Get Your Child to Brush!

Getting creative and interacting with your child will help take the struggle out of brushing and flossing your child’s teeth, and maybe even turn it into a routine your child looks forward to!

  1. Make it a family activity. Brush and floss in front of your child enough times, and he or she is going to want to join in! Dance, turn it into a game, or do whatever it takes to convince your child that this is a fun daily routine that they’re missing out on. One parent can brush the other parent’s teeth. Or, better yet, let your child brush your teeth for you!  Kids want to feel in control, not like someone is coming at their mouth with a pointy object.
  1. Get out of the bathroom. Pack travel toothbrushes and flossing sticks so you can brush on the beach after a family picnic. Brush in the car. I always carry interdental piks and floss in my car and purse.
  1. Make Toothpaste Optional. Toothpaste far too often limits when and where we brush. Toothpaste can make kids gag or need to spit, as well as add unnecessary mess, making it a chore. I’ve found that toothpaste just reminds parents that they’ll have to go into the bathroom with a bottle of Windex to wipe down the sink afterward. So skip the toothpaste — it’s not necessary!
  1. Get in front of the mirror. Most parents sit their child down on the toilet and stick a toothbrush in their mouth. Kids invariably hate this. Have your child looking at a mirror instead, while you stand behind to brush. This makes kids feel more in control and more at ease.
  1. Avoid gauze. Lots of baby books recommend using gauze to wipe your baby’s teeth. I’ve found that gauze isn’t effective and wastes precious time to teach your child the proper way to brush. No child is going to get excited to brush their teeth when their first experience is the cottony taste of gauze — yuck!
  1. Make it a priority. We’re all squeezing oral hygiene into our busy schedules, and our children interpret this to mean that it’s not important. Parents rush through it, and so kids try to get it done as quickly as possible too. Rushing it leads to over brushing, which is a common cause of tooth sensitivity, since over brushing causes small lesions in the teeth. Now is the time to send the message to your kids that their oral health is a priority. Take it slow and make time for it!
  1. Don’t threaten. The best thing you can do is keep it positive. Children are often told that if they don’t brush, they’ll have to see the dentist as a punishment. I can say from experience that shame simply doesn’t work when it comes to making brushing and flossing a habit. Instead, play your child’s favorite song while brushing.
  1. Go analog. Buy a cheap hourglass with sand in it that your child can turn over to see how long they need to brush. Digital timers aren’t as tangible for children, who crave something more physical.

Excerpt from Dr. Mark Burhenne, DDS

Genesis of Little Dental Hygienists

Every day in the dental clinic, I see a multitude of patients that do not brush their teeth daily. Many brush once a week. Some, not at all. It all starts when children are young; good habits are easily instilled at a young age.

Studies are now showing the correlation between poor oral health and heart disease, dementia and other chronic diseases. See Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and periodontal disease to learn more.

Education on oral health is far and few between unless you’re are a dental professional, and/or have the money and awareness to seek professional dental exams on a regular basis. What does a regular basis look like? Twice a year. Every 6 months for a prohylaxis (commonly called a “cleaning”) is average for adults and once a year for children under 12 unless their are challenges, such as orthodontia (braces). Point remains, unless something hurts why go to the tooth doctor? It is here where things get fragmented.

In an effort to shine some light on this sorely over-looked subject, I have collaborated with the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and the National Institutes of Health to create an online children’s dental subscription program designed to motivate and educate children,ages thru 3-10, on how to enhance their oral health using games, stories and experiments.

It is my hope that through this program, children will learn and establish good healthy habits that will last them a lifetime.

Each month a child receives a  Dental Tool Kit filled with all the necessary items that make brushing a success: A toothbrush, floss, stickers, a carrying case, specialized toys, information for you, coupons and more.

When children are enrolled in the 3 Month Bonus program, they receive monthly kits with supplies to make brushing fun.They also receive exclusive membership into the Little Dental Hygienists Kid’s Club. Meet Bo and Abby, the Little Dental Hygienists and meet their extraterrestrial friend, Exee, as he learns all about the mouth, what it does and how to best care for it.

Children learn through science and discovery how to enhance their oral health and consequently, their overall health. Children learn beyond brushing and flossing and learn of the science behind enhancing oral health.

The 3 Month Bonus program was designed to help children establish good, healthy habits. Some studies suggest that it takes 66 days to establish a good habit and with this in mind, children receive 90 days of fun, education and bonus…habits to last a lifetime! Saving you and your child, time and money. A healthy mouth is a happy mouth and a happy mouth is a good mouth. Good teeth, good health, and good fun!

The Little Dental Hygienists and You!

The Little Dental Hygienists dental program works in collaboration with the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Two illustrious organizations comprised of scientists and physicians who have conducted research and have won Nobel Prizes for their achievements.

What does that mean to you? The Little Dental Hygienists isn’t only about subscription boxes, it’s an entire educational program with a mission to change the way children view oral health.

When you sign your child up with the Little Dental Hygienists, your child will  receive all the necessary tools to make toothbrushing a success, and receive specialized toys and games children love! Additionally and more importantly, they will have instant access to exercises, experiments and stories created by the  NIDCR and the NIH that will help children learn the science behind enhancing oral health. Our program goes beyond learning about brushing and flossing and focuses on the science behind it.

Fun, educational and interactive, the Little Dental Hygienists is a unique program created by a dental hygienist in collaboration with some of the most influential, intelligent minds in health, whose mission it is to change the way children view brushing.

Good teeth, good health and good fun! That’s the Little Dental Hygienists.

Toothbrushing Fun!

The cool TOOTHSAVERS GAME  developed by the American Dental Association is a great motivating device for children to help reduce their risk of oral disease.  The interactive game makes toothbrushing fun by encouraging kids to save the friendly fairy tale characters from the evil, cavity creating sorceress who cast a wicked tooth rotting spell on the kingdom.  The goal of the game is to motivate the children to save their own teeth by brushing two minutes a day,  The toothsavers game app can be downloaded for free at the App Store or on Google Play.  Watch the trailer below for an introductory look playing the game will be great fun for you and your children.


Dental Cleanings for a Bright Smile

Routine dental cleanings are important to maintaining good oral hygiene. Professional cleaning by a hygienist can remove mineralized plaque that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing, particularly in areas that are difficult to reach. It is recommended you go in for a cleaning once every six months. Teeth look and feel clean and pearly white!

Let’s Go to the Dentist!

A child’s first dental visit should be completed by the age of 18 months, and continuing care visits should be scheduled every six months thereafter. By starting dental visits at an early age and helping your child establish good oral health habits, you can put your child on the path to a lifetime of strong and healthy teeth and gums. Be positive when you are talking to your child about the dentist and dental hygienist and help your child understand that the dentist and hygienist are friendly and want to help your child take care of his/her teeth.

How To Get White Teeth

Many of my patients ask me how they can whiten their teeth. There are a plethora of whitening products on the market, so many that my patients become confused and purchase the wrong products for their teeth. Whitening products are not a one size fits all.

Do you have sensitivity? Have you seen your hygienist or dentist within the last  year to have your teeth cleaned? Do you have bridge and crown work on your front teeth? All of these questions, and more need to be answered before going to the store to purchase dental whitening products.

There are so many ways to care for your teeth. Caring for your teeth goes beyond brushing and flossing; diet and lifestyle also play a major role in how your teeth look.

Do you smoke? Drink dark beverages? These can create surface stains that can removed by a hygienist. However, lifestyles can darken the teeth from within and no matter what you do to the surface of the tooth, it still remains dark. This is due to a poor diet, medications and possibly disease.

Additionally, and very interestingly, teeth can appear naturally whiter today than they did yesterday, without whitening. How is that, you ask? Our circulation in our bodies can change the color of your teeth. Intrinsic factors play a major role as well as extrinsic factors.

Treat your insides good and it will show in your teeth. Your teeth are like the windows to your health. They tell a lot about your level of health. If your teeth are brown, brittle, break easily, there is no doubt an underlying reason. Skip the whitening toothpaste and rinses and see your dental hygienist. While you are making dental appointments, make one to see your medical doctor too; it certainly can’t hurt.

Healthy on the inside, is healthy on the outside. Visit your hygienist and get a good “cleaning” and tell her/him your concerns. The best place for dental advice is in your dental hygienists chair.

Stay well and keep on brushing. Your health depends on it.