To avoid dental emergencies like this, try to protect your child’s teeth as best as possible with mouthguards and safety gear when they play sports. Of course, some accidents are impossible to predict, but it doesn’t hurt to be extra careful when you can!
How do I care for my child’s primary teeth?
Cavities, broken teeth, and gum disease aren’t just annoying and painful, they’re bad for your child’s overall health. Taking care of your child’s teeth is something you need to teach your child. While you may be able to brush for them early on, you can’t do that forever! Children must learn how to maintain good dental hygiene on their own. Here are a few tips:
Be a good role model: Children learn how to talk and act by observing their parents or guardians at an early age. The best way to teach your children good dental habits is by practicing them yourself. They’re much more likely to do as you do than as you say. Make time to brush and floss with them every day and encourage them to eat tooth-healthy foods with you.
Visit the pediatric dentist regularly: The pediatric dentist will be able to identify, treat, and prevent dental problems before they become serious. Most patients should see the dentist twice a year or every six months, but that can change depending on the situation. Schedule regular appointments at the dentist for your child, so they can maintain their healthy teeth with a thorough dental exam and routine cleaning.
Curb bad habits early on: Drinking from bottles before bed, forgetting to brush, and sucking on pacifiers are a few types of bad habits that should be eliminated early on. Over time, these seemingly harmless habits can lead to misaligned teeth, cavities, and gum disease. Don’t let them manifest!
Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry is a pediatric dental practice dedicated to providing children for strong, healthy teeth for years to come. Our pediatric dentist believes in building a strong patient/provider relationship early on, so children can feel comfortable coming in for appointments. If your child is in need of a dental checkup, give us a call at our Alpharetta office! We’re happy to help.
Happy Valentine’s Day! This holiday is a great opportunity to celebrate all kinds of love, and kids are all about it. While a lot of Valentine’s Day traditions involve sugary candy that can damage your child’s teeth, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate that do not lead to cavities. Here are some of our favorite tooth-friendly Valentine’s Day ideas!
Breakfast and Lunch Ideas
Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to make the foods that your child eats every day just a little bit more exciting! If you make foods like pancakes or bagels with cream cheese for their breakfast, try adding a little bit of red food coloring to the batter or cream cheese to make a festive pink color! Some other fun breakfast options include strawberry milk for their cereal, cut up strawberries, and heart shaped pancakes or toast!
Since Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday this year, your child will probably be eating their lunch at school. If you pack their lunch, keep the festive feeling going! They will feel so special and excited when they open their lunch to find a heart-shaped sandwich or fruit cut up into heart shapes! This can easily be done with a cookie cutter. You may even want to include a special note for your child to read at lunch time to remind them how much you love them. We advise against packing candy in their lunch as a treat, as they will probably be getting a lot of treats from their classmates that day!
If your child is going to be giving out valentines to their classmates, encourage them to choose valentine cards that have a gifts like stickers, temporary tattoos, or small toys or trinkets instead of candy. If everyone in their class brings a candy treat with their valentines, that adds up to anywhere between 20 and 35 pieces of candy per child! Your child’s teeth (and the other parents!) will appreciate more of a variety in their Valentine’s Day haul.
If you would like to get your child a gift to celebrate Valentine’s Day, consider something that will last longer and cause less damage than candy. There are some great classic gifts out there like stuffed animals, flowers, and balloons that will help them feel special and celebrated. You can also go for a less traditional option such as a toy or game that you know they would love! Another option is to give them an experiential gift. Take them out for a Valentine’s Day dinner or a movie. Even just a trip to play at the park together can be a lot of fun.
No matter how you choose to celebrate, we hope you and your family have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Is your child due for a dental cleaning? Schedule an appointment with us today!
New parents are often not sure about when they should take their child to the dentist for the first time. They wonder if they should wait until the child has sprouted a certain number of primary teeth, or if they should wait until they encounter a visible dental issue. However, we encourage our patients’ families to be proactive! The American Dental Association advises that a child should first visit a pediatric dentist when they get their first tooth (which is usually before they turn two).
Why Should I Take My Child to the Dentist Early On?
The purpose of a child’s first pediatric dentist appointment is not necessarily for any dental work, but more so to evaluate their oral health and familiarize your child with the dentist. It is important that your child is not afraid of the dentist, and feels excited and comfortable when they have an appointment. Once your child feels comfortable with the dentist, the doctor can take a quick look to evaluate their current oral health and make recommendations. Taking them to the pediatric dentist at an early age can also help your child build a trusting relationship with the staff so that they have positive feelings towards visiting the dentist. During their first visit, they will also be able to familiarize themselves with the tools that dentists use, and parents can create fun names for the tools that may be otherwise frightening.
When the dentist is examining your child’s mouth, they will be able to check the health of their gums as well as any signs of tooth decay. Lastly, the pediatric dentist will also be able to see if there are any patterns of tooth growth that may affect the child’s speech or eating patterns in the future. It is a good idea to come prepared with questions to ask the dentist, especially so that you can establish your child’s dental hygiene routine.
During a child’s very first visit, it is very common for the child to want to be held to calm their nerves during the appointment. This behavior is completely normal, and as they come in for each appointment, they will slowly gain their independence as they gain trust. Once the child turns three years old, they will be able to have more complete dental appointments and should be more comfortable with the dentist.
After the first visit, your child should be visiting the dentist around every six months as long as no new issues show up in between check ups. Important issues to watch out for are teeth grinding, lisps, and strange breathing patterns. At each visit with the dentist, they will most likely begin to add steps slowly to your child’s dental routine to continue improving their health. After the first appointment, the dentist will likely recommend for you to brush your child’s teeth with polishing paste, but by the second appointment they will add fluoridated toothpaste instead.
To schedule an appointment for your child, give us a call at (678) 389-6669!
With the holiday season upon us and all our family traditions taking place, it is always fun to break things up by trying new activities. For our friends in Johns Creek, this list of holiday themed activities is sure to keep you entertained this holiday season!
11th Annual Christmas Gala Holiday Pops Concert! Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra
Listening to Christmas music during this time of year always helps to get people into the holiday spirit. Come enjoy music played by the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra and the Christmas Gala Chorus! This event will be held on Saturday, December 15th at the Johns Creek United Methodist Church. Children will also get the opportunity to meet Santa Clause from 6:45 PM-7:30 PM. Tickets for this public performance are $32 for adults; $27 for seniors; and $16 for students. Purchase them here!
Live Nativity Scene
On the same day as the Annual Christmas Gala Holiday Pops Concert, there will be a live nativity scene that will be held four times. The showing times are 6:00 PM, 6:30 PM, 7:00 PM, 7:30 PM. This event will also be held at the Johns Creek United Methodist Church, so you can head over early to watch the nativity scene before seeing the Symphony Orchestra!
Cookies and Crafts
Are you a parent looking for a little bit of free time for some errands or holiday shopping? This cookies and crafts event is perfect for your child while you get some downtime! Your child will get the opportunity to make some fun Christmas crafts, bake delicious cookies, and learn all about the holiday season! This event will be held on December 16th at the Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center from 2:00 PM-4:00 PM.
For all the people that enjoy musical performances, “In December” is the perfect show to watch! This Christmas performance is by The Cumming Playhouse Singers under the direction or Mr. Kirk Grizzle alongside the pianist Ms. Susan Ray. This performance will take place on December 20th at 8:00 PM at the Cumming Playhouse (101 School Street, Cumming, GA). Buy your tickets here!
Christmas Eve Service
For the families that are looking for a church service to go to on Christmas Eve, the Johns Creek United Methodist Church has you covered! They offer a children centered service at 3:00 PM with a customized message that your little one can understand. They will also be offering a 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM service for the adults that will be filled with music from the orchestra and choir.
We hope you get the chance to attend one of these awesome holiday activities with your loved ones! Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry wishes you a happy holiday season!
Staying home in Roswell, GA for the holidays? Don’t worry, you won’t have to miss out on any holiday fun! There are plenty of seasonal activities nearby to do with your family, friends, and spouses to get in the spirit. Here are some highlights:
Chattahoochee Nature Center
Enchanted Woodland Trail: Featuring Fairy Houses and Gnome Homes
From December 9th-February 28th you can walk along an enchanted woodlands trail at the Chattahoochee Nature Center with hidden fairy and gnome houses! Take a lovely walk through the nature center and see how many tiny houses you can spot.This would be fun with a significant other, a few friends, or the whole family!
Roswell Fine Arts Alliance’s Gallery on Fouts Road
Art Show & Sale
Visit the Roswell Fine Arts Alliance’s Gallery on Fouts Road Fridays from 10:00 AM-1:00PM and Saturdays from 10:00AM-4:00PM to enjoy art pieces from locals including oils, pastels, acrylics, watercolors, collages and mixed media. There are even small pieces at reasonable prices. You might even be able to find some last minute gifts for holiday presents, or you can just enjoy the scenery!
Smith Plantation Historic House Museum
Roswell Garden Club “Oh Christmas Tree”
For the 10th year, the Roswell Garden Club will decorate the 1845 Smith Plantation historic house museum for Christmas on December 21st. Each of the nine rooms and hallways in the home will have a unique tree and other holiday decorations to admire. The cost of a tour is $8 adults, $7 seniors 65 and over, $6 children ages 6 to 18. Children under age 6 free. Tour times are Monday-Saturday starting at the top of the hour from 10:00AM-3:00PM and Sundays from 1:00PM till 3:00PM 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Roswell Christmas Railway
The Roswell Christmas Railway is an annual sensation! Featuring a laser light tunnel, candyland, the Roswell Rocket, the Nativity Scene, and Zoo Lights,this train ride will take you to see just about anything in the North Pole you could hope for. There is also a Polar zone with dancing polar bears, christmas fairies, and a build your own polar bear pal activity. There’s so much to do, like drinking hot chocolate elixirs, visiting the Santa’s square or Santa’s toy train workshop, watching a film at the theatre, and exploring the little Christmas village. If you get all holiday-ed out, you can also see works of art from local artists! There are also 3 holiday themed places to get food and drinks: Mrs. Klaus’s Kitchen, The Holiday Bowl (with a live entertainment tent!) and the chocolate bar. This event goes through December 30th and allows children under 2 in for free! Kids under 18 are only $8 and adults are $12.
Also, a good old fashioned day at the movies or some holiday baking at home can’t be overlooked! From those of us at Poka Dot Pediatric Dentistry, we wish you a happy holiday, and we hope you enjoy all of the festive activities and delicious meals! Just be sure to brush and floss those teeth when you indulge in sugary treats, and we’ll see you next year!
Happy holidays! This time of year is filled of all different kinds of special treats, including lots of sugary snacks that can wreak a lot of havoc on your child’s teeth. However, there is no reason to stop the celebration! There are plenty of ways to enjoy the winter holidays aside from consuming sweets. Here are some tooth-friendly ideas!
Deck the Halls
Nothing says happy holidays like festive decorations! Invite your child to help you decorate your home this holiday season. This is the perfect opportunity to get into the holiday spirit without damaging their teeth. Your child can help you hang ornaments on your Christmas tree, help put up lights (with a LOT of supervision), and help you decide how to arrange all your other decorations this season. They are sure to have plenty of opinions and ideas. Have fun!
Find a Holiday Event
There are plenty of ways to spread and receive holiday joy outside of your home this season! There are a lot of great events in the community for you and your family to attend. Whether you’re looking to meet Santa, bake cookies, attend a Christmas concert, make challah bread, or take a holiday cooking class, Alpharetta will definitely have something fun to try! Check out our community event calendar for more information about these great opportunities to celebrate.
A wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit is to give back to the community! You can donate toys to a local toy drive so that families in crisis will have the opportunity to give their children Christmas presents, or put together Christmas packages for homeless shelters or deployed soldiers! Instilling the spirit of giving in your child early will help them develop the habit, and will make for an even more rewarding holiday season of celebration.
A lot of kids look forward to giving and receiving presents during the holiday season. Get them even more involved this year by letting them help! Ask your child if they would like to help you choose presents for the other members of your family, or have a wrapping party! This will help them feel more invested in the gift exchange process, and build their excitement about what is in their own presents under the tree.
Fill Their Plates!
Of course, an important part of any holiday celebration is food! We know it is important to share your favorite family traditions with your child, including classic family recipes! Invite your child to the kitchen to help you prepare their favorite dish this year! While desserts and sweet treats don’t need to be completely removed from the table, balance them out with plenty of tooth-healthy foods like fruits, veggies, and proteins. If you’re feeling creative, consider trying healthy twists on your favorite holiday desserts!
From a very early age, it is crucial to help your child take care of their teeth. Prevention and maintenance are the keys to a life of great oral health. Of course, your child will need help cleaning their teeth when they are young. As your child ages, the right way to take care of their oral health will also change. Use this guide to determine the best way to help your child take care of their smile based on their age!
Under 18 Months
Once your child’s baby teeth start to come in, it is time to start an oral care routine. You can start cleaning your baby’s teeth very early by gently wiping them with a very soft cloth, or brushing them with a small soft toothbrush and water. Babies should not consume any toothpaste or other oral cleansing products, but getting them comfortable with having their teeth brushed and making sure no food particle are left in their teeth will help prepare them for success.
Two Years Old
Once your child is eighteen months old, it is safe to start using a pea sized amount of low-fluoride toothpaste to brush their teeth. Many brands offer all natural, child-safe toothpastes with a variety of kid-friendly flavors available in store and online. Encourage your child to spit out their toothpaste after brushing, in order to minimize the amount of product swallowed. Be cautious when it comes to rinsing, as children will often simply swallow the water, and consequently the toothpaste with it.
It can be challenging to brush someone else’s teeth, as the angles are different and there are a lot of difficult-to-reach surfaces that need to be brushed. In order to help your child get a comfortable, thorough brushing, we recommend sitting them on your lap facing away from you. Sitting in front of a mirror is also preferable, for the best visibility.
Seven Years Old
As your child grows up, they will require less and less assistance with their oral care routine. However, most kids need an adult to help them with oral hygiene to at least some degree until they are about seven or eight years old. This can include supervision, assistance with flossing the hard-to-reach places, or other forms of encouragement and accountability. Every child’s needs are different and change at different paces. If you have any questions about your role in helping your child maintain a healthy smile, ask your pediatric dentist about it at their next cleaning!
Establishing an oral hygiene routine early on will help your child develop lifelong healthy habits that will serve them well. It is never too early to start taking care of their smile! If your child is due for a dental checkup, or if you are ready to schedule their first appointment with a pediatric dentist, call our office today!
It’s almost time to celebrate Thanksgiving! This year we are very thankful for all of our wonderful patients here in Alpharetta, Georgia. We hope you get the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving with your families this year. A traditional Thanksgiving feast requires a LOT of preparation, between carving the turkey, mashing the potatoes, and cooking all of the other delicious foods your family loves to eat. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the to-do list, consider ordering a pie for dessert from one of these local Alpharetta businesses!
Southern Baked Pie Company
One of our favorite local pie places is Southern Baked Pie Company. They have all of the classic holiday flavors, as well as some delicious unique options like coffee butter crunch! Southern Baked Pie Company is very popular, so we suggest pre ordering your pie, especially for the busy holidays. You can pick up your pie at their store location in Alpharetta or have it shipped to your house! They offer whole pies (10 inches), petite pies (5 inches), and tassies (bite sized pies). They even have gluten free options!
Another local favorite is Pie Hole, located in Historic Roswell. Pie hole sells pie slices, half pies, and whole pies! They offer a great variety of flavors, including rotating seasonal options and some savory choices. Visit their Facebook page to stay updated about their menu offerings, and check out their store if you want to order a pie to complete your Thanksgiving meal!
Alpine Bakery and Trattoria
If you’re looking for something a little more gourmet, try Alpine Bakery and Trattoria. They offer an assortment of cakes, cupcakes, pies, cheesecakes, and other delicious pastries to choose from. Their presentation can’t be beat! Any of their pies will look beautiful on your Thanksgiving table.
Sally’s Gluten Free Bakery
We have great news for our patients with a gluten allergy or intolerance. Sally’s Gluten Free Bakery is an entire bakery dedicated to gluten free treats! You can still enjoy classics like pumpkin pie, pecan pie, bread loaves, and cake, all without gluten! It can be difficult to make gluten free desserts at home, so treat yourself or your loved ones to some delicious baked goods made fresh at Sally’s!
We hope that you get to enjoy some delicious pie with your family this Thanksgiving, wherever you get it from. Just promise us you’ll brush your teeth after eating dessert! Happy holidays from your staff here at Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry!
Thanks so much for sending us more Halloween events in Johns Creek and Alpharetta! We included a few local Halloween happenings in our last blog post. Here are some more spooky, family-friendly Halloween events happening this month!
Every year for Halloween, Autrey Mill turns into Spooky Mill! This year, Spooky Mill is October 26th and 27th from 6pm-9pm. The evening event will include scary stations including a bounce house, craft stations, haunted house, haunted trail, a mad scientist, and more! Guests can enjoy Spooky Mill carnival style, meaning you can purchase tickets and redeem them for spooky fun at each station (if you wanted to participate in all of the stations once you’ll 12 tickets at $1 a piece. What a deal!).
For younger audiences, Jr. Spooky is October 28th from 1pm-4pm. This event is meant for younger children, but still contains many of the same activities from the regular Spooky Mill. Kids can participate in a bounce house, Halloween craft, scavenger hunt, and more! Entrance to the event is $5 per child participant. Children under 2 are free when accompanied by an older sibling.
We love this hybrid of holiday traditions! On October 28th from 10am-11am at Publix Aprons Cooking School in Alpharetta, families are invited to come make a delicious, edible haunted house! This class will guide your family (up to 4 students per house) through the process of making a yummy and creepy haunted gingerbread house that you’ll get to take home and enjoy! At least one adult is required for each house group, and participating children should be at least 4 years old.
On October 27th from 11am-12pm at the Ocee Branch Library in Alpharetta, kids ages 5 and up are invited to come create a Halloween-themed craft with Johns Creek Art! Be sure to register ahead of time to reserve your spot! Register at the Patron Services desk or call 770-360-8897.
Hallowe’en at the Library!
On October 31st, there will be a Halloween celebration fit for the whole family at the Alpharetta Branch Library! From regularly scheduled story time to trick-or-treating, there will be lots of fun to be had all day. Admission is free!
We hope you enjoy your October. Just promise us you’ll brush your teeth after treating yourself to sweets! Happy Halloween!