teddy bear childrens dentistry

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When should I begin brushing my baby's teeth?

July 21st, 2021

One question our team at Teddy Bear Children's Dentistry hear all the time is, “When should I start brushing my baby’s teeth?”

You should begin regular cleanings even before your baby has teeth. After each breast feeding (or bottle-feeding) use a clean, damp washcloth to gently rub your baby’s gum tissue. You may wrap the material around one finger to make it easier to remove any food bits from your baby’s mouth.

When your baby’s first tooth comes in, switch to a baby toothbrush. Look for special baby toothbrushes in your drugstore; they have just a few bristles and are very soft. There are even brushes shaped like finger puppets that fit over the tip of your pointer finger! All you need at this point is water (no toothpaste yet).

After a few more teeth appear, you may start using toothpaste, but you only need a tiny bit, and make sure it doesn’t contain fluoride for the first two years. From the beginning, have your little one practice spitting the toothpaste out after brushing. That way, he or she will already have the good habit of spitting when you switch to fluoride toothpaste, which should never be swallowed.

If you have any questions about caring for your baby’s teeth, or to schedule an appointment at our convenient West Hills, CA office, please contact Teddy Bear Children's Dentistry.

Getting to the Bottom of Chewing Gum Myths

July 14th, 2021

It's a moment many of our patients have experienced. One second you're chewing on a piece of gum, then suddenly you forget to keep chewing and swallow the entire rubbery gob whole! It's at this point you remember your mother warning you as a child that if you swallow gum it will stake a claim and take up residency in your belly for seven years. Dr. Da Fonseca and our team at Teddy Bear Children's Dentistry hate to take all the fun out of the mystery, but the truth is that chewing gum, when swallowed, will enter your stomach and move through your digestive system just like any other piece of food. So, if you ever accidentally swallow a piece of gum, there is no need to worry!

That being said, it's important to know that gum does not have any dietary benefits, so while it’s not exactly harmful to swallow, you still want to avoid swallowing it. If you are an avid gum-chewer, we encourage you to chew sugarless gum, especially if you are wearing braces, because gum with sugar can lead to cavities. Sugarless gum still has the same amount of flavor, but has fewer cavity-causing ingredients. In fact, many brands contain an additive called xylitol, a natural sweetener known to fight cavity-causing bacteria. Xylitol is also known to increase salivary flow as it rinses away plaque and acid.

The fact is, when the bacterium in your mouth breaks down sugar, what’s left behind is acid. This acid eats away at the enamel coating of your teeth, causing holes that we call cavities. Cavities can lead to other long-term mouth problems if they are not treated in time, so it is best to try and avoid overexposing your teeth to too many harmful substances!

If you have any questions about chewing gum, please contact our office. Happy (sugar-free) gum chewing!

National Ice Cream Month!

July 8th, 2021

July is National Ice Cream Month! At Teddy Bear Children’s Dentistry, we can all agree that there are so many tasty ice cream flavors. However, we tend to prefer the fruity flavors that are cold and refreshing for the hot days in The Valley.

Some of our favorite ice cream flavors include birthday cake with blackberries, chocolate malt, lemon sherbet, lemon blueberry, and strawberry crème fraiche. From time to time, we enjoy our ice cream with a fresh waffle cone. Yummy! We also love a good Acai bowl! Of course, we could go on for days about different ice cream flavors we enjoy, but the list above is a small sample size of our favorites.

If you are looking for ice cream that may be a little better for you, we would encourage looking for homemade ice cream with fruits and minimally processed with a limited amount of ingredients that are easy to pronounce. It’s important that we are aware of the nutrition components of the ice cream we're consuming. For example, Acai frozen treats are filled with antioxidants which turns out to be very beneficial to one's health.

In terms of your oral health, did you know that sugary drinks are known to lower the saliva pH which can create the ideal saliva environment to cause bacterial growth that leads to cavities? It’s true! Not to mention the acid producing bacteria’s increase the loss of minerals from the enamel leading to soft enamel lesions, which is the beginning of the cavity process. This is why proper dental hygiene is so important.

With proper dental hygiene, tooth decay is 100% preventable. Since baby teeth are vulnerable to decay from their very first appearance, children's teeth should be brushed for two minutes two times a day, and flossed as soon as they start touching. Also, between snacks we encourage drinking lots of water, using Xylitol spray and toothpaste to help the fight against tooth decay.

As for some healthy alternatives, a variety of fresh and cold fruits will do the trick during the summer days. We suggest having a fruity agua Fresca in sunny Southern California, however, we recommend foregoing the sweeteners and adding little slices of fresh fruits for a tasty and refreshing treat! Please remember that the overconsumption of unhealthy beverages such as soda, sports drinks, and even 100% fruit juice can contribute to risk of diet-related chronic diseases, such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay. When in doubt, drink a cup of cold water.

For those with upcoming appointments, please note that we continue to follow universal standard precautions with all of our patients. We’re still staggering patients to limit the capacity of people in the office. We have an updated air filtration ventilation system in the building and our office. Because we're a pediatric dental office and most of our patients are under the age of the vaccination requirements, we continue to require the use of masks for all of the families visiting our office.

Here at Teddy Bear Children's Dentistry we're wishing you a joyful and refreshing summer! During all that fun, please remember to keep up with your oral hygiene routine. We look forward to seeing you at your next visit!

National Ice Cream Month!

Tell us about your summer!

July 7th, 2021

The dog days of summer are upon us, and what better time for Dr. Da Fonseca and our team to ask our patients about their summer!

Whether you visited our nation’s capital, went on a camping trip, or just stayed in West Hills, CA and relaxed, we want to know how you’re all spending your summer! Please feel free to share your summer plans and experiences with us below or on our Facebook page as summer rolls on!

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TEDDY BEAR CHILDREN'S DENTISTRY is committed to providing your child with an excellent pediatric dental experience in a fun and comfortable environment. We specialize in pediatric dentistry care for infants, children and young adults. Working together, we will make your experience with us a walk in the park. We can’t wait to see you on the hill.
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