The Mystery Out of Toothbrush Storage

It’s a fact that bacteria can grow on toothbrushes after they’ve been used, especially if wet toothbrushes are kept in closed, dark places. Wet toothbrush bristles should not be covered. They should air dry.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Recommends:

After brushing, it’s best to rinse toothbrushes with water to clean off remaining toothpaste and small pieces of food. Then the toothbrushes should be stored in an upright position to air dry. If several toothbrushes are stored in the same holder, make sure there is enough space between the toothbrushes so that they do not touch each other. Remember to label each toothbrush with the child’s name.

Do not soak toothbrushes in bleach water or other disinfecting solutions. And toothbrushes do not need to be placed in dishwashers, microwaves, or ultraviolet devices to disinfect them. These methods may damage the toothbrushes.


Mouthguards, also called mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. They typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues

Several practical suggestions to help you make it more fun

Since it’s going to be quite a while before your child masters toothbrushing for herself, we wanted to leave you with several practical suggestions to help you make it more fun and a matter of routine.

  • Start Early. No teeth? No problem. Simply going through the motions by regularly brushing and cleaning gums still serves a very useful purpose.
  • Brush Often. While we’ve focused thus far on bedtime brushing, technically speaking, your goal of brushing teeth is to clean food off of them, and the sooner the better. Yet few adults we know make a regular habit of brushing their teeth throughout the day. Start having your child brush after meals early in life and you stand a fighting chance of creating a lasting habit.
  • Sing, Sing a Song. Or set a timer. Or come up with some other creative way to keep your child engaged in the act of brushing her teeth for the recommended 2 minutes, or for at least as long as it takes to make sure that your combined efforts leave them clean. Some toothbrushes even light up or play music for

How to choose health foods for your child

Although these terms are often used interchangeably, they have different meanings.

  • Organic foods are grown without artificial pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides. Organic meat, eggs, and dairy products are obtained from animals that are fed natural feed and not given hormones or antibiotics.
  • Natural foods are free of synthetic or artificial ingredients or additives.
  • “Health foods” is a general term that may be applied to natural or organic foods, or to regular foods that have undergone less processing than usual, such as stone-ground whole-grain flours.

Although some have claimed that organic foods have a higher concentration of some nutrients, the evidence is mixed. The nutritional content of foods also varies greatly according to when the food was harvested and how it has been stored or processed. Unless they are fresher, there is also no evidence that organic, natural, or health foods taste better than regular foods. However, taste is determined by plant genetics, rather than by whether the crop is organically or conventionally grown. Harvesting and handling also affect taste. A peach or tomato that is picked when it is too green will never develop the full taste

Know for the first about food allergies in your children

Many types of food can cause allergic reactions in middle childhood. The most common of these are cow’s milk and other dairy products, egg whites, poultry, seafood, wheat, nuts, soy, and chocolate.

Allergies are caused by antibodies that the body’s immune system pro­duces, which react to a component of a particular food and then release chem­icals that cause allergic symptoms like a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and itching.

Children may also experience stomach pain, bloating, cramping, diar­rhea, skin rashes, and swelling. Although these reactions can occur almost im­mediately after consuming these foods, they may be delayed for hours or sometimes even days.

Diagnosing food allergies is not easy. Identical symptoms may be caused by other disorders, and pinpointing the offending food can be difficult. Your pe­diatrician may refer your child to an allergist, who has several diagnostic op­tions. The allergist might suggest an elimination diet, a procedure in which suspicious foods are removed from the diet for a period of time and symptoms are closely monitored to see if they subside. After several weeks the foods are reintroduced one by one, and allergic responses are again evaluated to deter­mine which food, if any, is really the cause of the problem.

Your doctor might also

Children with Disabilities Problem Tips

Some children with disabilities have challenges that affect their oral health. These challenges may include:

  • Children with physical disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, may not have the motor skills needed to use a toothbrush safely or to sit still in a dental chair during dental visits.
  • Children with intellectual disabilities may not know how to brush their teeth, protect their teeth from injury, or cooperate with dental office staff while getting oral health care.
  • Children with communication disorders, such as delayed speech and language development, may not be able to tell their parents that their mouth hurts or they have a toothache.
  • Children who get frequent medical care, such as having many doctor visits or hospital stays, may be afraid of the dental office and may not cooperate during visits.
  • Children who take medicines with added sugars or that cause dry mouth are at high risk for tooth decay. Sugar is added to some medicines to make them taste better. Other medicines used to treat cerebral palsy, seizures, and depression can cause dry mouth by lowering the amount of saliva in the mouth. Saliva plays an important role in preventing tooth decay. Medicines given to children with medical diseases or disorders, such as asthma or

Information Parents and Caregivers

Fluoride is an important mineral for all children. Our mouths contain bacteria that combine with sugars in the foods we eat and the beverages we drink. The acid that is produced harms tooth enamel and damages teeth. Fluoride protects the teeth and can even help reverse early signs of decay. But the increased availability of fluoride today has resulted in more of something called dental fluorosis.


What is Dental Fluorosis?

Dental fluorosis is a change in the appearance of the tooth’s enamel surface. The most common types do not affect the function of the tooth and don’t cause pain.

Most dental fluorosis is either very mild or mild. Mild forms of fluorosis appear as white, lacy markings on the tooth’s enamel and are difficult to see with the untrained eye.

Fewer instances of fluorosis are categorized as moderate. Moderate fluorosis looks just like mild but covers more of the tooth.

In rare cases, fluorosis is described as severe. When fluorosis is severe, the enamel may have pitting and brown spots.


What Causes Dental Fluorosis?

Dental fluorosis is caused by consuming too much fluoride over the period of time when teeth are forming but before they appear in the mouth. This takes place before 8 years of age.

Food Allergies That You Should to Know

Any food may cause an allergic reaction, but 90% of food allergies in children are caused by just 6 common foods or food groups—milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and wheat. In adults, a similar percentage of serious allergies are caused by just 4 foods—peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Allergies to fruits and vegetables are much less common and usually less severe.


Cow’s Milk

Allergy to cow’s milk is among the most common hypersensitivity in young children, probably because it is the first foreign protein that many infants ingest in such a large quantity, especially if they are bottle-fed. If there is a cow’s-milk allergy, occasionally even a breastfed infant may have colic or eczema until milk and dairy foods are eliminated from the mother’s diet. Between 2 and 3 out of every 100 children younger than 3 years have allergy symptoms linked to cow’s milk.

Vomiting after feeding is the most common way a child shows a milk allergy, but more severe reactions can occur. Colic, crying, and gassiness can sometimes be the only manifestation of cow’s-milk allergy in very young infants. (It must be said, though, that in the great majority of infants, no cause for colic is ever found,

Recommended Food and Drink Amounts for Children

No child should be on a calorie-restricted diet, unless recommended by the doctor. However, parents need to be aware of their children’s calorie needs so that they can help their children maintain energy balance.

Step 1: The chart below can give you a general idea of how many calories your child needs per day based on his or her age range, gender, and physical activity level. Walking to school is an example of being moderately active. Playing a game of basketball is an example of being vigorously active.

Keep in mind that if your child consumes extra calories beyond what is needed the calories need to be burned off with extra physical activity. Extra calories can quickly add up depending on what your children eat or drink.

For example, if your child eats or drinks an extra 100 calories each day beyond his or her calorie needs and does not burn off the extra calories, that’s an extra 700 calories each week, an extra 2, 800 each month (4 weeks), or an extra 36,500 calories each year.

Step 3: Ask your child’s doctor if you have any questions. Remember, these 2 charts are only a guide and each child’s needs are different.


How Much Food

Best Protein for Your Health

All eggs sold in stores are grade A, so the “choice” of grade is a no-brainer. But these days, you’ll find plenty of other labels on eggs, intended to make you buy one particular product or another. Because the choices can be dizzying and unclear, it can be difficult to know what is best for your family. To help you sort things out, here are some terms and a little information about what each means—or doesn’t mean.

  • Organic. If an egg is US Department of Agriculture–certified organic, the hens have not been given antibiotics and their feed is free of pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals. But if the organic label carries a state agency’s name, the standards may be different.
  • No Antibiotics. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not allow routine use of antibiotics, but they can be used if the chicken is ill. No antibiotics have been used if the eggs are part of the National Organic Program.
  • No Hormones. This terminology is meaningless because the FDA does not allow any hormone products in egg production. Every egg should already be hormone-free.
  • Natural or Naturally Raised. This label has no meaning other than what egg producers want it to mean.
  • Cage-free. Hens that

Benefit of Mouthguards

Mouthguards, also called mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. They typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining. Knowing how to prevent injuries like these is especially important if your child participates in organized sports or other recreational activities.

When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouthguard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of standard equipment from an early age. In fact, studies show that athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth if they are not wearing a mouthguard. While collision and contact sports, such as boxing, are higher-risk sports for the mouth, you can experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating.


Three Types of Mouthguards:

  • Custom-fitted. These are made by your dentist for you personally. They are more expensive than the other versions, but because they are customized, usually offer the best fit.
  • Stock. These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky

What Parents Need to Know

Healthy gums and teeth are important to your child’s overall health. This is why your child’s doctor will talk with you about good dental habits even before your child’s first tooth appears.

Once your child has a tooth, your doctor may recommend that your child receive fluoride varnish treatments in the pediatrician’s office to help prevent tooth decay. This can be done 2 to 4 times per year. The number of treatments depends on how likely it is that your child may get a cavity.

Pediatricians are trained to apply fluoride varnish because many young children do not see or have access to a dentist until they are older. If your child is seeing a dentist at a young age, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, fluoride varnish may be applied in a dental office instead.

Read on for more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics about fluoride varnish.


What is Fluoride Varnish?

Fluoride varnish is a dental treatment that can help prevent tooth decay, slow it down, or stop it from getting worse. Fluoride varnish is made with fluoride, a mineral that can strengthen tooth enamel (outer coating on teeth).

Keep in mind that fluoride varnish treatments cannot completely prevent cavities. Fluoride varnish treatments can best

Best Ideas When Family Gatherings

When on a trip, don’t take a vacation from healthy eating and exercise.

What You Can Do:

  • Plan your meals. Will all your meals be from restaurants? If so, can you split entrees and desserts to keep portions from getting too large? Can you avoid fast food? Can you bring along your own healthy snacks?
  • Stay active. Schedule time for physical activities such as taking a walk or swimming in the hotel pool.



It’s easy to overeat during holidays. But you don’t need to fear or avoid them.

What You Can Do:

  • Approach the holidays with extra care. Don’t lose sight of what you and your child are eating. Plan to have healthy foods and snacks on hand. Bring a fruit or veggie tray with you when you go to friends and family.
  • Celebrate for the day, not an entire month! Be sure to return to healthy eating the next day.


Other Family Gatherings

In some cultures, when extended families get together, it can turn into a food feast, from morning to night.

What You Can Do:

  • Eat smaller portions. Avoid overeating whenever you get together with family. Try taking small portions instead.
  • Get family support. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles can have an enormous effect on your child’s health. Let them know

Great Reasons to Cook with Your Kids

When it comes to raising an adventurous eater, it is not just about coaxing kids to eat their veggies. Bringing up a child who can enjoy a cantaloupe as much as a cupcake takes patience and persistence, but it does not have to feel like a chore.

Kids may need to have frequent joyful experiences involving food to overcome the anxiety they may have around tasting the unfamiliar. Over time, cooking with your children can help build that confidence—and provide rich sensory experiences.


Here are five ways to enjoy cooking with your children while raising an adventurous eater along the way.

  1. Engage other senses. For a hesitant eater, tasting an unfamiliar food can sometimes be intimidating. You can help your child explore foods when cooking using other senses besides taste. This helps to build positive associations with food. Kneading dough, rinsing vegetables, and tearing lettuce all involve touching food and being comfortable with texture. The complex flavors we experience when eating food come from both taste sensations from the tongue AND smelling with the nose. While cooking with new ingredients, some children may feel too overwhelmed to taste. If this happens, you can try suggesting smelling a food first; this may provide a bridge

How to Structure Your Child Nighttime Routine

Brush, Book, Bed, a program of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), has a simple and clear message for parents:

  1. Each night, help your children to brush their teeth.
  2. Read a favorite book (or two)!
  3. Get to bed at a regular time each night.

Having a predictable nighttime routine will help them understand and learn to expect what comes next. Additionally, routines may ease the stress that some families experience at nighttime.

All young children need help with brushing from an adult to make sure a good job is done. When possible, teach children to spit out extra toothpaste, but don’t rinse with water first. The little bit of toothpaste left behind is good for their teeth! Once teeth touch, they can also be flossed. Visit your dentist regularly starting with your child’s first birthday or sooner if there are concerns. Your pediatrician can answer questions about oral health, too. Remember, the last thing to touch the teeth before bed is the toothbrush!

  • As soon as baby is born, you can start good oral health practices. If possible, use a soft washcloth to wipe your baby’s gums after feedings. Remember not to put babies to bed with a bottle filled with milk. And, when it is

Child Before Trying Tooth Whitening Products

After the tooth fairy has made a few visits to your home, you might notice that your child’s pearly smile doesn’t seem as white now that she has a few more adult teeth. This is because the top layer (enamel) of baby teeth is thinner and whiter than the enamel of adult teeth.

Over-the-counter tooth whitening products such as whitening strips, trays and gels have exploded in popularity in recent years. But should children use them?

Pediatric dentists usually do not suggest bleaching until all baby teeth have fallen out. If using at-home bleaching products, parents should read the product label for recommended ages and instructions.

Dark teeth can be caused by colas, dark juices, popsicles, coffee and other foods. A single dark tooth could be the result of an injury to the tooth, tooth decay or cavities.

Children should visit a dentist for a routine checkup and cleaning every six months, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. There, they can talk about whitening treatments.

​”I tell parents to hold off decisions about bleaching (until) after age 14, because all the baby teeth are gone by then and the adult teeth are fully erupted,” said Martha Ann Keels, D.D.S., Ph.D.

​She suggests starting with an

Brushing Up on Oral Health

As the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other children’s organizations report, tooth decay(also called early childhood caries, or ECC) is the most common chronic children’s disease in the country. As a result, it is very important that parents work with their pediatrician to establish good oral health care from the first weeks of their baby’s life. Although most of us think of dental care in relation to our own dentists, parents will be working closely with their pediatrician even earlier than with a dentist.

Since pediatricians see young infants and children frequently for preventive health care visits, they are in an excellent position to identify children at risk for dental health problems, coordinate appropriate care and parent education, and refer affected and high-risk children to pediatric dentists.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that dental caries is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever in children. More than 40 percent of children have tooth decay by the time they reach kindergarten. Children with dental caries in their baby teeth are at much greater risk for cavities in their adult teeth.

Health care professionals know that tooth decay is a disease

Bottlemouth Syndrome on Child Problem

​Bottlemouth syndrome is a special form of tooth decay in very young children. It is caused by prolonged exposure to milk or sugary liquids. Children at risk for bottlemouth syndrome take bottles of milk or juice to bed at naptime and bedtime. They also carry sugary beverages or milk around during the day. It is most common in the upper front teeth. Children with bottlemouth syndrome often need oral surgery with general anesthesia.


What to Look For:

  • Red gums
  • Irritated mouth
  • Teeth that do not look normal


What You Should Do:

Parents or primary caregiver should:

  • Do not give your child a bottle of milk or juice (or any fluid containing sugar) at naptime, bedtime, or to carry around during the day. Only feed your child at specific meal and snack times.
  • Give your child water after a feeding to rinse sugary liquid off the teeth.
  • Give only water or don’t give a sleep-time bottle.


Other Caregivers Should:

  • Talk with parents about the need to have the child’s teeth examined by a medical provider.

Solving problem when children often eat in response

​Children (as well as adults) often use food for reasons other than to satisfy hunger. Children often eat in response to their emotions and feelings.

If your child seems hungry all the time, use the following tips to get a better idea of what is really going on.


What Triggers Hunger?

If your child is eating 3 well balanced meals and 1 snack a day but still claims to be hungry, there may be other reasons beyond hunger that make him or her want to eat.


What You Can Do

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your child sometimes reach for food when experiencing any of the following?
    • Boredom
    • Depression
    • Stress
    • Frustration
    • Insecurity
    • Loneliness
    • Fatigue
    • Resentment
    • Anger
    • Happiness
  • Does your child eat at times other than regular mealtimes and snacks? Is your child munching at every opportunity?
  • Do you reward your child with food (does an A on a test sometimes lead to a trip to the ice cream shop)? This can inadvertently contribute to your child’s obesity.
  • When your child is doing things right, do you tell him or her? Words of approval can boost a child’s self-esteem. They can also help keep a child motivated to continue making the right decisions for health and weight.
  • How are you speaking to your child? Is it mostly negative? Is it

Prevent Dental Problems

A balanced diet, with plenty of calcium and vitamin D to increase calcium absorption, should provide all the nutrients necessary to build strong teeth and keep gums and mouth tissues healthy. Young people can get adequate calcium from 3 or 4 daily servings of dairy foods, as well as from many other sources (eg, calcium-processed tofu, calcium-fortified orange juice, green vegetables such as broccoli).


The Benefits of Fluoride

Fluoride reduces dental decay by making the enamel harder, reducing the ability of bacteria to produce acid that erodes enamel, and by replacing minerals in the teeth after they have been lost. In areas where the natural fluoride content of the water is low and water supplies are not fluoridated, or if your household uses bottled or reverse osmosis filtered water, pediatricians and dentists may advise fluoride supplements, fluoride toothpaste, or fluoride treatments to strengthen children’s tooth enamel against decay. Most bottled water does not contain adequate amounts of fluoride. Home water treatment systems like reverse osmosis and distillation units remove much of the fluoride from tap water. However, carbon or charcoal water filtration systems generally do not remove substantial amounts of fluoride.


Too Much Fluoride & Fluorosis

One of the complications of too much fluoride is

Dental Sealants for Children

Sealants are a fast and easy way of protecting your child’s teeth that act as barriers to cavity-prone areas. They are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth and sometimes used to cover deep pits and grooves. Both primary and permanent teeth can benefit from sealants.


Toothbrushes Cannot Reach Everything

Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. But toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.


About Sealants

Sealants are easy for your dentist to apply. The sealant is painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and may last several years before a reapplication is needed. During your regular dental visits, your dentist will check the condition of the sealants and