Getting Ready for Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist

There are a lot of milestones to experience during a child’s first few years of life. Heading to the dentist isn’t one most parents think much about until the day arrives.

When Is the Right Time?

Most dental professionals agree that a child should make their first trip to the dentist around age 1, or around the time his or her first tooth erupts. This helps the dentist check things out early to avoid problems in the future, create a relationship with the young patient and help establish dental visits as part of a child’s normal routine.

What Dentist Should I Choose?

You may love your dentist, but think about what his/her office may look like to a small child. Most adult dentists are not equipped to handle small children or their dental needs. Their equipment is too big, the atmosphere is too adult-like and the staff isn’t properly trained for dealing with young ones.
Instead, choose a dental office that caters to the young and growing patient. Look for a kid-friendly office (one that is bright and cheery) that offers specialized services for children and who knows how to build a friendly rapport with young patients.

Preparing Your Child for the Big Day

Kids tend to feel anxious when they think their parents are anxious, so don’t make a big deal about your child’s first dental visit. Sure, talk about it with them, but don’t get too excited and be careful about the words you use when describing the visit. Never say “it won’t hurt.” That will only set an expectation that it will.
Here are some tips for getting ready for the big day:

  • Take small children to the office with older siblings. That way the environment will be more familiar to them.
  • Practice opening wide in front of a mirror. Kids love to show off, so explain that the dentist wants to see their beautiful teeth.
  • Read a book once or twice that explains a dental visit with your child a few days (or weeks, or both!) before the visit.

Once You Arrive

Be calm and nonchalant when driving to the office for your appointment. Be on time, but don’t be too early to avoid having to wait too long.
Most children’s dentists have waiting rooms filled with toys, books, video games, etc. Allow your child to explore. This will help alleviate any stress and make the appointment more fun.

At Playtime Dental, we understand that preparing yourself and your child for such a big milestone can seem stressful. By catering to young and growing patients, we know exactly how to make your first (and subsequent) visits as easy and enjoyable as possible. Be sure to talk with our staff about what you can do to make your child’s first dental visit as smooth as possible.

Basic FAQs About Fluoride for Children

Only a handful of people have issues with fluoride. There’s no question that it reduces the risk of tooth decay with children, though. In this blog post, we’ll try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions we get about fluoride use. 

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride isn’t manufactured by some chemical process in an industrial laboratory setting. It’s a mineral. It’s found in our soil, water and even in some of our foods. Fluoride doesn’t just prevent tooth decay either, in some cases it can even reverse it.

How Do We Get Fluoride to Protect Our Teeth?

In most cities in the United States, fluoride is used as a preventative public health measure in drinking water, so that’s one way. Plus, nearly all toothpastes contain fluoride. It’s also found in a variety of over-the-counter oral health products. Dentists also use fluoride in specific dental applications.

Why Would My Child Need Fluoride?

We know that kids love sugar, but even when they are careful to limit their sugar intake, our mouths are still littered with bacteria. When sugar and our natural bacteria combine, acid forms and tooth enamel is damaged. That begins the degradation of the teeth. Fluoride works to prevent a child’s teeth from becoming damaged by acid. It can even reverse tooth decay in its early stages.

What if Our Town Doesn’t Have Fluoridated Water?

If fluoridated water isn’t available in your area, it’s likely that your child will be at a higher risk of tooth decay. You’ll want to talk with your family dentist, who can arrange for fluoride drops or treatments for your child.

When Should We Begin Using Fluoride With Our Child?

A little smear of toothpaste can be used on a toothbrush once the first tooth erupts. As other teeth begin erupting, there shouldn’t be any issues with gently brushing. Don’t use too much toothpaste, though. You don’t want fluorosis to set in. If it does, and it’s on baby teeth it will be there until the adult teeth push the baby teeth out.

Fluoride is an important supplement in maintaining your child’s dental health, but it must be carefully monitored. Your child should have his or her first dental visit when that first tooth erupts. That’s one of the first steps in establishing proper oral hygiene and quality overall health. Contact us at Playtime Dental by calling 419-774-PLAY. We’ve treated children of all ages and would be happy to help your little one with his or her dental care. 

How Much Sugar is in These Popular Drinks?

Taking care of your child’s teeth is another aspect of the love you provide as a parent. However, with so many options available on store shelves, it’s not always easy to know what foods and drinks are harmful to children’s developing teeth. Here’s a look at several common types of beverages and how much sugar they contain. High sugar drinks could be contributing to the cavities your child’s dentist finds during periodic examinations.

Soft Drinks

Cola drinks have been a staple of American snacking for decades, but these drinks are high in sugar content. A 20-ounce soda contains 65 grams of sugar. That’s enough sugar to do significant damage to teeth, as well as create problems with weight and blood sugar levels.

Sports Drinks

Sports drinkshave become a popular option for active people. However, these drinks contain high amounts of sugar, about 21 grams in a 12-ounce glass, which can contribute to weight problems and tooth decay.

Fruit Juices

A 16-ounce glass of fruit juice such as apple or orange juice contains 48 to 52 grams of sugar. Although fruit juices have other nutritional benefits, the amount of sugar can be damaging to teeth if children drink it throughout the day.

Iced Tea Drinks

Commercially sold iced tea drinks contain up to 51 grams of sugar, which can damage teeth and create weight problems when consumed throughout the day. Depending on the flavorings added to the tea, the amount of sugar could be even higher. 


The amount of sugar in lemonades can vary widely. Homemade lemonade can be adjusted to provide less sugar and a more tart flavor. Commercially sold lemonade can have up to 67 grams of sugar, which can inhibit appetite, add empty calories and damage tooth enamel.


Milk is one of the less damaging beverages for children’s teeth, generally containing about 11 grams of sugar. For those who avoid dairy products, soy milk contains 8 grams of sugar, while almond milk contains about 7 grams of sugar.
When children ask for something to drink, the best beverage you can offer them is water, which is free of sugar and additives and helps to flush debris and bacteria from their teeth. Avoid sugary drinks as much as possible! 

If you’re concerned your child might have a cavity or if it’s time to schedule his or her next cleaning, give Playtime Dental a call

What Causes Bad Breath in Children?

When you think of baby breath you think of something delicate, airy and sweetly pleasant. But in reality, that’s not always what you get. 

Even healthy children sometimes experience bad breath. But if your son or daughter has persistent bad breath, it could point to improper dental hygiene. 

Common Causes of Bad Breath

The first and most obvious cause of bad breath in children, as in anyone, is unhealthy oral habits. You should teach your child from a very young age to always brush their teeth and tongue so that bacteria does not build up and bad odors are prevented.  

Let your child know that brushing the tongue is just as important as brushing the teeth. Supervise the brushing to make sure they are doing a good job.  Make sure children know from early on that regular care of the mouth is a normal part of each day.

Eating foods that have strong odors can also cause bad breath. If children are brushing regularly after every meal, this will help with that problem, regardless of what is consumed.

If your child is sick, there are two possible sources of bad breath — the medicine he or she is taking, or the infection/condition itself.

Check your child’s mouth regularly to make sure they don’t have any cavities, sores in the mouth or plaque build-up, all of which can contribute to bad breath.

Preventing Bad Breath 

It is the saddest thing to see a very young child with stained or rotting teeth. This is something that might affect them for a lifetime and could have been prevented with proper care. 

Don’t wait until your child has an obvious problem before acting. Take your children to the dentist now. Teach them that their dentist, just like Officer Friendly, is indeed their friend.  

You should encourage children to floss daily and take good care of their teeth so they can proudly brag when they visit their dentist and look forward to getting a new toothbrush.

The routine at Playtime Dental is designed to make your child’s visit fun and entertaining. If your child needs a dentist appointment, give our office a call today. We are currently accepting new patients!

Should Children Floss Before or After they Brush?

To floss or not to floss is not the question. We all know children need to get on board with flossing.  If you are wondering why your kids should floss, when they should floss, and/or how often they should floss, here are some things your child’s dentist wants you to know.

How Soon Should Children Start Flossing?

How soon should children start flossing?  As soon as they have two teeth touching each other, because that is when food particles start getting stuck between teeth.  

They will probably need your help until age 10 or 11 because children do not typically get good hand-eye coordination until around the ages of 8-10 and they might not get all the food particles.  When they’re older, they’ll also have the manual dexterity to do a good job.

Why Do Children Need to Floss? 

Simply put, our children need to floss to prevent cavity and gum disease.  Plaque that isn’t removed by flossing and brushing can harden and cause problematic tartar also known as, calculus.

Is There an Ideal Time to Floss? 

Decisions, decisions, decisions.  You may have heard that old song, “The Night Time is the Right Time!”  That may be the “right time” to be with the one you love, as the song says, but is there a right time or a wrong time to floss?  

Should children floss before or after they brush their teeth? Surprisingly, more people floss before they brush than after. They’re probably thinking if they get little food particles out by flossing, then they can brush and gargle them away. However, many dentists say it doesn’t matter.  

The important thing is that your children do floss every time they brush. So how often should they brush? Twice daily is normally recommended. However, if your child wants to be fanatic about something, brushing and flossing more often won’t hurt.

Just make sure that when you’re teaching your child to floss that you teach him or her to throw the floss away after using it and don’t save it for later. They might be “saving” bacteria, which will get back on their teeth when they floss the next time.

Act Now 

If you haven’t begun to educate your children on maintaining a healthy mouth, start now! If it’s time for your child’s next dental appointment, call our office today to schedule a visit with Playtime Dental. 

Five Things Parents Need to Know About Teething

Of all your baby’s milestones, one of the most exciting is the arrival of the first baby tooth. Teething occurs when the first baby tooth begins breaking through the baby’s gums. You may not know what to expect during this time in your baby’s life, so we’ve put together a list of the five things you need to know when it comes to teething. 

1. When Teething Begins

The lower front baby teeth usually come in first. One to two months later, the upper front teeth make their appearance. This phase usually begins at about six months but it can be anytime between three and 12 months. All the primary teeth should come in by age 3.

2. Signs of Teething

Drooling is typical when baby teeth come. Keep a bib handy to wipe the chin to avoid chapping. Drooling may cause the development of a rash or redness. Have some Vaseline or skin cream handy. 

Your baby may be irritable and cranky, and may not want to eat because of sore gums. You might find your baby pulling his or her ears and rubbing his or her cheeks during the teething process. Because of the discomfort of teething, your baby’s sleep pattern may be disrupted as well. 

Swollen gums during teething may cause a low-grade fever.  However, if a high fever or diarrhea does occur, contact your child’s physician for an appointment because these symptoms are probably caused by something else. 

3. Teething Pain Relief 

If your baby is getting fussy because of teething, these remedies might help: 

  • Teething ring. This is a baby product used to soothe the gums, something a baby can gnaw and rub against the gums. Shop carefully for a safe product.
  • Cold, wet wash cloth. Parents can cover their finger with the wash cloth and apply soft pressure to the baby’s gums.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers. Ask your dentist for a recommendation.

4. Caring for New Teeth 

Once those teeth start coming in, it’s time to buy your baby’s first toothbrush. Take time to clean the teeth after each feeding. This is the first step in establishing lifelong good dental habits for your child.  This is also the time for your baby’s first trip to the dentist to get recommendations for proper care. 

Encourage Children to Follow Bike Safety Tips

Now that spring has rolled around, it is time to turn our attention to outdoor activities. The warm April weather means our little ones will head outside with their bikes and engage in all sorts of activities with their friends.

April also represents National Facial Protection Month. Too many people think that facial injuries predominantly occur when engaging in contact sports. The truth is that your children are quite vulnerable on their bicycles as well.

The Importance of a Helmet

Bike helmets have become so important that the federal government has instituted safety standards for their design and function. Do not let your child use a bike helmet that does not have a sticker stating it complies with the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Demand that your kids wear their helmets at all times when riding their bikes. Do not let them get away with a helmet-less ride even if it is just down the street to their friend’s place.

Furthermore, inspect the helmet as it rests on your child’s head to ensure that it fits properly. If you and your child are not sure if it fits right, do not hesitate to consult with an expert at a bike store.

Choose the Right Size Bike

Too many parents think that a hand-me-down bike will suffice for their young one. Don’t try to cut corners by forcing your child to ride a bike that is not the ideal size. A properly sized bike will help keep your child safe and sound.

Have your child stand so that he or she straddles the top bar of the bike with both feet flat on the ground. If there is not an inch to three inches of space between the top bar and your child, the bike is the wrong size. Also, check to make sure that the seat, wheels and handlebars all fit nice and snug.

Perform Regular Bike Maintenance

Bikes require maintenance just like automobiles. Check your child’s bike chain on a regular basis to determine if it requires additional oil. Verify that the bike’s brakes are functioning as designed. Sticking brakes can lead to a nasty accident that leaves your child bruised, bloodied or worse.

Also, be sure to inspect the tires on your child’s bike on a regular basis. The tires should have ample air along with the proper tire pressure.

Playtime Dental is Here for Your Kids

The dental experts here at Playtime Dental are just as concerned about your child’s teeth as you are. If Playtime Dental does not care for your little one’s dental needs and you have any interest in a new dentist, look no further. We provide a child-friendly dental environment that your little one will like. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment by dialing 419-774-PLAY.

Learn How to Protect Your Teeth this Winter

Learn How to Protect Your Teeth this Winter

As the temperature drops throughout the fall, it reminds us that winter is on the way.  Along with fall and winter comes the holidays that bring lots of tasty treats that everybody loves to graze upon.  Not only do we eat more treats during the winter holidays, but there are more events and activities during the winter that can be dangerous for your oral health.  Along with avoiding the cold toes and achy bones of winter, it is also important to visit your general dentist for a winter check-up.  Here are a few tips to help you prevent some common oral health problems during the cold season.

Winter Sports

Winter sports, such as ice hockey, skiing, sledding and ice skating can be just as dangerous for your teeth as summer sports. You or the kids can easily chip or knock out a tooth (or two) from slipping on the ice or getting hit in the mouth with a hockey puck. One of the best ways to prevent damage to the teeth is to wear a mouth guard when playing winter sports. 

Tooth Sensitivity

The cold air may cause your teeth to become extra sensitive. Sensitivity in teeth usually causes a throbbing feeling and/or pain inside your mouth and the areas of your face around your mouth.  When you are cold, your teeth may chatter, which may weaken the enamel on your teeth.  Keeping warm is essential for your body to function properly and to help teeth feel less sensitivity from chattering. Wear the appropriate winter clothing for winter activities and sip a cup of warm sugar-free tea to help you stay warm.

Colds and Flu

It is almost impossible to avoid getting a cold or the flu during the winter. Unfortunately, getting sick not only makes you feel miserable, but it also affects your eating habits and your oral health habits. When you’re sick and tired, nothing may sound good at meal times.  This can cause you to avoid eating healthy meals and forgetting to brush afterwards.  Some cold medications may contain sugar and can cause your mouth to become dry, which increases the bacteria that causes tooth decay.  On the days when you don’t feel like eating, avoid snacking and instead try to eat a bowl of vegetable soup, drink plenty of water and get your rest.

Whether you are experiencing tooth sensitivity or need an appointment with the kid’s dentist to have them fitted for a mouth guard, contact us, so we can help keep your smile safe and beautiful this winter.

Learn How Xylitol Can Help Children’s Teeth

There’s a new “sugar” on the market, and it’s one you won’t have to worry about your kids getting their hands on. It’s called xylitol, a naturally occurring carbohydrate that looks and tastes like regular sugar. But since it’s not actually sugar, it won’t cause cavities in your children’s teeth. In fact, Xylitol has been approved by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) for reducing the risk of cavities in younger children.

What is Xylitol?

So we’ve already said xylitol is a naturally occurring carbohydrate, but where does it come from? Xylitol can be found in most of the fruits and vegetables that we eat on a daily basis, just in small amounts. In fact, it even occurs naturally in our bodies, with the average size adult manufacturing up to 15 grams of xylitol per day. For commercial purposes, however, manufacturers extract xylitol from corncobs or trees. In its pure form, xylitol takes the form of a white crystalline substance that looks and tastes like sugar.

How is it used?

There are several ways you can use xylitol. You can use its pure crystalline form as a sweetener, whether you’re pouring it over your child’s cereal or sprinkling it on some fresh strawberries. Xylitol can also be found in several oral care products, such as toothpaste and mouthwash. There are even xylitol gums and mints. Dental experts recommend children use a 100 percent xylitol product 6-7 times per day whether it is a mint or chewing gum containing xylitol.  The frequency of use is more important than the amount used and products containing less than 100 percent are not effective enough to help the dentition.

Benefits of Xylitol

There are many benefits of Xylitol that have been proven to help the oral health of kids when their teeth are still developing. Tooth decay occurs due to bacteria in the mouth multiplying and then releasing an acid that causes the tooth to weaken (demineralize) and decay. Unfortunately brushing and flossing only temporarily remove bacteria from the teeth.
Xylitol acts like a deterrent for these bacteria and keeps the acid levels down. In addition to reducing the risk of tooth decay, it also reduces plaque formation and increases the flow of saliva to aid in the repair of damaged tooth enamel.
If there are early signs of tooth decay in children less than five, it is a good idea to seek the help of a kids’ dentist. Those who cater to the young and growing will be able to focus better on the dental needs of a child than someone who only treats adults. Overall, keeping good dental hygiene and brushing twice a day will reduce the risk of cavities and Xylitol can supplement that to prevent the acid formation. Simple ways like this are better paths to take than dental work in the future.

Ideas on How to Make Oral Hygiene Fun For Kids

For some kids, brushing and flossing is like a chore that they do once in the morning and once at night. However, it doesn’t have to be this way! Making oral hygiene fun can have lasting effects and can even make kids take an interest in keeping their mouths clean and healthy.

There’s an App For That

It’s recommended that a child brushes his or her teeth for two minutes. A fun way to make sure they get the full two minutes in is to use a brushing app that plays a song for two minutes and have your child brush as long as the music is playing. Pick something they like and will make them want to stay there the entire time. A smile on their face while brushing will make the time pass faster. Also, if the song is something they really enjoy they might even look forward to the next time they get to brush.

Visits from the Tooth Fairy 

Every child is different when it comes to losing teeth.  Some kids love the idea of losing teeth because that means they are growing up!  Others don’t like losing teeth because eating can become uncomfortable until the tooth falls out.  A good way to make this fun is by using the story of the tooth fairy. Tell your child a new tooth will grow back soon but the tooth fairy will come and give some money in exchange for the tooth that has come out.  This is a great opportunity to talk about brushing and flossing.  Explain that the tooth fairy loves to see teeth in good shape so she knows that the child is doing a good job brushing and flossing.   I have had some parents say the tooth fairy does not bring money for teeth with cavities that come out!

Prize Winning Teeth 

A kids’ dentist can show children what can happen to their teeth if they don’t brush.  Some dentists even give prizes for good oral hygiene or a good visit.  If your child’s dentist doesn’t give out toys, perhaps you could find a small way to reward them for their good oral report.  A reward system, such as a brushing and flossing chart with stickers, is a great way for children to get motivated.  Then on the chart, have a spot for the six month check-ups that has a special sticker or reward to be given for a good visit.  Oral hygiene doesn’t have to be a difficult task every day.  Just by making brushing and flossing into something fun, you could see an improvement in the oral health.