Benefits to choosing that perfect toothbrush: to a lifelong, healthy smile

December 18th, 2019

Tooth decay can begin as early as age 1. Children with tooth decay are far more likely to develop immediate and long-term oral health issues, including pain, infections difficulty speaking, problems eating food, tooth discoloration and even tooth loss. At Little Smiles, we can guide you with preventive dental care facts and with choosing the perfect toothbrush that best benefits your child’s needs.

Birth to 2 years old: Perfect Guide to preparing your child for the teeth cleaning that is to come

Can you believe choosing the right toothbrush begins before your child’s teeth erupt? It begins right at birth! From the time we’re young, we’re taught that using a toothbrush regularly is one of the best ways to keep our teeth and gums healthy. But which toothbrush is best?
When a child is an infant, they first explore the world through their mouths, right? You may even start to notice this at the age of four months old.  At Little Smiles, we suggest parents start from birth introducing your baby’s mouth and gums with a soft cloth or infant toothbrush at bath time.
If they are ready to move on from the cloth, you could introduce your child with a silicon finger toothbrush. This can be done by presenting him or her in a fun way with an infant silicon toy that has soft bristles on it, like a baby banana shaped toothbrush. Or you could also choose to use the silicon finger toothbrush can be used to gently massage his or her gums.

Remember, tooth brushing is something you want your child to eventually participate in daily. The earlier you introduce the process in a fun, stress-free manner the more likely your child will participate later in life without hesitation.



Bottle feeding and teething: how it affects your baby’s teeth

At Little Smiles, we suggest if your baby is given a bottle when going to sleep, try to use nothing but water. If bottles contain any sugary liquids or carbohydrates such as milk, formula or fruit juice, it can put teeth under attack from bacterial acid all night long. If choosing to give that last bottle of milk, be sure to not forget to use a soft cloth or infant toothbrush before going to bed.

Teething is a big deal! When giving your baby a teething ring, we recommend using a firm rubber teething ring to chew on. This helps with any discomfort and potential pain of TEETHING. Avoid liquid-filled teething rings, or any plastic objects that might break. Remember if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask our Little Smiles team to help maintain a lifelong healthy smile!

2-5 years old guide to a healthy smile:

Did you know the most important time to brush your child’s teeth is right before bedtime? Although, you must remember to brush your child’s teeth at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. That last thorough brush at night is the most important. Keeping up with your child’s dental visit every six months is also a great way to keep away those little sugar bugs and helps remove and control tartar. In the meantime, keeping up with good oral hygiene habits at home is very important!

Starting at the age of 2 is the perfect age to choosing that perfect toothbrush. It’s fun at this age! Around this age, parents may be wondering whether a high-tech powered toothbrush may be more effective in cleaning children’s teeth than a manual toothbrush. Let me tell you, electric toothbrushes are fun and exciting. Many children love them because of its powered rotation and parents believe electric toothbrushes are more efficient and clean teeth quicker than the manual version. It is all in what your child’s need’s may be. Remember, every child is different!

Electric toothbrushes vs manual

The American Dental Association recommends soft-bristle brushes and to replace your toothbrush at least every three to four months or more often if bristles are visibly matted or frayed. It is very important you make sure you choose a toothbrush that’s the right size for your child’s mouth and avoid hard bristles that can irritate your child’s gums.

Choosing the perfect toothbrush is a lot of fun! Electric toothbrushes are fun and exciting! Many Children love them because of its powered rotation, music, timer, or even fun lights the electric toothbrush may feature. Parent’s believe that the electric toothbrush are more efficient and clean teeth quicker than the manual version.

Although, powered toothbrushes are fun and exciting for children, we believe that both manual and powered toothbrushes are effective at removing plaque. However, studies have shown certain types of powered toothbrushes with rotation oscillation movement to be more effective. This means bristles go around and round, back and forth.

If you clean your teeth regularly using proper brushing technique, you should be able to reduce plaque build-up and keep your gums healthy with either manual or powered toothbrush. Here are some benefits to both toothbrushes!



5 Benefits to using Electric toothbrush:

  • Breaks up plaque and rotates to clear it away
  • Removes more plaque along gum line
  • Different modes to cleaning: Deep cleaning, whitening, sensitivity, tongue cleaning
  • Does the work for you
  • Timer: 2 minute brush seeing


If your child tends to brush too vigorously, which can damage your gums and teeth, a powered toothbrush may make it easier for your child to be gentle on their gums and teeth and get them clean all at the same time.


Manual Toothbrushes

Manual toothbrushes may not have all the bells and whistles found in many electric toothbrushes; they are still an effective tool for cleaning your child’s teeth. We all know the manual toothbrush has been around for a long time.


Benefits manual toothbrushes

  •  Does not need to be charged to function
  •  You can use a manual anywhere and at anytime
  •  Affordable
  •  You can find them anywhere

Most importantly, when it comes down to it, the best toothbrush for you is going to be the one you’re most likely to use and use well. Some children may not like the vibrating feeling of a powered toothbrush. Other children might find an electric variety easier to use to clean all tooth surfaces. If your child enjoys using his or her toothbrush, they are more likely to brush for the recommended time of two minutes. Some powered varieties even have built in timer to let you know when you’ve devoted enough time to brushing.



Early introduction can lead to a stress free, battle free tooth brushing later! Getting your children involved in the process and excited about a new toothbrush may make tooth brushing a more enjoyable task. At Little Smiles, we can help you choose that right toothbrush that best fits your child. If you have any question, concerns, you can always contact us at Little Smiles!



How to help break your child's thumb sucking habits

July 29th, 2019

Thumb sucking is a soothing, reflexive behavior, a natural reflex for infants and young children and most children stop on their own. It begins in the womb, before birth. Infants and babies often continue this relaxing practice after birth, which often helps to soothe them into sleep.

Effects of thumb sucking on your child’s teeth and mouth

Parents often worry about the effects of what thumb sucking will mean for your child. When a child continues sucking after they have teeth, it can lead to "crooked" teeth and bite problems ,affecting both baby teeth and permanent teeth.


Thumb sucking may cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and alignment of the teeth, causing the upper front teeth to tip outward and the upper jaw to narrow in the back. The roof of the mouth can also see changes due to this behavior, that makes intervention necessary in some cases to ensure a child is still able to chew properly.

Although, some of this can be fixed with braces, it can also cause speech problems such as a lisp that may need to be corrected in therapy. Below you will find a few ways thumb sucking affects your child's teeth.


Ways thumb sucking can affect your child’s teeth

  • Thumb sucking and the impact it will cause to a child’s alignment-When your child’s teeth grow in, it is normal for the upper teeth to overlap the lower teeth. However, a child’s thumb puts extra pressure on the gums and it can keep the teeth from erupting in the right position for a proper bite.


  • How thumb sucking affects a child's bite- An open bite is a common problem when it comes to thumb-suckers. This is when the upper teeth do not cover the lower teeth when child is biting down. Another common problem is a posterior crossbite. This is caused by a narrow palate because of the pressure created by the habit. When a crossbite is present the outer part of the upper molars bite in the center of the lowers.


  •  Speech issues -Thumb sucking can cause speech issues. Lisp is another problem that children may encounter and find difficult to overcome.


  • Tongue thrusting - When a child suck their thumb for an extended period of time, he/she can develop a secondary habit call tongue thrusting. The child move the tongue forward when swallowing and speaking. Even after stopping thumb sucking, a child will continue with this habit creating long term speech problems, swallowing difficulties and abnormal development of the jaw.


According to the American Dental Association, most children stop thumb-sucking somewhere between 2 and 4 years of age or by the time the permanent teeth are ready to erupt. At this time it could be to late.


Encouraging ways to approach your child to stop thumb sucking

  • Use positive reinforcement: praise your child or provide a small reward such as, an extra bedtime story, a trip to the park or placing stickers on a calendar to record the days when your child successfully avoids thumb sucking.
  • Offer gentle reminders
  • Focus on praising your child when they are not thumb-sucking
  • Children often suck their thumbs when feeling insecure or needing comfort. Focus on correcting the cause of the anxiety and provide comfort to your child.
  • For an older child, involve him or her in choosing their method of stopping.
  • Come up with creative ways to help your child understand that he is growing up and one day wont suck his thumb anymore.

If your concerned about the effect of thumb-sucking on your child's teeth. At little smiles we are here to help and answer any of your concerns.


What to do if nothing works?

Don't worry! For some children, thumb sucking is an incredibly difficult habit to break. Try not to worry, if putting too much pressure on your child to stop thumb sucking it could only delay the process.


In some occasions a appliance called habit breaker is necessary to stop a thumb or finger sucking habit. This is a passive appliance that is placed on the roof the mouth that blocks their fingers from being placed on the palate. Most of the time, a fix appliance (glue to the back molars) requires little maintenance. The habit breaker is placed for a minimum of 3 months. If you have any questions, please give us a call, and we can determine if a habit breaker is right for your child.

Parent’s time to get creative “bye-bye pacifier”

Did you know that, pacifiers can affect your child's teeth essentially the same way as sucking fingers and thumbs? The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends a pacifier over a thumb to comfort new babies since a pacifier is easier to break at an earlier age.


At little smiles, we believe frequent pacifier use over a longer period of time can affect the way a child’s teeth bite together and the growth of the jaw. The upper teeth may tip outward or become crooked and other changes in tooth position or jaw alignment could occur. The earlier a child can stop a sucking habit, the less chance there is that it will lead to orthodontic problems down the road.


What should you do if your child wont give up their pacifier?

We suggest our parent's find out what causes your child to cry out for their binky. Once you have identified which situations triggers your child's desire for a pacifier, be ready to replace it with comfort and reassurance. It can be helpful to swap out the pacifier with a transitional object such as a cuddly doll or stuffed toy. Additionally, distracting your child with a fun activity can help take their mind off the desired Binky. Be sure to offer positive reinforcement and praise when your child sleeps through the night or self-soothes without his or her pacifier.

Another idea is to take your child and pacifier to the store to pick out a new toy to replace their pacifier. There are many experienced store clerks who are used to this trick and are willing to play along when your child “trades in” the pacifier for a new toy of her choosing. We have spoken with other parents that have thrown a “Goodbye Binky” party, set out the pacifier for the Binky Fairy or donated the Binky to children who need it.  Pretty creative!


Positive approach and focus on praising your child when thumb sucking or weening off your child's binky (pacifier) is key to  breaking habits. At little smiles we can assist in encouraging children to stop a sucking habit and discuss each child's particular situation.  We can explain the effects on teeth to your child in an appropriate manner during your regular check-ups. This, along with support from parents and caregivers, helps many children quit their thumb-sucking or pacifier habits.

If you have any questions please feel free to call us or request an appointment online.

Welcome to Our Blog

May 6th, 2019

Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog. Please check back often for weekly updates on fun and exciting events happening at our office, important and interesting information about orthodontics and the dental industry, and the latest news about our practice.

Feel free to leave a comment or question for our doctors and staff - we hope this will be a valuable resource for our patients, their families, and friends!