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Children’s Dental Health Month: Starting Good Oral Health Habits Young

In February, most of us tend to focus on Valentine’s Day! I love February, however, because it is Children’s Dental Health Month and it allows me to focus on some of my favorite patients – kids! It also gives me a chance to share some ideas with parents on how to make learning about the importance of oral health fun for their kids. So here are some of my favorite ideas in honor of Children’s Dental Health Month.

Buy Some New Toothbrushes Together

There are so many fun and colorful dental products on the market for children these days! Get your child excited about brushing their teeth by letting them pick a toothbrush in their favorite color or with the character they love on it. You should be changing your toothbrushes out every 3 to 4 months. And change them right away if someone has been sick.

Your child might like an electric toothbrush if they don’t already have one, and you will enjoy the benefits of a timer and a brush doing the hard work for them.

Make a Tracking Chart

Motivate your child to brush twice a day and floss once with a tracking chart. Decorate it in fun colors, use stickers for daily tracking, and help them set their goals.

For example, if they complete a week of exceptional brushing and flossing each day, they can earn a small reward like ice cream with mom, or a piece of sugar free gum.

Don’t Forget to Visit Your Dentist

As your family dentist, your child should visit me every six months just like you do. This gives us a chance to review their oral development and discuss any concerns you might have about your little one’s oral health.

I may recommend some additional treatment for them as they get older such as dental sealants and fluoride treatment. Fluoride helps to build and strengthen your little one’s developing teeth, while dental sealants protect them from decay and cavities.

If it’s time for your child’s next dental visit, give my office a call today to schedule their next appointment.

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Erlanger KY Family Dentist Challenges Parents to a Dental Quiz

As a parent, you shoulder the responsibility of caring for your child, and that means being informed and prepared to act in many situations. The same is true when it comes to your child’s oral health, so to help make sure you are prepared for the many dental scenarios your child may experience, your Erlanger KY dentist, Dr. Darlene Henry, has created this quiz.

The Quiz

  1. True or False: Baby teeth with cavities do not require dental fillings.
  2. True or False: If your child cracks or breaks a tooth, rinse his or her mouth with warm water.
  3. True or False: Teeth grinding generally does not require treatment in young children.

The Answer Key

  1. False. Any tooth that develops a cavity requires treatment. Without treatment, a cavity can worsen until bacteria are able to reach and infect a tooth’s pulp (the innermost, nerve-filled portion). When the pulp is infected, the tooth is in peril of dying. The infection can also spread into other teeth, the jaw, and the rest of the body, causing further dental problems and illness. Additionally, if a baby tooth dies and falls out too early, it cannot function as a placeholder for the developing secondary tooth, and nearby teeth may grow into the area, resulting in orthodontic problems.
  2. True. When a tooth is damaged, bacteria have an easier time accessing the tooth’s pulp. Thus, it is useful to rinse with warm water to remove some bacteria from the mouth and lower the risk of infection.
  3. True. A staggering 38 percent of children grind their teeth. Most of this bruxism (teeth grinding) begins around age three and ends at age six. At this age range, bruxism is not powerful enough to be a serious threat to teeth. Treatment is, therefore, rare.

Schedule a Visit with Your Erlanger KY Family Dentist

Has your child attended a dental visit in the past six months? If not, the time has come for a checkup. Contact our 41018 dentist office today at 859-344-8500 to schedule an appointment with your Erlanger KY family dentist, Dr. Henry. We serve patients from Erlanger, Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Fort Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, and Taylor Mill.

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Erlanger Dentist Shares Why Babies’ Smiles Make Mothers Happy

As a mother, nothing can light up your life the way your child does. A simple smile can fill your heart with ecstasy. But did you know that recent research has yielded scientific proof of this phenomenon. Your Erlanger dentist, Dr. Darlene Henry, discusses this research as well as your baby’s oral health to help you protect the smile you love so much.

A Mother’s Response to Her Child’s Smile

In a recent experiment, researchers showed mothers pictures of babies experiencing a wide range of emotions. Among these images were pictures of their own babies’. The results were quite interesting, although perhaps not unexpected. By measuring each of the women’s brain activity in response to these images, researchers found that those portions of the brain associated with euphoria were triggered significantly when the women were shown pictures of their own children smiling. When their children were crying or sad, however, the activity in these areas of the brain was almost nonexistent. To read more about the experiment, click on the following link:

Caring for Your Baby’s Smile

Oral care is very important in children. Although baby teeth are not permanent, a good oral health regimen, including regular brushing and flossing and consistent dental visits with your Erlanger children’s dentist, Dr. Henry, are vital. Tooth decay in baby teeth can lead to infections capable of spreading throughout the body. If a child loses a baby tooth too early, he or she may also have orthodontic problems in the future. Thus, it is important to make caring for your baby’s teeth and gums a priority. Schedule your baby’s first dental visit around his or her first birthday. Also, be sure clean your child’s gums with gauze or a washcloth before and during teething.

Schedule a Visit with Your Erlanger Children’s Dentist

Children should also attend dental visits once every six months. Professional cleanings can remove plaque and tartar from areas they miss and reinforce good oral hygiene habits. To schedule an appointment with your Erlanger children’s dentist, call our 41018 dentist office at 859-344-8500. We serve patients from Erlanger, Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Fort Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, and Taylor Mill.

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Erlanger Children’s Dentist: Free Brushing Chart for Children

Often, it can be a struggle to get children to brush their teeth. Sometimes, they just don’t want to do it. Other times, they speed through and miss large areas in their mouths. Unfortunately, even though baby teeth aren’t permanent, neglecting to brush can still lead to serious problems. Infections in the mouth can spread throughout the body, causing health concerns, and if baby teeth fall out prematurely, orthodontic problems arise. To help you as you encourage your child to brush more often, try incorporating a customized tooth-brushing chart. Your Erlanger children’s dentist, Dr. Darlene Henry, shares a few tips for encouraging children to brush their teeth regularly and thoroughly.

Tooth Brushing 101: Class Is Now in Session

When teaching children to brush their teeth, be sure to stand behind them as they face the mirror. This position gives you a good vantage point from which to view their work. Teach them to brush in small circles, while angling the bristles of the brush down at a 45-degree angle toward their gums. Have them work on one or two teeth at a time and divide the brushing into three phases. Start with the outer surface of the teeth; then move to the inner surface; and finish with the biting, or top, surface.

Get Your Child’s Free Brushing Chart

A brushing chart is a fun way to remind kids to brush twice a day. The chart is broken into days and night and covers four weeks. Challenge your child to complete the chart, and offer a prize for successful completion. To get a copy of your child’s brushing chart, use the following link: You will be prompted to enter your child’s name so that the chart can be customized. Then, print out the chart, and challenge your little one to the contest.

Schedule a Visit with Your Erlanger Children’s Dentist

In addition to proper homecare, your children should also attend dental visits once every six months. Professional cleanings can remove plaque and tartar from areas they miss and reinforce good oral hygiene habits. To schedule an appointment with your Erlanger children’s dentist, call our 41018 dentist office at 859-344-8500. We serve patients from Erlanger, Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Fort Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, and Taylor Mill.

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Kentucky Dentist Asks: Have You Heard of Eruption Cysts?

When a baby is teething, it can be traumatic for the child and the parents, alike. There will usually be tears, and discomfort, and even out-and-out pain. There’s bound to be sleepless nights. Your child will be unable to communicate, and you’ll be frustrated that you can’t comfort them completely. Then, one day, a little white bump will appear on the gums, and you’ll feel ecstatic. The first tooth is always exciting, in spite of the physical hardship required to get that tooth through the gums. Most of the time, the gums will appear normal, and then suddenly there’s the top of a tooth poking out at you. Occasionally, however, you’ll look into your baby’s mouth and see something shocking. Dr. Henry, your Kentucky dentist, is here to describe something called eruption cysts, what they are, and how you should deal with them if you see one on the gums of your child.

Eruption Cysts

Inside the jawbone, there is a protective fluid-filled enclosure where teeth grow before they erupt. Once teeth have reached full development, they will begin to emerge through the jawbone and pierce through the gums. Occasionally, the fluid in the enclosure leaks and accumulates between the tooth and gums. This is when you would see an eruption cyst, or eruption hematoma. As frightening as the clinical names might sound, this is nothing more than a dark red, brown, bluish-purple, or translucent bruise on the gingival tissuethat will usually heal within days. 

How Are Eruption Cysts Treated?

Most eruption cysts don’t require special treatment. The tooth will usually break through the hematoma and emerge as normal. However, if you see something unusual on your baby’s gums, even if you think it must be an eruption cyst, it’s always wise to contact your dentist and describe the spot. Your dentist may want to keep an eye on your child’s gums to be on the safe side.

Pediatric Dentistry in Kentucky

If you have any concerns about your child’s teeth and gums, never hesitate to call Dr. Henry.  You can reach our 41018 dentist office at 859-344-8500. We are happy to provide comprehensive dentistry serve families from Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Ft. Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, Taylor Mill, and other Kentucky communities around the 41018 zip code.

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Does Your Child Have Trouble Sleeping?

On average, school-aged children up to the age of 12 should get about ten hours of sleep a night. Ten consecutive hours of sleep, however, can be difficult to achieve, even for a kid. Although children are usually more resilient than their adult counterparts, sleep deprivation affects their minds and bodies in much the same way as it does their parents. Erlanger, Kentucky dentist Dr. Henry gives these tips for helping your child sleep better at night.

Invite Sleep

Many factors can keep children from the restful sleep they need. If their wakefulness is accompanied by fever, persistent cough, or other signs of illness, you should consult a physician immediately. However, if your child remains awake but appears otherwise healthy, then you may be able help resolve the issue. Create a sleep-friendly environment in your child’s room. Comfortable pajamas and a quiet ambience work wonders at lulling children to sleep. Close the door to your child’s room to block out noise from other members of the household who have not yet gone to bed.

Stick to the Bedtime Schedule

Having your child go to bed at the same time every night can be extremely difficult, but it is worth the effort. Once the body becomes accustomed to knowing when to sleep, it can regulate itself around the sleep schedule and be prepared to rest when it’s time for bed.

It Was Just a Bad Dream

Nightmares are a common source of childhood sleeplessness. If your child is plagued by regular nightmares, try restricting television and video games at least an hour before bed time. Encourage relaxing activities, like reading a book, during their last waking hour or so. If bad dreams persist, seek advice from your child’s physician. There may be another underlying cause for the night terrors.

If your child exhibits signs of sleep deprivation, but does not seem to remain awake at night, mention the issue to Dr. Henry. The problem may be associated with sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that can deprive your child of deep sleep without him/her realizing it.

For more information on sleep disorders, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Darlene Henry, call our Erlanger, Kentucky dentist’s office at (859) 344-8500.

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Tooth-Healthy School Lunches in Erlanger, KY

As a parent, you worry quite a bit about your child’s wellbeing. Some parents feel a twinge of nervousness, and some have to consciously control their panic, whenever their child is out of their sight, even during school hours. Being concerned about your child is normal, even healthy, and during the school year, that concern can multiply. One thing you shouldn’t have to worry about is what your child is eating at school. Erlanger, Kentucky dentist, Dr. Darlene Henry, gives these tips for packing your child a tooth-friendly school lunch.

Your Child’s Teeth

It is a popular belief that sugar is solely and directly responsible for the formation of cavities. This assumption is wrong; it is not sugar that decays teeth, but the bacteria in your mouth that transform sugar into tooth-destroying lactic acid. Some parents do not consider cavities in their young children as a serious problem because the baby teeth will fall out anyway. The truth is, if decay settles into the primary teeth, the infection can cause the tooth to fall out before its time. That means there will be more time between the loss of the baby tooth and the eruption of the permanent tooth. In that time, the remaining baby teeth can crowd together to make up for the loss tooth, causing overcrowding where the adult tooth is supposed to emerge. Baby tooth decay can also seep into the permanent tooth under it, infecting the tooth before it even rises.

What to Pack

If your child is going to eat something sugary, it is best to do so as part of a meal. The additional food can help dilute the sugar and buffer against acid, plus it is better to eat sugar at one time instead of snacking on it throughout the day. Sodas and fruit juices should be consumed with the meal for the same reason. Aside from water, milk is perhaps the best choice for your teeth. It is free of additives and sugars found in popular juices and sodas, and contains high levels of tooth-healthy nutrients. Calcium is important for your child’s oral health and can be found in foods like yogurt, cheese, fortified cereal,  and broccoli. Meats, including chicken and turkey, also contain phosphate, which is another important mineral for tooth enamel formation.

To learn about more healthy choices for your child’s lunch, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Henry , call our Erlanger, Kentucky dentist’s office at (859) 344-8500.

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Dedicated Children’s Dental Care in Erlanger, KY

For the most part, the habits we teach our children remain with them throughout their lives to varying degrees. One of the most important habits we can teach them as young ones is the proper way to care for their teeth. Erlanger dentist Dr. Henry understands that children learn more effectively when they’re having fun. The doctor and our staff go out of our way to treat children with gentle compassion and make their dental appointments fun.

Give Them Tools for Good Oral Hygiene

The best way to protect your child’s oral health is to teach him or her how to properly care for their mouths. By learning at an early age to brush their teeth twice a day and floss at least once, children become empowered for a lifetime of excellent oral health. Convincing them that it’s a good idea to visit the dentist every six months can be a little more challenging for some children. Luckily, Dr. Henry’s nurturing manner and love of children makes most of our younger patients look forward to their dental visits.  

Checkups and Cleanings for Children

Routine dental checkups and cleanings are important at any age. Aside from polishing your teeth, our exceptional hygienist helps prevent the development of gum disease by carefully removing plaque buildup and tartar. During your children’s visit, we also enjoy teaching them proper brushing and flossing techniques to optimize their oral health care at home. Adhering to a six-month schedule, or more often if Dr. Henry advises it, will allow us to spot signs of infection or other oral health issues and implement treatment early. Chances for successful treatment are increased the earlier an issue is detected.

Additional Protection

If your child is prone to developing tooth decay, or if you simply want to maximize your child’s oral health defense, Dr. Henry offers a fluoride treatment for additional protection against tooth decay. The treatment consists of a fluoride varnish that is applied to the surface of the teeth. To help protect vulnerable molars at the back of your child’s mouth, Dr. Henry may suggest dental sealants, which are thin plastic coatings that protect the chewing surfaces of teeth.

To learn more about ensuring your child’s exceptional oral health, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Henry, call our Erlanger, Kentucky dentist’s office at (859) 344-8500.

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