Chewing Gum and Your Oral Health | Capitol Hill Children’s Dentist

Sugary, sticky, and sweet candies can damage your teeth by increasing your risk of decay. Though gum can be considered a type of candy, chewing sugarless gum approved by the ADA can actually help protect teeth and prevent tooth decay. Here’s what you need to know about gum and your teeth.

How Gum Prevents Decay 

Chewing gum helps increase the production of saliva. Chewing sugarless gum for twenty minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay because the saliva helps wash away food and other debris from the surface of your teeth. Increased salivary flow can also neutralize acids that bacteria produce inside your mouth. Over time, acid can break down tooth enamel, leading to decay. Saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which aid in strengthening tooth enamel.

The American Dental Association (ADA) Seal 

The ADA Seal assures you that the gum is sugarless and has met the ADA’s criteria for safety and effectiveness. ADA-labeled products are tested to ensure they provide the benefits guaranteed by the seal. Companies must verify all relevant data with the ADA to become certified. If you are unable to brush for a short period of time, chewing gum with the ADA seal is a great option to help clean your teeth after a meal or snack.

Does chewing gum replace brushing?

No. Chewing gum for twenty minutes after a meal helps but is not a replacement for brushing and flossing. You should brush at least twice each day, for at least two full minutes. Chewing gum also does not eliminate your need for regular dental examinations. Our Capitol Hill Children’s Dentist recommends scheduling two visits each year, with additional visits necessary for high-risk patients with oral health conditions.

Chewing sugarless gum has noticeable benefits for your oral health, such as increasing the production of saliva. While this can help prevent the build up of decay-causing bacteria, chewing gum should not be used as a substitute for brushing or flossing. Our Pediatric Dentist Capitol Hill dentist recommends that if you are chewing gum, be sure to choose an ADA approved brand of sugarless gum. 

If you have concerns that your child may have possible tooth decay, schedule an examination with our Pediatric Dentist in Capitol Hill as soon as possible. 

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

A Healthy Diet For Your Child | Washington Kids Dentist

The food children eat can significantly affect their long-term oral health. Some foods are dense with nutrients that your child needs to grow and develop in a healthy way. Others are full of acids and sugars that are harmful to teeth. With so many unhealthy food choices being marketed to children every day, it is vital that you take a proactive approach. Offer fun, healthy snacks and model the better food choices you want your child to make.

Kids should have a well-balanced and nutritional diet. This not only promotes overall health but also helps build a strong, healthy smile. Nutrition is an important part of oral health. Teaching your kids about eating healthy and limiting sugary foods will help foster a balanced diet from an early age. This will form habits that will result in a lifetime of strong teeth and better health overall.

Make Snack Time Fun 

Promote a nutritious diet by getting creative with snack choices. If you show your kids that healthy snacks are fun, they will be more likely to eat them. Apple slices with peanut butter, fruit smoothies, and yogurt with granola or fruit are great examples of fun, yet healthy combinations. Remember to avoid soda and sugary drinks. These can leave sugars on teeth and can increase the risk of plaque and tooth decay. Water is always the best choice. 

Make Their Plates Colorful

Make sure to add a variety of fruits and vegetables to every meal so that your kids become accustomed to them. 

Model Good Habits 

Children learn habits by following the example set by their parents. Send your kids the right message by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables yourself. Avoid sugary snacks that can cause cavities or gum disease. Be sure to practice good oral hygiene in front of your kids. If you brush and floss after meals and snacks, your kids will follow the example. Consider brushing together with your child to reinforce good brushing skills and habits. Make sure to brush at least twice a day, after breakfast and before bedtime. If it is possible, try to encourage your child to brush after lunch or after sweet snacks.

It is also very important to have regular dental appointments for your child, and model healthy habits by seeing your own dentist regularly. Please contact our Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentist office if you need  more ideas on how to promote healthy snacking for great long-term dental health.

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

The Power of Dental Sealants | Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentist

You may have heard of the term dental sealants or maybe our Capitol Hill, DC Pediatric Dentist has even recommended them for your child already. Sealants are a powerful way to protect your child’s teeth against decay. As with any dental treatment, it helps to understand the procedure and how it can impact your child’s oral health.

The Benefit of Sealants 

Sealants help to prevent tooth decay. Sealants are applied on the back teeth, where decay is most likely to develop. The back teeth often have deep anatomical grooves that can trap food and bacteria. The sealant fills in the groove so that nothing can get trapped in that area. Our Pediatric Dentist in Capitol Hill will often recommend sealants for children and teens, but adults may benefit from sealants, as well.

The further your teeth are in the back of your mouth, the more difficult it can be to maintain the proper hygiene needed to keep them healthy. Sealants can prevent up to 80% of decay within the first two years alone. After 4 years, sealants continue to prevent as much as 50% of decay. Children without sealants are more than three times as likely to develop tooth decay than those with sealants.

When To Consider Sealants

Your child’s first molars usually become visible around age 6, with the second set around age 12. You will want to talk to us about the best course of action for keeping molars healthy. Sealants are most effective when they are done as soon as the molars break through. Regular examinations with our Pediatric Dentist in Washington DC will determine the best time to have sealants applied.

The Treatment Process 

Sealants are one of the simplest treatments we perform in our Washington Pediatric Dentist office. There is generally no discomfort associated with this process. We will first thoroughly clean your child’s teeth, and then use a special gel. The gel is then cleaned off before the sealant is applied. A small blue light is used to harden the sealant in a matter of moments. The sealant is a tooth-colored resin material, similar to a tooth-colored filling. 

Are Sealants Safe?

There are no side-effects from sealants, and allergic reactions are extremely rare. However, talk to our Washington Pediatric dentist about any allergies your child has so we can discuss the best possible course of action. The materials used are safe and biocompatible. 

Sealants can last for years before needing to be reapplied. It is important to schedule regular visits to our Capitol Hill Kids Dentist office so that our dentist can check the condition of the sealants and teeth on an ongoing basis. If your child had sealants several years ago and you are unsure if they should be reapplied, schedule an appointment with us.

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

Navigating the Teething Stage | Dentist Washington DC

Teething is a natural and necessary part of your child’s growth. However, knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to handle. Teething can make your baby cranky and fussy, and can be the cause of many sleepless nights. If your baby has started teething, or if you are trying to prepare for the onset of this stage, we’ve compiled some basic information that may help you. Consult with our 20003 pediatric dentist for more information about your child’s specific needs.

Is My Baby Teething?

There is a great deal of incorrect information on the subject of teething that can be found all over the internet. Understanding what you should expect can help you know when you truly need to contact a doctor or dentist for your child. Normal symptoms of teething include:

  • Irritability 
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fussiness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chewing on fingers
  • Low-grade fever 

Call your doctor if your baby has high fever, rash, or diarrhea. Contact your dentist if your baby’s gums have severe swelling, redness, or bleeding.

Teething Remedies 

Soothing a distressed, teething baby can be difficult. With sore, inflamed gums, your baby may calm down with a chilled pacifier or teething ring. You may also try rubbing their gums gently with a clean finger or damp gauze. Some infant Tylenol may be appropriate in some situations. Follow the recommendations of your child’s doctor or dentist. Do not use topical pain relievers, which can be dangerous for young children. Homeopathic teething gels and tablets have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for their safety.

Caring For Newly Erupted Teeth

As soon as your baby’s first tooth emerges, dental care is needed. Gently wipe your baby’s teeth and gums with a damp washcloth at least twice a day and before bed.

Once your child has two teeth that touch, begin cleaning between teeth daily using floss or an interdental brush. Your child should have their first dental visit by age 1 or within 6 months of their first tooth erupting. Stay positive when telling your child about the dentist. We will check their teeth and ensure a comfortable, fun first visit.

If you have any questions or are concerned about your teething baby, please contact our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC to schedule an appointment.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

Encouraging Healthy Dental Habits for Teens | Pediatric Dentist in 20003

The teenage years bring with them greater independence and with that independence comes more choices to be made. Friends begin to exert a greater influence over diet and lifestyle habits than parents at this age.

Because teens still need to follow good oral health habits, follow these tips to help preserve healthy smiles during this transformative time.

Encourage Healthy Eating

Teens are always on the go, and may rely on energy drinks, fast food, and nutrition bars to get through the day. Most of these are loaded with sugar, carbs and acids, which can wreak havoc on their dental health.

●    Keep cheese sticks, fruit, and raw veggies on hand for healthy snacks

●    Stock the fridge with water, coconut water, and no-sugar teas

● Trade traditional gum and candy for those made with tooth-friendly xylitol or other sugar-free sweeteners

You can’t always make your teen follow a perfect diet, but having healthy choices at the ready can help make it easy.

Encourage Mouth guard Use

If your teenager plays football, soccer, lacrosse or another contact sport, insist that they wear a mouth guard to protect their teeth. Mouth guards can be custom fitted by our 20003 pediatric dentist or store-bought. Some fit over orthodontic braces.

A mouth protector should be rinsed after each use, disinfected regularly, and stored in a ventilated container.

Use Caution with Braces

If your teen has braces, they must exercise great oral care. Make sure to keep new toothbrushes or brush heads, plus floss, and a floss threader, handy.

Also, be mindful of what they eat: no sticky or crunchy foods and no chewing gum. For healthy prepared snacks any time, cut fruit into bite-sized pieces, add a little lemon juice or pectin to keep them longer, and store portions in sandwich bags.

Avoid Oral Piercings

The popularity of tongue and lip piercings comes and goes, but your teen should know that the metal in piercings can cause tooth damage and mouth infections. Tongue piercings, in particular, can easily chip teeth.

Tooth fractures may need filings, or, if they are deeper, require a tooth extraction or root canal.

Make Good Oral Health Easy

Reward regular brushing and proper flossing, and keep extra kits in your kid’s gym bag, the car, and in their school locker for on-the-go care. Encourage good teeth-cleaning habits after meals, or suggest swishing and rinsing until there is an opportunity to brush.

Like adults, teens need to visit their dentist at least twice a year. Adolescents and teens tend to be self-conscious; having an attractive smile and sweet breath are good motivators for proper oral hygiene.

We can work with your busy teen’s schedule, contact our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC today to schedule their next appointment.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

Are Your Child’s Medications Affecting Their Oral Health? | Washington DC Children’s Dentist

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that about one in five children are currently taking prescription medications and more than half of them take vitamins or other dietary supplements. 

Even though they are used as prescribed, your child may experience side effects from the medication that can impact their oral health. Always let us know what medicines or supplements your child is taking and if there have been any changes since your last visit. 

There are some really common side effects from medications that can impact your child’s oral health, read below as we detail some of them and what you can do to help mitigate their impact:

Dry Mouth

Many medications, especially decongestants and some antibiotics, can temporarily reduce saliva production. A dry mouth is more likely to develop inflammation and infection, tooth decay, and other oral health problems. Drinking more water, chewing sugar-free gum, and eating crunchy foods like produce can help stimulate saliva production and keep the mouth moisturized.

Fungal Infection

Oral Candidiasis, a fungal infection that can affect children who use inhalers for breathing conditions like asthma (these include clotrimazole – Mycelex and fluconazole Diflucan). If your child uses an inhaler regularly, encourage them to rinse their mouth thoroughly with water after each use.

Abnormal Bleeding

Thinning of the blood and a reduction in clotting might accompany the use of some medications. As you can imagine, this might cause problems with excessive bleeding during any oral surgery or treatments for periodontal disease. Be sure to keep your pediatric dentist in 20003 informed if your child is taking any medications or supplements before scheduling any treatment.

Gum Overgrowth

Drug-induced gingival hyperplasia, or gum overgrowth caused by mediation, is rare in children. It is associated with taking the anticonvulsant phenytoin, the antibiotic cyclosporine, and nifedipine, which is used to control blood pressure in kids who have undergone liver transplants. 

Soft Tissue Reactions

Inflammation, oral sores, or discoloration of the soft tissues can occur as a side effect of some medications. We may be able to prescribe a special oral hygiene regimen that can alleviate their discomfort if your child experiences any of these reactions.

Tooth Decay

While tooth decay is not necessarily a direct side effect of medication, several types of medicine use sugar to improve their flavor, especially those in liquid, chewable, or lozenge form. When taken over a period of time, the sugars left on the teeth can make the development of tooth decay more likely. Choose sugar-free medications; take the medication with meals, if possible; or have your child rinse with water after medicating and wait 30 minutes before brushing.

If your child is experiencing any of these side effects, or if you have questions about any medications your child is taking, contact our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC today and schedule a consultation.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

How Safe are Dental X-Rays for Children? | Washington DC Pediatric Dentist

X-rays, or radiographs, offer valuable information that can’t be seen with the naked eye. They can detect jaw and tooth abnormalities, tooth decay, and they offer a snapshot of one’s dental history.

For your child, they can show incoming teeth that may pose a problem in the future and help avoid expensive treatment later. 

A dental x-ray is one of the safest imaging procedures available with the American Dental Association (ADA) noting that exposure from dental x-rays “represent a minor contribution to the total exposure from all sources, including natural and man-made.”

For children, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the lowest exposure possible, and to always weigh healthcare needs against risks, however small. Here is what our pediatric dentist in 20003 needs you to know about getting dental x-rays for children.

 Why Does Your Child Need Dental X-Rays?

X-ray imaging allows our team to prevent problems by addressing the cause early. Rather than waiting for excessive tooth damage to become visible, a radiograph can identify it before it becomes painful.

It can also show the development of wisdom teeth, tooth crowding, genetically missing teeth, bite problems (malocclusion) and more.  

What are the Risks of X-Ray Radiation?

Excessive radiation exposure has been linked to increased cancer risk, but not all radiation sources are the same.

It matters greatly where the radiation is coming from, how much a person is exposed to, and for what length of time. X-rays have not been shown to present a significant increase in cancer development when used responsibly.

Comparing X-Ray Radiation Exposure Levels

When this technology was discovered in the 1890s, it took 25 minutes to get one x-ray exposure, offering dangerous doses of radiation. As you can imagine, the technology has evolved significantly since that time.

The exposure time for a modern x-ray is mere seconds and carefully aimed at the treatment area. Consider these federal government statistics:

  • It would take well over 1000 panoramic x-rays of your mouth to equal one CT scan 
  • A panoramic x-ray of your mouth is only half of the radiation you’re exposed to on a seven-hour plane ride, or two to three days of natural exposure
  • Four routine, intraoral images present about the same radiation exposure as a two hour plane ride 

New X-Ray Technology Presents Fewer Risks

New types of x-rays present an even lower radiation exposure, according to federal nuclear agencies. Digital x-rays operate much faster than traditional radiographs, shortening the exposure.

Similarly, a cone beam 3D imaging essentially takes many images simultaneously to create a comprehensive 3D model of teeth, jaw, and surrounding structures. 

We Put Your Child’s Safety First

While even traditional dental x-rays are considered safe, our dental office takes every measure possible to keep every patient safe. State regulations set exposure limits, and we will never exceed them.

Our experienced team is trained to use all of our equipment properly. Patients, and some visitors, are provided a lead shield or bib for additional protection.

What You Can Do

Communication is key. If your child is a new patient, please provide their medical records so that our team knows about any previous medical imaging.

Talk with our dentist about any concerns you have. Together we’ll ensure your child is treated in a safe environment.

The ADA and FDA agree that the benefits of x-ray technology far outweigh the risks. Our office strives to create an atmosphere where our guests feel comfortable and safe. If you have any additional questions about x-rays or other procedures, please contact our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC to schedule a consultation.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

Should You Take Your Child to the ER for Dental Problems? | 20003 Pediatric Dentist

If you have wondered if it’s ever a good idea to take your child to the emergency room for dental care, you are not alone: The American Dental Association estimates that every 15 seconds, someone goes to the ER for a dental emergency. That’s about 2.2 million patients per year.

We understand that you want your child to receive the best possible care in the quickest manner available. Other than the most serious issues, however, you can avoid ER visits for dental care.

When You Should Visit the Emergency Room

If your child has suffered a broken jaw or experiences severe bleeding from the mouth, do not hesitate to seek emergency care. However, when it comes to severe discomfort from a toothache, broken teeth, or extensive decay, our dental office is a much better option for treatment.

Our office is staffed with a knowledgeable team that treats emergencies like these. Our pediatric dentist in Washington, DC also uses special tools that an emergency room may not be equipped with.

Why People Choose the Emergency Room Instead of the Dentist

There are several reasons parents turn to the ER for dental issues. First, when a child is in pain, any loving parent wants to ease that pain as quickly as possible. They may act out of panic.

Second, some parents may not even think to call their family dentist for an emergency visit.

Finally, some families lack dental insurance and do not realize the potentially high cost of an emergency room visit. The ER is not an inexpensive alternative to a dental office; you will likely be billed excessively for what may prove to be a non-emergency.

In addition to being a costly treatment option, emergency room wait times can also be long, so it is not a time-saver in most cases.

Our team works hard to ensure that all patients receive excellent, affordable care in the quickest way possible. If you have financial concerns, we will discuss them with you and see what type of arrangement we can help you make.

Regular Dental Visits are Your Best Defense

Many who seek dental care in the emergency room are forced to do so because they have neglected a problem for too long. Your best defense in keeping your child’s mouth healthy is through regular exams and dental cleanings in our office.

When it comes to children’s dental care, we have the knowledge and experience to best serve you. Our dentist has the necessary tools to treat young patients, even in emergency situations.

If you have questions about keeping your child’s smile healthy, please contact our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC today and schedule a consultation.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

Protect Your Child’s Teeth With Dental Sealants | Pediatric Dentist in Washington DC

During your visit, our pediatric dentist in 20003 may suggest dental sealants for your child. Sealants are a great way to prevent your child from developing tooth decay.

Why Sealants?

Sealants are essential to preventing tooth decay. They are applied to the back teeth, in the hard to reach places where decay is most likely to take hold.


The further a tooth is in the back of the mouth, the more difficult it is to maintain its health. Sealants are usually recommended for children and teens, but they can be beneficial for adults as well.

Did you know that sealants can prevent up to 80 percent of decay within the first two years alone? Even after four years, they will continue to prevent 50 percent of decay.

On the other hand, children who don’t get sealants are three times as likely to develop tooth decay.

When Should My Child Get Them?

Once your child’s molars start developing between the ages of 6 and 12, you will definitely want to talk to our team about the best way to go about keeping these molars healthy. As soon as the molars come through, dental sealants will be most effective.

By scheduling regular exams with our dentist, we will be able to determine when the best time to apply sealants would be.

What Is Expected With Sealants?
 

First, we will regularly clean your child’s teeth, and then apply a special cleaning gel to their teeth. Next, the gel is cleaned off before the coating of sealant is applied. In seconds, a small blue light is used to harden the sealant.

There is no need to worry about pain when getting sealants, because they are actually one of the simplest and quickest treatments performed in our office.

Should I Have Any Concerns?

There are really no concerns to be had about sealants. There are no side-effects, and allergic reactions are very unlikely.

If you have concerns, be sure to discuss any allergies your child has with our doctor to be sure we are treating your child with proper and safe care.

What Are the Next Steps?
 

It is crucial to schedule regular visits to our office so our doctor can check the status of your child’s oral health. Regular exams and dental cleanings, combined with the application of our long-lasting sealants, is the best way to maintain your child’s smile.

Contact our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC today for more information on maintaining a healthy smile and to discuss any questions you might have about dental sealants.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003

What Parents Should Know About Teething | Pediatric Dentist in 20003

Teething is a natural occurrence that is necessary for the growth of your child. Although it can be difficult to handle, our pediatric dentist in 20003 has information designed to help you to prepare for this stage in your child’s life.

Common Teething Symptoms
 

There is a lot of misinformation out there about teething, so it is important to understand what exactly to expect. Knowing the correct symptoms will help you to know when you must contact a dentist or doctor for your child.

The symptoms of teething typically include irritability, trouble sleeping, fussiness, drooling excessively, loss of appetite, and chewing on fingers.

Abnormal symptoms would be if your baby has a fever, rash, diarrhea, severe gum swelling, redness, or bleeding. If your baby has any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately to make sure it is not an indication of a larger problem.

Teething Treatment

If your baby is experiencing sore or inflamed gums, it can be quite difficult to calm them down. A solution to soothe their mouth would be trying a chilled pacifier or teething ring. You can also try massaging their gums gently with a clean finger or dampened piece of gauze.

For the safety of your child, do not use topical pain relievers or homeopathic teething gels and tablets. These forms of relief have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA, which means they might be dangerous for young children.

Caring for Your Baby’s New Teeth

Dental care is needed as soon as your baby develops their first tooth. When that first tooth emerges you should gently wipe your baby’s gums with a dampened cloth at least twice a day. Also, once your child develops two teeth that touch, you should begin using floss or an interdental brush daily.

Within 6 months of developing their first tooth, your child should visit the dentist. When telling your child about the dentist, maintain a positive attitude so they feel as comfortable as possible. 

We will check your little one’s teeth and ensure a calm and comfortable first visit. If you and baby are ready, contact our pediatric dental office in Washington, DC to schedule an appointment and to learn more about early childhood tooth development.

Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003