New Year, New Toothbrush: When To Switch to a New One and Why

New Year, New Toothbrush: When To Switch to a New One and Why

Young person brushing teeth

The new year represents new life, new goals, and new aspirations. It’s the best time to refresh your life and make the necessary changes to create better and healthier routines. A great way to do this is by doing something as simple as switching out your old toothbrush for a new one.

We know how easy it is to overlook this task, but it’s one of the most crucial aspects of maintaining strong and healthy teeth, especially for your children.

How To Tell If You Need To Switch Your Toothbrush?

Before waiting until the end of life for your or your kid’s toothbrush, here are some clear signs to watch out for to know when it’s time for a replacement. 

It Has Frayed Bristles

This is one of the first telltale signs you’ll notice when it’s time to change your toothbrush. Over time, the brush heads of your toothbrush get frayed from overuse. When you see that the bristles are bending and your toothbrush doesn’t look how it used to when you first opened it, then it’s time for a change. 

Your Teeth Don’t Feel Right After Brushing

Another clear sign to watch for is the effect of your toothbrush on your teeth. If your teeth still feel fuzzy or dirty after brushing, chances are, there’s something wrong with your toothbrush. Perhaps there’s bacteria and plaque build-up on the toothbrush that’s affecting your mouth. Or maybe the bristles are so frayed that they cannot clean your teeth properly anymore. Make sure to check in with your child and ask them how their teeth feel after brushing. They may not notice or realize that it’s time for a new toothbrush!

There’s a Bad Smell

The final telltale sign is that there’s a bad smell. A bad odor indicates that there’s mold or bacterial growth on your or your child’s toothbrush. When this happens, be sure to throw out the existing toothbrush and get a new one immediately. You don’t want to risk putting bacteria back in your kid’s mouth.

How Often Should You Switch?

Rather than waiting for these signs to appear, we at Bay Area Kids Dentist recommend a more proactive approach — replacing your toothbrush as frequently as possible. For adults, we suggest switching to a new toothbrush every three to four months. 

For children, we recommend replacing their toothbrushes more frequently. Since toothbrushes for children are often softer and more delicate, their bristles tend to fray more easily than adult toothbrushes. It’s best to replace your child’s toothbrush every two to three months, or when the first signs of fraying appear.

What Kind of Toothbrush Should You Choose?

So, what’s the best toothbrush to choose for my child? It depends on how old your child is. 

For babies and toddlers ages 10 to 36 months, we recommend a manual toothbrush that can double as a teether. At these ages, your toddler is still developing their teeth, so you don’t need anything too fancy or too complicated. As long as it’s soft, durable, and safe to chew, then it’s a good product in our book.

Once your child reaches age three, you can explore other options to achieve the best dental care, including electric toothbrushes. A great electric toothbrush to explore for kids this age is Colgate Kids Extra Soft Battery Toothbrush. It has a gentle oscillating feature with flat bristles, making it easier for kids to learn to brush their teeth on their own.

When they get older and more comfortable with brushing their teeth on their own, you can introduce them to more advanced products like the Oral-B Junior Smart Electrical Toothbrush. This has built-in features, such as gum care and pressure sensors to help kids get more comfortable with brushing their teeth independently.

Electric Vs. Manual: Pros and Cons

If you’re choosing between manual or electric toothbrushes, we think that electric toothbrushes have the upper hand. Electric toothbrushes have some impressive features that manual toothbrushes don’t have. For example, they have gum care, pressure control, and oscillating motions that can clean teeth more effectively. The only downside to electric toothbrushes, however, is that they tend to be more expensive and require regular maintenance. 

Contact Us for Personalized Dental Care

As professional, board certified, pediatric dentists, we can’t stress enough the importance of replacing your children’s toothbrushes often to achieve optimal oral care. After all, good oral hygiene starts at home. If you want further guidance and consultation on your children’s dental care, we at Bay Area Kids Dentist are here to help.

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How To Help Brush Your Toddler’s Teeth

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What To Do If Your Child Has a Dental Injury

What Are Tooth Sealants and Are They Important?

What Are Tooth Sealants and Are They Important?

young child in dentist chair

When children reach age six, they become eligible for dental sealants to further protect their teeth and smiles from tooth decay. Most children get their first molars around this age, which may also require some adjustments when brushing their teeth. Some children might forget to brush these new teeth and risk tooth decay.


According to the CDC, more than half of all children between ages six and eight have had cavities. Luckily, you can help prevent cavity formation and tooth decay early with sealants. Here is a closer look at this dental service and how your child can enjoy its benefits for years to come.


What Are Tooth Sealants?


Dental sealants are thin coatings that shield teeth against cavities. Cavity-causing bacteria hide in teeth’s hard-to-reach surfaces — particularly the molars. Moreover, toothbrush bristle designs are not enough to remove bacteria in these places, which explains why kid-friendly mouthwash is a common recommendation.


Getting these tooth coatings is a preventative care solution for clean and healthy teeth. It’s a fairly quick procedure, where a pediatric dentist will clean your child’s teeth before applying the sealant. Cleaning may involve some drilling that some kids might find scary, but we will help your child understand that the process is painless.


Why Do We Recommend Tooth Sealants for Kids?


Our pediatric dentists recommend dental sealants for tooth cavity prevention purposes. As your child grows more teeth, there are more potential areas for cavity formation. Considering children’s relationship with sugary treats, they may become even more prone to cavities and tooth decay.


Although regular brushing, mouthwash, and flossing are all important, taking that step of extra protection can surely add that additional sense that your child’s teeth are maximally protected. We recommend this method to give your child another layer of defense against dental problems, including cavities, tooth decay, and plaque buildup. Essentially, tooth sealants keep bacteria out and make it easier to maintain good dental hygiene.


How Long Do Tooth Sealants Last?


High-quality dental sealants for kids can last up to a decade. According to current American Dental Association facts, cavity formation among children and adolescents with tooth sealants reduced by 86% after one year and 58% after four years. These percentages may rise to 90% even after 10 years with appropriate follow-up care.


In addition, sealants may also extend beyond the expected lifespan if your child follows the best practices for maintaining good oral hygiene, like replacing their toothbrush when necessary, eating healthy food, drinking enough water, brushing teeth regularly, rinsing with mouthwash, and flossing.


Are Tooth Sealants Safe?


Dental sealants are safe and effective methods of preventing tooth diseases. The American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs recommends tooth sealants for protecting the primary and permanent molars of children and adolescents against cavities and tooth decay.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also recognizes the safety and benefits that tooth sealants offer children and adults. With these established organizations giving their position on this tooth-protection measure, we urge parents to highly consider getting sealants for their children.


What Long-term Benefits Do Tooth Sealants Offer?


Dental sealants can potentially last for your child’s lifetime if you get a dedicated pediatric dental professional to perform the procedure. Although some cases involve chipping, wearing, and falling, you will not have to worry about them if the right person applies the correct techniques.


Moreover, sealing teeth pits and fissures to protect them against decay also helps prevent associated conditions, such as tooth loss and infections. Tooth and gum infections from decay can further lead to pain, abscess formation, facial swelling, and fevers.


Most parents might agree that the benefit of protecting their children against dental diseases using this simple solution outweighs the risks of chipping sealant. Be sure to let an experienced pediatric dentist check your child’s condition to determine whether tooth sealant suits them.


Final Word: Protect Your Children’s Teeth Early With Professional Tooth Sealants


Tooth sealants are great solutions that reduce your children’s risk of cavities. The procedure is safe and effective with recognition from the ADA and FDA. It’s also a long-lasting solution. Our team at Bay Area Kids Dentists recommends sealants to help keep your kids’ teeth clean and healthy. Contact us to set an appointment today!

How To Help a Child Who Is Nervous About the Dentist

How To Help a Child Who Is Nervous About the Dentist

Young girl smiling in dentist chair

Dental anxiety is common among people of all ages, especially children. Statistics show that around 20% of children are either nervous or afraid to go to the dentist. 

Some children develop dental anxiety as a result of a previous unpleasant experience. Others experience fear for a less obvious reason, like the perception of pain or the feeling of powerlessness. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to pinpoint the underlying cause so you can help your child overcome their fears. 

As a parent or guardian, you need to remember that your child is still learning and trying to understand the world around them. Even if they haven’t had a negative experience with a dentist, just the thought of being in an unknown environment can be scary for them.

Techniques To Help Children Overcome Their Fear of the Dentist

There are several ways to help your child feel more at ease before, during, and after a dentist visit. Often just visiting a pediatric dentist with imagery, décor and staff geared toward a child’s point of view can help. Based on our experience, here are some overall effective methods you can try.

Communicate With Your Kids

First thing first: talk to your kids about their dental visit. Even if they’re only going in for a straightforward checkup, it’s vital that you give them a step-by-step summary of what they can expect. Doing so can help lessen the unknown and help them understand what they’re getting into. If they have further questions, be sure to answer them as honestly as possible. If you need help explaining to them in clear and comforting language, you can search for images online to help them visualize the process better.

Play Games or Read Stories Involving Dentists

Other than communicating with your kids, you can also relieve their stress or anxiety by playing games or reading stories about dentists in the safety and comfort of your home. You can roleplay dentist visits with the help of toolkits to give them a glimpse of what goes on inside the dental office. Alternatively, you can also read fun storybooks about children visiting the dentist to help ease their anxiety. 

Use Positive Reinforcement

If there’s one thing you need to avoid, it’s using dental procedures as threats to encourage good oral hygiene. While it may seem useful at first, it may cause your kids to develop a fear of the dentist. Instead, try to use positive reinforcement to entice them to practice proper oral hygiene. 

For instance, you can have a reward system for every time they finish their teeth cleaning routine. Whether that’s extra 20 minutes of screen time or buying them their favorite toy, having something to look forward to can be a great motivator for kids.

Bring a Toy Every Time You Visit

Bringing their favorite stuffed animal or toy to the clinic can be an added layer of comfort and support for your kids. The stuffy can act as their friend in times of fear and stress. 

Visit a Pediatric Dentist

To ensure that your child gets the best oral care possible, be sure to visit a pediatric dentist near you. Unlike regular dentists, pediatric dentists have more knowledge and experience in dealing with children. Hence, they are more equipped at easing their worries and relieving their anxiety. 

Want to learn how you can find the best pediatric dentist for your kids, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Get recommendations from friends and other parents
  • Check their qualifications and reviews
  • Schedule a consultation

Pediatric dentists are trained in providing the care your developing kids need to achieve the best oral health. From oral hygiene instructions, check-ups and cleanings, and dietary counseling to preventive sealants and digital x-rays, you can get the treatment you need to ensure your kid’s teeth, gums, and mouth are in optimal condition. 

Should your child require more serious dental work, pediatric dentists are also trained in sedation. 

Sedation Dentistry Options To Calm Children

Although some parents have concerns about the use of sedation during dental procedures, know that this option is completely safe and effective. There are two main options to choose from, so to help you get a better idea, we’ll discuss the choices in more detail below. 

  • Monitored Anesthesia Care: For children who are younger or more anxious, a pediatric dentist may opt for monitored anesthesia care where an anesthesiologist injects an IV to directly inject sedatives into their bloodstream. 

Find the Best Pediatric Dentist at Bay Area Kids Dentists

Want to find the best children’s dentist for your children? Look no further than Bay Area Kids Dentists. We have board-certified pediatric dentists who are trained to examine and treat children in the safest and most comfortable way possible.

With our expertise in handling infants, children, teens, and those with special needs, Bay Area Kids Dentists have the equipment needed to ensure that every child receives the care they need. 

Book an appointment today and start your child’s oral care journey with Bay Area Kids Dentists.

How To Help Brush Your Toddler’s Teeth

How To Help Brush Your Toddler’s Teeth

toddlers brushing teeth

A common mistake parents make is assuming that caring for their child’s baby teeth isn’t important because they fall out eventually anyway. What caregivers don’t realize is that losing a baby tooth too soon or developing tooth decay early can have a major effect on the health of future adult teeth. That’s why we at Bay Area Kids Dentist place so much emphasis on how to brush kids’ teeth.


It’s Never Too Early to Start

A good oral healthcare routine starts long before your baby’s first tooth erupts. It’s important to clean the gums to remove the residue of breast milk or formula as well as baby food. To do this, just rub a damp cloth over your baby’s gums several times a day.


Most children have their first tooth appear around six months of age. We recommend scheduling your baby’s first appointment with us by the time he or she turns one or has had teeth for at least six months. This helps to get your baby off to the best possible start with oral health.


Also, families without dental insurance and/or access to quality dental care are found to be more likely to develop cavities. If you’re concerned about your child’s oral health, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We offer a sliding scale for payment and accept a number of dental insurance plans.


When to Start Brushing

Once your baby’s teeth start coming in, you can begin brushing them with a grain of rice-sized amount of toothpaste up to age 3 and a pea-sized amount after 3 years old, with a soft bristled toothbrush. Be sure to use a fluoride toothpaste that has the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Approval. You can usually tell if a product has the ADA Seal if it says so on the packaging.


For best results, have your toddler use a soft bristled toothbrush with the recommended amount of toothpaste. Rub the brush in gentle circular motions against your toddler’s teeth and gum line at a 45-degree angle. Make sure to brush the inside of each tooth and use a back-and-forth motion on the chewing surfaces of molars. Finally, once your toddler is done brushing, have them spit out the toothpaste.


You should brush your toddler’s teeth at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. It is best if you can brush after every meal, but at least brush after the last meal of the day. If your toddler is resistant to brushing their teeth, there are a few things you can do to make the process easier:

● Let them choose their toothbrush and toothpaste. There are many kid-friendly options available that will make brushing more fun.
● Remind your child to brush teeth gently and not to swallow the toothpaste.
● Try singing a song while you brush or let them watch you brush your own teeth. Make sure they see you brushing your teeth, so they know that it is important.
● Be patient and understanding, it may take some time for them to get used to the process.


If you have any questions about how to care for your toddler’s teeth, be sure to ask us or schedule an appointment so we can help you look after your kid’s teeth and gums in the best possible way.


Teach by Example

We advise parents to brush their child’s teeth with a toddler-sized toothbrush until around the age of two. It’s fine to use the toothbrush with only water until your child has the ability to spit toothpaste out and rinse his or her mouth. Because your child looks to you to set an example, be sure to demonstrate how you brush your own teeth and act enthusiastic about it. To prepare for independent tooth brushing, try brushing your child’s teeth and then request him or her to repeat the process alone.


When you think your toddler is ready, allow him or her the chance to try tooth brushing independently. Instruct your child to spend at least a few seconds scrubbing each tooth in a circular motion.
You can even count 1-2-3 for each tooth. Offer plenty of praise and remember that your toddler will probably make a lot of mistakes before mastering tooth brushing for good. You will probably want to continue supervising the process until early elementary school to ensure quality results.


What Are the Risks of Not Brushing Your Toddler’s Teeth?

Again, the misconception that baby teeth are temporary and not important leads many parents to believe that there are no risks associated with not brushing their child’s teeth. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Just like permanent teeth, baby teeth are susceptible to decay and cavities.


If left untreated, cavities can cause pain, infection, and even tooth loss. In addition, poor oral health has been linked to problems with eating and speaking, as well as issues with self-esteem. When your child grows up and their baby teeth fall out, their permanent teeth may be affected. They might come in crooked or crowded or have other issues if their baby teeth were not properly cared for.


Therefore, it’s very important to start teaching your toddler how to brush their teeth as soon as they get their first tooth. Not only will this help them develop good oral hygiene habits, but it will also set the foundation for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Taking a proactive approach to your child’s dental health will pay off in the long run.


The Bottom Line

Taking good care of your kid’s teeth is important for their overall health — and it starts with you. As a parent or caregiver, you can help your toddler brush their teeth and develop good dental habits by leading by example and being patient.


If you are looking for more tips, or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Bay Area Kids Dentist. We are always happy to help. We are always just one call away and we are always willing to go the extra mile for our patients.