Pediatric Dentist in Washington DC | Should I Be Concerned About a Thumb Sucking Habit?

Thumb sucking is one of the most recognizable behaviors found in children. Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may use thumbs, fingers, pacifiers, and other objects on which to suck. It may make them feel secure and happy, or provide a sense of security at difficult periods. Since thumb sucking is relaxing, it may even encourage sleep. Studies have proposed that as many as 90% of children have engaged in this type of activity in their lives. We have even seen that thumb sucking can begin in the mother’s womb during pregnancy. It’s natural, safe, and can be quite helpful to parents, as their baby learns to soothe themselves from time to time.

Whether this oral fixation is satisfied with a thumb or the commonly used pacifier, most children discontinue this practice before long. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states that most children stop thumb sucking on their own between the ages of 2 and 4. 

Once your baby’s first set of teeth are in and thumb sucking persists, there is a chance that this habit could push the teeth slightly forward. Fortunately, this will in no way affect the placement of the adult teeth or add to the cost of your child’s future dental bills. Thumb sucking, even in toddlers, is considered normal. It does not mean there is anything wrong with your child and that they should feel embarrassed or ashamed. Even the most persistent thumb sucker ordinarily stops on their own by the time toddlerhood has ended.

Thumb sucking infrequently continues past the age of four. This is usually found to be the result of too much attention or negative reinforcement given to the habit in previous years. Beyond this age, thumb sucking can begin to impact the alignment of the adult teeth, so it is best your child shed the habit sooner rather than later.

How do you help them with this? Don’t reprimand them because of it, don’t remove the thumb from their mouth and don’t mention it. This is where their growing awareness and social cues come in handy. As your child begins to notice that the kids around them aren’t sucking their thumbs anymore, they won’t want to either. They will also start to discover other skills or items to give them comfort and security. Peer pressure becomes a much greater deterrent than a parent’s disapproval. 

What Can I Do to Support my Child Through Thumb Sucking?

  • Insecurity often causes anxiety in children and this may lead to thumb sucking. Instead of reprimanding them, try to focus on what is making them feel anxious.
  • Parents who provide comfort and positive reinforcement to their children will see a less likelihood of thumb sucking.
  • Take note of the times your child tends to suck on their thumb and create diversions during these occasions.
  • Ask your child’s dentist to speak with them about the impact thumb sucking will have on their mouths. 
  • Place a band-aid or a sock on your child’s thumb as a reminder to avoid putting their thumb or fingers in their mouth.

Thumb sucking can be a troublesome habit for parents, mostly when it feels like your child is the only one still engaging in the behavior. Permitting your child to find other ways of comforting themselves is more helpful to them in the end. If you have any other questions on how to improve your child’s oral health, please give our pediatric dental office a call. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, visit our website or give us a call today.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
Url: https://capitolhillpediatric.dentist/
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

Children’s Dentist Near Me | Why Baby Teeth Are Just As Important As Permanent Teeth

Your child’s primary teeth (commonly called “baby teeth”) are pretty interesting, and we’re not just saying that because we’re pediatric dentists. In most mouths, there are 20 primary teeth in total. They are already present in your child’s jaw at the time of birth and they will usually begin to appear between the ages of 6-12 months. 

Usually referred to as teething, this process can be an important and exciting stage in you and your child’s life. We probably all have at least one story of a lost baby tooth. However, despite their cultural significance, many fail to see the health-related importance of these teeth. One question we get quite frequently is, “If my child’s baby teeth are just going to fall out anyway, is it even worth taking care of them?”

While it may seem like caring for your child’s baby teeth isn’t all that important, nothing could be further from the truth. Called “Nature’s Braces” by some dentists, baby teeth are incredibly important to a child’s overall health and development. 

When baby teeth are lost too early, due to decay or some other factor, the gaps left behind can cause major issues in the development of your child’s permanent teeth. As permanent teeth start to come in, they can drift into the empty space left behind by a missing primary tooth, making it difficult for other teeth to come in straight. The end result is often a crooked and misaligned smile that requires expensive orthodontic care in the future. 

Additionally, baby teeth are necessary to help your child in everything from chewing and speaking to smiling with confidence.

Primary teeth are important to more than just the tooth fairy and are critical to your child’s development. To make sure they stay healthy and do their job, help your child brush their teeth at least twice a day and participate in all the other aspects of a great oral hygiene routine. 

As a part of that routine, make sure that you continue to schedule regular dental appointments for your child at our pediatric dental office. We are specialists in providing excellent, kid-focused dental care in a warm and welcoming environment. Contact our pediatric dental team to set up your next appointment today.  

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
Url: https://capitolhillpediatric.dentist/
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

Washington DC Kids Dentist | Choosing the Right Toothpaste for Your Child

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States. For reference, about 20% of kids aged 5-11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. Additionally, a study conducted by the University of Southern California found that roughly ⅓ of elementary school absences were caused by dental problems. 

The best way to help your child avoid becoming a part of these statistics is to make sure they have a great oral hygiene routine that saves their teeth from decay. Part of that routine involves choosing the right toothpaste for the job.

Enjoyable Flavors

Perhaps the one of the easier decisions to make when it comes to your child’s toothpaste is flavor and fun colors. Brushing twice a day, every day is not going to be as easy for your child to accomplish if they do not like the flavor of their toothpaste. Let them decide which flavors they like and choose their own toothpaste when possible. Sometimes, mint and similar flavors will be too “spicy” or intense for your child’s mouth. 

Consider berry or bubblegum flavored alternatives that kids can enjoy. Sometimes these flavors come in entertaining colors and packages that can also help get your child excited about their dental health. 

Avoid Abrasives

Some toothpastes include mild abrasives that can help remove surface stains and debris from teeth. Unfortunately, these abrasives can also damage your child’s sensitive tooth enamel. 

To avoid this problem, stay away from whitening toothpastes. You should also consult with our pediatric dental office about which abrasives to avoid and which toothpastes we recommend as safe. 

Look for the ADA Seal of Approval

The American Dental Association is one of the leading professional dental associations in the country. Their strict testing procedures on many brands and types of toothpastes ensure that the product is high quality, safe for use and is effective. This important Seal of Approval is easily seen on many boxes and can help you narrow down your options quickly. 

If you help your child keep up with their daily routine, you are helping protect them from potential tooth decay in the future. However, if your child is complaining of sensitive or painful teeth, it may be time to visit our office for an evaluation. Our pediatric dental team will examine your child’s mouth for signs of tooth decay or other oral health issues and create a treatment plan that can restore their smile to it’s full health. 

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
Url: https://capitolhillpediatric.dentist/
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

Pediatric Dentist Near Me | Ease Your Child’s Dental Anxiety

Your dentist can provide the best services in town and have all the latest technology, but none of it will mean anything if your child is filled with fear every time they hear the word dentist. It’s important to us that all our patients, no matter their age, feel comfortable and confident while visiting us. However, when it comes to you children, we can’t do it alone. Your children are very perceptive of how you are feeling and will look to you for cues on how to feel about us. Here are some of our recommendations for you to help us make your child feel safe while at the dentist. 

Easy Peesy 

The best advice we can offer parents is to not make a big deal out of your child’s dental appointments. If your child sees or hears any anxiety in you they will feel the same way about things. Try treating the dentist as something as normal as going to the grocery store. Often, children are much more receptive and resilient than we sometimes realize. One way to ensure that the dentist becomes normalized is to start your child off early. Schedule an appointment for your child as soon as they get their first tooth. If the child has consistently good experiences early on, the future anxiety simply won’t be there. 

Meet and Greet

Consider scheduling a short 5 minute appointment for your dentist and your child to establish a relationship. If your child can see the dentist as a friend first, they will be more likely to trust them to work on their mouth. Help foster this trust by discussing the dentist one on one with your child as a fun yet calm environment. The worst thing you can do is to use the dentist as a punishment. For instance, threatening your children with “If you don’t brush your teeth you’ll have to go to the dentist” make them associate the dentist with fear, punishment and pain. 

Better Seen Than Heard

When you accompany your child to the dentist, your involvement may change depending upon the level of anxiety you both are feeling.Our experienced team as found that a great option is to assure your child that you’ll be close by the entire time. Depending on the situation, you may consider not being in the room as your child’s teeth are being cleaned. If you have any fear or anxiety about the situation, your child will pick up on it and it would be better for you not to be there. Additionally, your presence can distract both the doctor and your child. For some children however, your presence may be extremely helpful. Ultimately, you know your child’s needs best.

It is well known by all dentists that the outcome of treatments in directly dependent upon the compliance of the patient. Help make sure your child’s trips to the dentist are as beneficial and painless as possible. Make sure to call our office if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you.    

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
Url: https://capitolhillpediatric.dentist/
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

Washington DC Kids Dentist | 6 Tips for Preventing Tooth Decay in Children

Oral health is important at every stage in life. Just because your children are going to lose their primary (baby) teeth eventually doesn’t mean that we can ignore the importance of dental care. Tooth decay can be painful and uncomfortable to treat. To protect your child’s smile, it is vital to understand optimal preventive care.

  1. Explain the important of routine dental care to your children and turn brushing and flossing into something fun that they look forward to each day.
  1. Schedule routine appointments to our office for cleanings and dental exams. Your child should start seeing a dentist as soon as their first tooth emerges. Make sure to continue visiting us twice a year for optimal oral health. 
  1. Include crisp and fibrous foods into your child’s diet. Fruits and vegetables high in water content help keep your child’s mouth hydrated. Foods such as apples increase saliva which inhibit bacteria from sticking to their teeth.
  1. Avoid food and drinks that are high in sugar. Soda, juice and candy are all treats that most children love to eat. However, these can be detrimental to your child’s teeth and overall health. 
  1. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent tooth decay. Water flushes bacteria and acid away from teeth. Encourage your children to drink water especially after eating. 
  1. Ask us about dental sealants for your children. Sealants can add a layer of protection to your child’s teeth where bacteria build up to prevent damage. 

Tooth decay starts out as a small problem, but left untreated can lead to serious oral health issues. By adding a few minor habits into your daily routine, your child’s oral health can change for the better. Simple changes in diet and routine can keep cavities at bay. 

Call Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry today to schedule an appointment for your child.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
Url: https://capitolhillpediatric.dentist/
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

Pediatric Dentist Washington DC | 6 Tips for Preventing Tooth Decay in Children

Oral health is important at every stage in life. Just because your children are going to lose their primary (baby) teeth eventually doesn’t mean that we can ignore the importance of dental care. Tooth decay can be painful and uncomfortable to treat. To protect your child’s smile, it is vital to understand optimal preventive care.

  1. Explain the importance of routine dental care to your children and turn brushing and flossing into something fun that they look forward to each day.
  • Include crisp and fibrous foods into your child’s diet. Fruits and vegetables high in water content help keep your child’s mouth hydrated. Foods such as apples increase saliva which inhibit bacteria from sticking to their teeth.
  • Avoid food and drinks that are high in sugar. Soda, juice and candy are all treats that most children love to eat. However, these can be detrimental to your child’s teeth and overall health.
  • Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent tooth decay. Water flushes bacteria and acid away from teeth. Encourage your children to drink water especially after eating.

Tooth decay starts out as a small problem, but left untreated can lead to serious oral health issues. By adding a few minor habits into your daily routine, your child’s oral health can change for the better. Simple changes in diet and routine can keep cavities at bay.

Call us today to schedule an appointment for your child with our Washington DC pediatric dentist.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
Url: https://capitolhillpediatric.dentist/
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

Children’s Dentist in Washington DC | How Probiotics Improve Oral Health

Probiotics are typically advertised as being helpful for digestion. However, studies have shown that they can also improve oral health. Probiotics are beneficial for fighting infections that lead to oral disease.

Reducing Gingivitis

A study published in Contemporary Clinical Dentistry has found that probiotics can reduce gum bleeding in patients with moderate to severe gingivitis. In the trial, children were given either a placebo or two different combinations of probiotics. At the three-week mark, it was discovered that children who took probiotics had significant improvements in their gingival status.

Combating Periodontitis

Periodontitis is another oral disease that probiotics have been shown to fight. Periodontitis is caused by harmful bacteria that separate teeth from the gums creating pockets that can become infected. Probiotics can fight harmful bacteria and lessen the inflammation to help heal the mouth.

Fighting Cavities

Another finding from the trial of the Contemporary Clinical Dentistry showed that children who took probiotics also saw a significant decrease in plaque. The reduction of plaque leads to less decay. Probiotics fight the plaque and occupy the spaces on the teeth where bad bacteria thrive.

Minimizing Bad Breath

Another benefit of probiotics is the effect they have on bad breath. Bad breath is usually caused by volatile sulfur compound bacteria releasing odor-causing gases. Because probiotics are healthy bacteria, it is believed that they can eliminate the bad bacteria and maintain a healthy bacteria balance in your mouth.

The benefits of probiotics are not just limited to the digestive health. Researchers continue to conduct studies to discover new ways probiotics contribute to a healthy mouth and body.

Contact our Washington DC pediatric dentist for more information on oral health or to schedule a visit today.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
Url: https://capitolhillpediatric.dentist/
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

Pediatric Dentist in Washington DC | Is Your Child Using the Right Toothbrush?

Nothing fills your heart more than seeing your child smile. But what toothbrush is best for your 3-month-old? What about when they turn 3 years old? With so many different choices it can be overwhelming to decide which toothbrush is best for your child at different stages of their life. That’s why we put together a brief description with your child’s changing oral health needs and what type of toothbrush will suit them.

General Guideline

Regardless of your child’s age, the toothbrush that they use should easily fit into their mouth and be easy to grip. Toothbrushes with soft bristles won’t irritate their gums and long handles will help them to move the brush in their mouth.

Babies

Many parents choose to use a damp cloth, but you can begin to clean your child’s teeth with a toothbrush before their teeth come in. Using a toothbrush designed for babies allows you to clean their teeth while getting them used to brushing. These toothbrushes are very small, which allow you to comfortably brush baby’s gums. 

Toddlers

Around the age of two, your toddler will begin to take an interest in brushing their teeth. This is an important age to teach how to brush teeth and to get your child into the routine of brushing twice a day. Toddler toothbrushes are small with a longer handle, allowing easy gripping for the child. There are also powered toothbrushes that children can use at this age, which can make brushing a bit more fun. Make sure to brush your child’s teeth, ensuring all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned.

Ages Five to Eight

At this age, your child is becoming more independent when it comes to oral health but will still need supervision while brushing. Many of the toothbrushes have fun characters on them and have a slimmer handle than a toddler brush. Choosing a favorite cartoon character may help your children maintain their interest in brushing.

Eight and Up

No longer needing supervision while brushing, children eight and up have very similar toothbrushes to adults. The only difference in the toothbrush is that it is smaller in size with a longer handle. Although manual toothbrushes clean just as effectively, powered toothbrushes can help those who may have issues using a manual toothbrush properly.

Toothbrushes alone won’t guarantee your child’s oral health. Make sure to instill a regular brushing and flossing routine to keep your child’s smile healthy.

Contact us at Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry to schedule your child’s next exam and cleaning.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
Url: https://capitolhillpediatric.dentist/
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

20003 Pediatric Dentist | Oh No! My Child Chipped a Tooth!

The unfortunate truth is that accidents happen whether it be sports injury, a fall of their bike, or simply tripping. While most chipped teeth are not serious, if the damage is beyond the tooth’s enamel layer, there is a risk of infection and tooth loss. Some children seem to be accident-prone, so it’s important to know what to do just in case:

Before your dental appointment:

  • Rinse the mouth well with warm water.
  • If there is bleeding, apply pressure with a piece of gauze until the bleeding stops.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain medication, if needed.
  • The tooth may have sharp areas that can damage the tongue or cheeks, so use a piece of sugarless gum or dental wax on the affected area to protect soft tissues.
  • If your child must eat, they should consume only liquids or soft foods.
  • And, most importantly: reassure your child that everything is going to be okay!

Possible treatment options may include:

  • Smoothing: Not every chip requires extensive work. We may just polish or smooth out rough edges.
  • Fillings: Typically used for more severe chips or on molars. This will help keep the chip from getting worse, and also help the tooth feel better in the mouth.
  • Crown: A ‘cap’ for the tooth to help prevent further damage, and restore the tooth to normal function, especially if it is in the front of the mouth.
  • Root canal: Usually reserved for more serious or vertical breaks in the tooth, especially if it’s one of your child’s adult teeth. A root canal therapy is performed when the pulp of a tooth that is either damaged or infected, and is usually accompanied by a crown.
  • ● Tooth removal: In severe cases the tooth may need to be removed. We use this as a last resort when the tooth structure has been severely compromised, such as when cavities have weakened the tooth from the inside out, resulting in the crack.

Chipped and cracked teeth are scary for anyone, especially a child. We encourage patients to wear a mouthguard, especially if they participate in a contact sport. Please contact our Washington DC dental office immediately if you feel anything is wrong. Thankfully, most chipped teeth are minor and easy to fix!

For more information or to schedule your appointment, contact Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry today! We’ll be happy to help you! 

We are accepting new patients.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
Url: https://capitolhillpediatric.dentist/
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

Washington DC Pediatric Dentist | Are Your Drinks Attacking Your Teeth?

If carbonated soft drinks are part of your normal daily routine, you may be causing serious damage to your teeth. Recent studies have found soft drinks to be among the most potent dietary causes of tooth decay. Soft drinks have also been implicated in increases of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other serious health conditions. Before you shop for beverages this week, consider a few things you should know about soft drinks.

Most soft drinks contain substantial amounts of sugars, which interact with the bacteria in your mouth. This interaction produces a form of acid that can damage your teeth for about 20 minutes. Each time you take a drink, you reset that time window. If you consume throughout the day, you are essentially bathing your teeth in that beverage for hours.

Most soft drinks contain acids, as well. Even sugar-free varieties contain acids that can weaken the enamel on your teeth. Colas and citrus-flavored soft drinks tend to have the highest levels of acid. Over time, this weakening of tooth enamel has a cumulative effect. This can lead to decay and even tooth loss if not addressed in early stages.

Obviously, the best solution is to stop consuming carbonated soft drinks. However, it can be a difficult habit to break. Here are some tips to help reduce your risks of tooth damage from these beverages:

  • Drink in moderation. Too much sugar and acid will eventually cause damage.
  • Try sparkling water. This provides the fizzy sensation without all the sugar and acid.
  • Drink more water. You will crave soft drinks less when you are fully hydrated.
  • Don’t sip. The longer you spend drinking, the more time sugars and acids are reacting with your teeth.
  • Use a straw. This can help keep the sugars and acids away from your teeth.
  • Rinse with water after drinking to dilute acids and sugars.
  • Don’t brush immediately. Wait at least 30 minutes for acids to be neutralized by saliva before brushing.
  • Practice good dental hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular professional cleanings and exams.

Carbonated soft drinks can be harmful to your oral and overall health. Be mindful of how often you consume them and consider reducing or stopping your use of these dangerous beverages.

For more oral health tips or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
Url: https://capitolhillpediatric.dentist/
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003