All Posts in Category: Kids

Trick or Treat Alternatives to Candy on Halloween | Kids Dental Hygiene

Halloween Doesn’t Have to Be a Dental Hygiene Nightmare

With Halloween fast approaching, many families and dentists are looking for ways to help their children celebrate without the added risk of cavities or other dental health risks associated with too much candy and sugar. Being dental health-conscious doesn’t mean foregoing candy entirely, but the American Dental Association does warn that families should have a plan for helping their kids not go overboard with the sweets. Don’t give your kids constant access to the candy they get this time of year, but a few pieces after a meal or as a small snack here and there won’t cause an increased risk of developing dental problems. However, there are plenty of other options besides candy out there to help kids have fun and enjoy the spooky season. Here are some fun, teeth-friendly treats trick-or-treaters will love:

Toys and Trinkets

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to find Halloween-themed toys and trinkets to give out. Kids love small toys like fidgets or yo-yos or plastic rings. A quick stop at the local dollar or party supply store will give you plenty of ideas and options for knickknacks to keep kids entertained.

Halloween Snacks without Sugar

There are lots of treats that don’t have sugar listed in the ingredients that still can be a fun holiday snack. Give your kids a small bag of pretzels or even sugar-free versions of candy.

Sugar-Free Gum

For older kids, gum can be a great alternative for candy. It satisfies their sweet tooth and has even been proven to be beneficial for gum and teeth health if chewed after meals. (Be sure to look for sugar-free gum that has been approved by the ADA!)

Halloween Stickers

What kid doesn’t love a fun sticker or sticker set? It’s easy to find spooky stickers this time of year, and kids will have a blast finding a place to use them.

A Perfect Night to Glow in the Dark

Necklaces, glow sticks, accessories – there are tons of fun glow-in-the-dark toys and objects you can find for kids. The best part is it also makes them easier to see and keep track of in the dark.

Art Supplies

Another fun alternative to sugary candy is art supplies. You can get kids pencils, small boxes of crayons, small activity books, or other creative outlets that would be a great option for kids.

Kids Still Need Hydration on Halloween Night

The ADA also recommends that if kids are eating candy that they should also be drinking fluoridated water. Help your trick-or-treaters rinse out their mouths after their snacks by providing them with plenty of water instead of other beverages, especially those with added sugars like juices or sodas.

Toothbrushes and Floss

Sometimes it’s better not to beat around the bush. Find your kids some fun-colored toothbrushes and make sure they have a small, travel-size floss container. The ADA recommends brushing and flossing twice a day, so make sure your kids are prepared and know the importance of developing good habits!

Don’t spend too much time and energy worrying about the potentially harmful side effects of Halloween on your kids’ dental health. According to the ADA, even most dentists give out candy for Halloween! Do try to avoid candy that stays in the mouth too long as prolonged exposure to sugar in the mouth increases the risk for tooth decay, but otherwise, let your kids have a few treats as a snack after a meal. The important things to remember is to make sure you and your kids have a plan to keep the candy in moderation, brush and floss twice a day, and to drink plenty of water.

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Free Printable for kids by 3V Dental in Port Washington

Free Printable Teeth Brushing Schedule for Kids

Give your kids a new reason to stay on track when brushing their teeth daily. Download and print this fun checklist and keep it close to your kid’s toothbrush. Have them check each box every time they brush their teeth. Hopefully they’re checking two boxes per day!! With your help your kids will be on their way to being “Dental All-Stars!”

Just click the image below to open a PDF version and print away!

printable teeth brushing schedule for kids - 3v dental port washington ny

Click to Open Downloadable File

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thumb sucking prevention

The Consequences of Thumb Sucking

The parents of many young children might recognize thumb sucking as an annoying habit that toddlers eventually outgrow. However, what Moms and Dads may not realize is that the relatively common habit can potentially yield several side effects impacting dental health. Fortunately, however, parents might also be able to employ certain method geared towards preventing or ceasing the act of thumb sucking. Questions about thumb sucking and how it can affect your child’s oral development? Check with your 3V Dental Port Washington Dentist!

The Side Effects Of Thumb Sucking

Tooth Misalignment

Children who suck their thumbs for extended durations, especially after age five or six (when they begin losing baby teeth and developing permanent ones) might be stricken with a condition that is medically referred to as dental malocclusion. In simpler terms, this means that the crucial oral components are moved out of position. These bad alignments can occur both the top and bottom front teeth (a condition known as open bite) and in the upper front choppers (referred to as overbite).

Not only do can these problems cause noticeable oral deformities but might also lead to issues affecting how the child’s face is shaped and said individual’s ability to smile. Should either of these conditions progress, impacted young persons might need corrective measures such as the installation of braces or be forced to undergo orthodontic work. To understand the full potential side effects of thumb sucking, ask your 3V Dental dentist how you can help prevent thumb sucking with your child.

Speech Problems

Thumb sucking has the potential to impact the proper formation of an affected child’s jaw (TMJ), tongue and palate. Eventually, the habit may result in lisping or other speech challenges that could precipitate speech and communications difficulties. In certain instances, speech problems could also result in scholastic struggles or social problems.

Damaged Skin

Long-standing thumb sucking could produce significant skin issues on the digit the child routinely places into said individual’s mouth. Continued exposure to the moisture created by saliva on the thumb in question could eventually cause skin sensitivities or damage such as cracked skin, sores and bleeding. Should skin problems progress, the child may be at an increased risk of developing skin infections that will require antibiotic treatment.

Increased Risk Of Mouth Or Other Bodily Infections

The skin on a child’s thumb might become exposed to toxins such as microbial elements and allergens that may eventually result in infections within the mouth or in other bodily regions.

How Can Parents Prevent Or Stop Thumb Sucking

Do Not Punish The Child Or Take An Aggressive Stance

Though the habit may be frustrating for parents to deal with, said individuals should not forcefully attempt to prevent their offspring from engaging in the activity, not should they yell or exhibit any other type of aggressive behavior. Such actions are more likely to cause increased tension and could even cause a young person to perform the habit more often.

Identify The Reasons The Child Engages In The Habit To Start With

On some occasions, children may suck their thumbs as a means of coping with stressful situations. If parents are able to identify what these tension-inducing circumstances are, said individuals might also be able to prevent their children from engaging in the activity.

Distract The Child’s Attention

When a parent notices their offspring engaging in the habit, some dentists recommend quickly attempting to distract their attention by giving said youths their favorite toy or turning their attention to some other kind of activity.

Cover The Child’s Thumb

A parent might find success covering the thumb or hands of the child in question with an item such as a sock or Band-Aid. This might be particularly effective for children known to suck their thumbs while sleeping.

Apply A Bitter-Tasting Medication Or Substance To The Child’s Thumb

If all other measures prove unsuccessful, parents might appeal to their dentists or family physicians who might prescribe a bitter-tasting substance that can be applied to the finger in question.


3V Dental is your local Port Washington dental team. For more information on how you can prevent or stop your child’d thumb sucking habit, schedule an appointment to speak with your dentist today. We’re more than happy to help!

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Port Washington Dentist

How to Ease Your Child’s Fear or Anxiety of the Dentist

Regular dental visits are important for your child’s dental health and overall health. However, the fear of dentists can make an office visit very unpleasant. It is estimated that 20 percent of children suffer from dental anxiety. The good news is that there are things that you can do in order to ease your child’s anxiety.

Prepare Your Child for the Dental Visit

Many children are scared because they do not know what to expect. That is why it is a good idea to talk to your child before you take them to the dentist. You should let them know what to expect one week ahead of time. You do not want to wait until the last minute because this can worsen fears.

Choose Pediatric Dentists

All dentists are trained to work with patients of all ages. Pediatric dentists only work with patients who are under the age of 18. They complete an additional two years of training after they finish dental school. They know how to manage the fears in young patients. They can also design their office to make more kid-friendly.

Start Early and Have a Better Chance At Reducing Dental Anxiety

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The earlier a youngster is taken to the dental office, the easier it will be for them to adjust to the environment. There are several benefits that can be reaped from the taking your child to the dental office early. This not only helps them get used to the environment, but it can also help catch problems early.

Help Your Youngster Relax

You can help your child’s anxiety by helping them relax. There are several things that you can do in order to help them relax. You can encourage them to take deep breaths. Deep breathing helps instantly alleviate stress. Progressive muscle relaxation is another remedy that can be used in order to ease stress in the dental office.

This is something that can be done in the chair at the office. Your youngster will need to close their eyes and slowly relax all of the tense parts of the body. Not only can progressive relaxation be done at the office, but it can also be done at home.

Positive Reinforcement

Most children respond well to positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement can help in several ways. It can show a youngster that the dentist’s office is not a place that they have to fear. It can also show a youngster that if they are on their best behavior while at the dentist’s office, then they can expect a reward.

oral health toddlers

You can give your youngster stickers, tattoos and baseball cards. You can also set up a token system. When your youngster gets a certain number of tokens, you can take them to get a reward.

Distract Them

Distracting your youngster can take their mind off of being at the dentist’s office. You can distract them with their favorite toy. You can also ask the dentist if they can bring a tablet in.

Don’t Tell That it Will Not Hurt

The pain is what scares most youngsters the most about going to the dentist’s office. Dental visits are pain-free most of the time. However, you should not tell your youngster that they will not have pain. If they happen to have pain during the exam and cleaning, then this may make them even more afraid to go to the dentist.

Don’t do a lot of Talking

It may be tempting to talk in order to calm your youngster down. However, you should let the dental professional do most of the talking. They can also help calm your youngster down.

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oral health toddlers dentist port washington ny

Dental Care for Toddlers

Starting your child’s dental care as early as possible will prevent cavities and other dental issues. Caring for toddler’s teeth is fairly easy, but it’s important to help your child develop good habits early in life.

Brushing Your Toddler’s Teeth

Your child should brush twice a day as soon as their teeth appear. Most children can start brushing with help from their parents when they’re three years old. Until your toddler reaches the age of six, you should supervise his or her brushing.

Use about a pea-sized amount of a fluoride toothpaste, making sure that your toddler doesn’t swallow it. With a soft-bristled toothbrush, brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth. Angle the toothbrush’s bristles toward the gums as you brush. Your toddler should also floss just before bedtime.

Teach Good Eating Habits

Teaching your child good brushing and flossing habits from a young age will help them maintain their dental health into adulthood. Toddlers might not want to brush and floss, but make sure they know it’s not a negotiable part of their morning or evening routine.

When kids are very tired, they usually don’t want to brush. Having them brush and floss a little earlier in the evening can be easier for them than brushing and flossing right before bedtime when they’re exhausted. However, make sure the only drink your child has after brushing is water.

Problems to Watch Out For

You should watch out for baby bottle tooth decay, which can occur when your child takes a nap with a bottle of milk or juice. The sugar can cling to a tooth and lead to tooth decay. Only give your toddler water in a bottle before they go to sleep.

Drinking from a sippy cup all day can also lead to tooth decay, especially on the back of the front teeth. A sippy cup is a good tool for transitioning to drinking from a glass, but your toddler shouldn’t have one all day long.

Some children’s medicines are flavored or sugary, and they can increase the risk of cavities if they stick to a tooth. If your child is taking one of these medications, he or she may have to brush more than twice a day. Ask your dentist how often your child should brush.

If your child continues with a thumb-sucking habit after the age of three or four, it can cause issues with the mouth and jaw. Try to use positive reinforcement to break this habit by praising your kids when they don’t suck their thumbs.


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