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It's time to get ready for the holidays. Getting everyone out of the house and off to enjoy some fun. You may be planning a trip or driving to Grandma's house for the holidays. No matter what you are planning you will need to think about everyday things like getting the kids to take care of their teeth.

When you're on vacation, you may only be thinking about catching up with family or your Aunt Mae's famous pie. But, it is important to keep up good oral hygiene even on vacation. Let's look at a few ways you can make brushing and flossing enjoyable on your coming holiday.

Let Your Kid Pick Out a Special Toothbrush

You may be buying new clothes or shoes for the Holidays. While you're in the store, stop by and let your kid pick out a brand-new toothbrush. It doesn't matter if they pick a superhero, favorite character, or favorite color. The new toothbrush will give them something else to look forward to. It can help reinforce good habits of brushing twice a day.

Use Breaks to Encourage Brushing

If you are spending a lot of time on the road eating out or enjoying special meals with family, you may have to encourage your kids to brush multiple times a day. It's especially important if they are enjoying a few too many treats along the way.

Along with the special vacation toothbrush, make sure each child has a separate travel toothbrush. Keep it on hand at all times. When taking a bathroom break or after eating a meal, encourage them to brush and rinse.

Make Healthy Decisions When Eating

It's so easy to let the kids each just about anything during the holidays because you want them to enjoy their time. However, make sure they don't go overboard. Have treats in moderation and brush immediately after.

When eating regular meals, try to get the kids to drink water instead of soda or juice. Encourage them to choose healthy meals. This will help them retain their dental health.

Practice a Before Bed Dental Routine

You and your kids need to clean your teeth thoroughly before going to bed. Brush the teeth, floss, and rinse. Then do it again. This helps remove any remaining food debris and ensures the kids get the often missed spots. It's so easy to just drop into bed after an exciting day, but a few minutes doing a thorough cleaning is essential for dental health.

When you return from the holidays, you will want to get your kids to the dentist for a thorough exam and cleaning. Make a note to set the appointment the day after you get back. We want you to have a happy, healthy smile.

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Many Houston Pediatric dentists are likely to agree that there are new innovations that have forever changed pediatric dental care. These can each, in their own way, make a trip to the dentist a bit less stressful for children and adults alike.

1. Dental Sealants

These are a thin plastic coating that gets applied to the teeth on the grooves of the chewing surface. Dental sealants are used to better protect the patient's teeth from tooth decay. They are expected to last between 5 to 10 years. It provides a great amount of dental protection to children now and as they get older.

2. Toothpaste Flavors And Themes For Kids

When a child is having fun brushing, the whole experience has gone from being a chore to being a fun daily activity. Looking at the Crest brand alone, they feature toothpaste themes that include Sesame Street, Disney Princess, and the Marvel Avengers. The toothpastes now also come in a variety of flavors that are child-friendly instead of the traditional harsher tasting minty flavors.

3. Toothbrushes Made For Children

Children's tooth brushing can become a family activity. Parents can help their youngsters learn the correct way to brush. A toothbrush that is designed especially for a child is easier for small hands to handle. They also come in colorful shapes to help make brushing more fun for a child.

4. Education And Preventative Dental Care

Every effort is being made by today's dentists to help educate children and their parents about proper oral health. It is important that children learn how to take good care of their gums and teeth in between regular dental check-ups. The next visit to the dentist can be more pleasant for the pediatric patient and the entire family, too.

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Halloween is not far away. By now, your child is probably thinking about candies, costumes, pumpkin carving, and school parties.

Each year Americans spend nearly $9 billion on candy. In October, much of that candy ends up on the teeth of the 41 million trick-or-treating children ages 5 – 14 across the U.S. However, the (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) AAPD wants parents to know that when it comes to keeping children’s teeth healthy, not all treats are created equal.

"The longer teeth are exposed to sugars, the longer cavity-causing bacteria have to feed on them. Instead of gummy, sticky candy, offer children candy that melts and disappears quickly – like chocolate," suggests AAPD President Dr. Robert Delarosa. "And always make sure children brush and floss their teeth before going to bed."

Cavities are scarier than a Halloween monster. Our staff at Bunker Hill Pediatric Dentistry in Houston, TX has some tips to protect your child's smile from cavities on Halloween and the following holiday.

1. Eat Before Trick-or-Treating

You should serve your kids a full and healthy meal before trick-or-treating. Making dinner can be a challenge due to your child's school schedule and Halloween costume preparation, but it is manageable if you plan ahead.

2. Moderate Candy Consumption

Filling your candy dishes with Halloween candy can be irresistible, but try to avoid that temptation this year. Encourage your child to save a portion of their candy treats for another occasion.

3. Pay Attention to Time of Day

Eating candy at midday without brushing makes sugar remain on the tooth surface longer and triggers tooth decay. As a general rule of thumb, let your child enjoy his/her sweet treats prior to brushing.

4. Pick Chocolate

Chocolate is a better alternative than hard candies because sticky candies get stuck on teeth surfaces for extended amounts of time, making them harder to wash away.

Happy Halloween from all of us at Bunker Hill Pediatric Dentistry!

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The importance of mouthguards for kids that play sports

It is almost back to school time in Houston and many kids are involved in contact sports, and most of the time, a considerable percentage of these students do not have any mouthguards. While they enjoy being engaged in training and exhibiting their skills, kids forget the dangers of contact sports. The area of the mouth is the most susceptible to damage if a piece of equipment or a body part would make forced contact. Parents have been working closely with pediatric dentists and orthodontics to find out which type of mouthguard is suitable for their children and the sports that they prefer. Dentists and orthodontics are also suggesting that students should always wear their mouthguards even if they are on a practice session.

When participating in a sports activity, especially those which require contact, the mouth is one of the body parts most prone to damage. Injuries could happen quickly, and one should keep in mind that they have to become alert when performing a sport. Several precautions must also be considered before starting the practice or joining a game. According to statistics, students who are participating in contact sports are 10% more likely to suffer from mouth or teeth injuries. Pediatric dentists have also stated that sports caused a third of the dental injuries that they have seen. This statistics can be prevented if the student wears a mouthguard. The teeth are more prone to danger because of its brittleness, but if the students would wear a mouthguard, there would be a sufficient protection for their teeth. Those who do not wear any mouthguards are 70 times more prone to sustaining a dental injury when participating in contact sports.

Mouthguards act as an absorber for the shock and trauma that will be experienced when playing a sport. Whenever an impact happens to the teeth, lips, jaws, or the face, the force will be distributed evenly, with the mouthguard receiving most of the energy. It will help the student prevent having chipped or broken teeth, and fractures in the jaw area can be avoided. Because of the benefits and advantages that mouthguards provide, more students are becoming interested in getting their own set of these protective mouthpieces.

Another advantage provided by the mouthguard would be the protection of teeth that are bounded by braces. If someone wearing braces have been in a facial or dental injury, the damage will be more significant. The braces would rake into the soft tissues inside their mouth, resulting to excessive bleeding that would require medical assistance. The mouthguard would act as a protective barrier between the mouth’s soft tissues like the lips and the hard metals of the braces. Dentists and orthodontics are creating special mouthguards for students who are into contact sports but have braces on their teeth. They wanted the students to continue loving their passion and be protected at the same time.

Public and private schools across Houston should encourage their students to buy mouthguards, especially those who are into sports. They should also let them know the importance of this equipment, and why they should prioritize buying it just like how they prioritize buying their sports equipment. Parents should also influence their children to use the mouthguards for their protection. According to Houston pediatric dentists and orthodontists, if everyone who is into contact sports would start wearing mouthguards, the rate of facial and dental injuries would begin to go down, and more children could enjoy their game without the fear of sustaining a lot of injuries. Mouthguards would provide more benefits and advantage to those who wear it, and it would preserve their smiles while doing the sport that they love.

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School breaks and holidays are always a blast for kids, but for parents, it can be the epitome of pandemonium. Balancing work and other responsibilities with taking care of the kiddos can be quite the task, but it doesn't have to be overly difficult. These 10 tips will help you simultaneously retain your sanity and keep your children entertained all while enjoying the holiday break.

1. Plan out activities. Planning your days will minimize the static, as well as the time spent sitting around and doing nothing. The kids will enjoy the activities, and you'll appreciate the feeling of organization.

2. Don't wear your kids out with back-to-back activities. While organization matters, it's a good idea to remember your children will need downtime every once in a while. Sometimes, it just makes sense to let them have a bit of screen or nap time.

3. Buy school supplies for next year early. You probably already know this, but school shopping can be extremely stressful if done in the few weeks prior to the start of school. Cut the lines, the headaches, and the retail markup but doing your shopping early in the year.

4. Keep tabs on the activities you have planned. Too many trips to theme parks, shopping centers, and vacation areas, can leave you in a financial bind. Never forget that even a simple trip to the park can be the perfect day in your child's eyes.

5. Go easy on the club and camp memberships. Breaks and holidays are meant to also be spent with family, so be sure to get in as much bonding as possible during this opportune time.

6. Find ways for your kids to be involved in your day-to-day tasks. Even though your children are out of school, laundry will still have to be done and grocery store trips will still have to be made. Get your kiddos involved with helping you complete these daily tasks. These can be great learning opportunities for them.

7. Plan for a few lazy days at home. Not every day will be filled with surprises, trips, or nonstop fun. Prepare for those off days by renting movies, finding a neat craft to do, or hosting a sleepover.

8. Stock the essentials. Before your break or summer holiday kicks off, stock up on bug spray, sunscreen cream, OTC medicine, and band aids.

9. Try to get your kids into important doctor's appointments during this time. You know as well as any other parent that landing an appointment outside of school hours is nearly impossible. This is why it's a good idea to get significant appointments and obligations out of the way during school holidays.

10. Be more lax than usual about bedtime and waking hours. It is a school holiday after all; one of the best parts about it is staying up late and sleeping in! However, be sure to start transitioning your kids back to normal schedules roughly a week or two before school starts.
Most of all, it's important to make sure everyone has fun and stays safe!

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