52 LONGISLANDPRESS.COM • FEBRUARY 2018 52 LONGISLANDPRESS.COM • SEPTEMBER 2017 52 LONGISLANDPRESS.CO M • SEPTEMBER 201-----------TUTU111
Your child’s smile should beam
with happiness and confidence.
When it comes to dental health, it’s
never too early to start instilling
good dental hygiene to ensure that
your child’s primary and adult
teeth will be healthy, strong and
free of decay or disease.
“Developing a good hygiene
routine will follow you through to
adulthood,” says Dr. Nazli Diba,
pediatric dentist at Tooth Docs Dental
in Roslyn. And the best way to help
your child attain a healthy smile is to
become educated, active participants
in their dental health care.
Since February is National
Children’s Dental Health Month,
there’s no time like the present to
make sure your little one is on the
Start with your child’s
Teeth can appear at three months,
six months or after their first birthday.
Every child is different, says
Dr. Diba, although typically by one
year, babies can sport eight. But
those need to be taken care of from
With one or two teeth, rubbing
gently with a soft cloth will suffice
so breast milk, bottle milk or food
does not sit throughout the night,
which could lead to cavities or
tooth decay, warns Dr. Diba. As
more teeth arrive, use a toothbrush
with a soft bristle and let the good
brushing habits begin!
Bring your child to
a pediatric dentist
by age one
While you’re planning
your child’s first birthday
party, make that dental
appointment, too! That
entails a comfy cuddle on
their parent’s lap as the
dentist performs a thorough
checkup, cleaning and fluoride
treatment, explains Dr. Diba. By
five years old, your child’s dentist
may want to start annual x-rays to
check for hidden decay.
Follow up every six months
Baby teeth may be little, but they
are super important, says Dr. Mindy
Homer, pediatric dentist at Happy
KiDDS Pediatric Dentistry in
“Most parents do not realize that
the primary baby molars do not
fall out until age 11 or 12,” she says.
“However, those teeth erupt into
the mouth around 15-24 months...
A child’s mouth is constantly
changing. Spaces are closing, which
can increase their cavity risk. Teeth
are falling out.”
Visiting the dentist every six
months can detect cavities early.
Placing sealants on
can prevent future
cavities. If there
is a cavity,
treatment that doesn’t involve an
anesthetic will most likely take care
Watch for warning signs
White spots on the teeth may be a sign
of “demineralization,” says Dr. Homer.
This happens when the “plaque and
bacteria have begun to erode the
enamel and remove the calcium.”
The good news is, “A trained eye”
can identify it before it becomes a
“If it is caught early, it can be
reversed,” decreasing the need for
antibiotics, extraction or nerve
treatment, Dr. Homer says.
Practice good oral hygiene
Teeth must be brushed twice daily,
once after breakfast and once
at bedtime. Both manual and
with soft bristles are
effective, says Dr.
in a circular motion, being careful
to cover each tooth. Don’t neglect
“Eighty-five percent of bacteria
sits on the back of the tongue and
contributes to bad breath,” says Dr.
One to two minutes of good
brushing should do the trick. To
prevent interproximal cavities or
cavities in between teeth, floss. No
snacking after nighttime brushing,
especially milk, Dr. Diba warns.
Your child is safe with water.
Eat a healthy,
Most people see only sugary foods
as cavity culprits, but even healthy
treats — raisins, fruit snacks, dried
fruit — can be harmful, as they
tend to get stuck in the teeth, Dr.
Homer warns. Go for the chocolate
or ice cream instead and try to
avoid juice, another big cavity
contributor, Dr. Homer suggests.
Water is best, she adds, as “it is
very neutralizing. The pH of the
mouth needs to be acidic in order
for a cavity to develop. The more
water you drink, the more you
neutralize the acidity.”
Practice due diligence
“You don’t inherit cavities,” says
Dr. Homer. “Vertical transmission
of bacteria takes place as a child is
acquiring teeth. The research shows
that the caregiver who spends the
most time with the child after
birth tends to infect the child with
his/her bacteria...Most people
don’t know if they have received
good or bad bacteria from their
caregivers,” so the focus should be
on preventative measures, she says.
Get rid of harmful bacteria with
“good oral hygiene practices, a
healthy diet and regular dental
The more you educate yourself, the
better chance your child has to
enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth.
Helping your kids achieve
a lifetime of healthy smiles
By MICHELLE GABRIELLE CENTAMORE