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Thumb Sucking, Pacifiers, and Your Baby's Teeth

March 10th, 2021

Sucking is a common instinct for babies and the use of a pacifier or their thumb offers a sense of safety and security, as well a way to relax.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the majority of children will stop using a pacifier and stop sucking their thumb on their own between the ages of two and four years of age. Prolonged thumb sucking or use of a pacifier can have dental consequences and needs be taken care of sooner, rather than later.

Many dentists favor pacifier use over thumb sucking because it makes it easier for parents to control and even limit the use of a pacifier. If thumb sucking lingers, the same strategies used to break the baby from using the pacifier can be used for thumb sucking.

Precautions

  • Try to find "orthodontically correct" pacifiers, as they may reduce the risk of dental problems.
  • Never dip a pacifier in sugar or honey to calm the baby.
  • Give your baby a bottle of water at bedtime, never juice.

Dental Complications

Long term pacifier use can lead to an assortment of dental complications including:

  • The bottom teeth leaning inward
  • The top teeth slanting outward
  • Misalignment of the baby’s jaw

The risk of any or all of these things happening is greatly increased if thumb sucking and pacifier use is sustained after the baby’s teeth start to come in.

Breaking the Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Habit

Most toddlers and children will stop sucking their thumb or using a pacifier between the ages of two and four on their own. However, if intervention is necessary here are a few tips to help your child break the habit:

  • Slowly decreasing the use of a pacifier can be effective for many children. This method does not work very well with thumb sucking.
  • Thumb sucking can be more difficult to break. Dr. Maryam Azadpur may recommend using an over the counter cream that you put on the child’s thumb; it doesn’t taste good and usually does the trick.
  • Rewards can also help with the process.
  • If these simple commonly used strategies do not work, there are oral devices that will prevent a child from sucking their thumb or a pacifier.

Talk to Dr. Maryam Azadpur and our team, as we have many tricks up our sleeves that will be effective in breaking your child’s thumb sucking or pacifier use.

Hello March!

March 8th, 2021

The arrival of March means spring is almost here. We can finally bid farewell to wintery days and start looking forward to an abundance of warmer days just around the corner! As we transition to the new season, winter-themed decorations are taken down and spring ones are put up. The landscaping outside is tended to and new plants are planted. While we are always diligent about staying clean and sanitized, at spring time we dig deeper and go through files, clear out drawers, clean out old paperwork, etc. Feels good to freshen up!

This year is extra special for us because we are celebrating 20 years in this location! Of course, the pandemic has curtailed many of our plans to celebrate the 20 wonderful years of serving the dental needs of our families in the Farmington Valley, but we will definitely be marking this major milestone in some fun fashion. We are also currently in the midst of redesigning our website with a whole new fresh look to reflect who we are and to be able to better connect with our patients and their families online.

Our team also has another reason to celebrate as almost everyone has had their second vaccination as of right now. Now that the majority of our team is vaccinated, we will be seeing lots of new patients that we were not able to see over the winter, especially our littlest ones who are more vulnerable since they don't generally wear masks! We have set aside certain days just for them!

As the days gradually warm up, the team looks forward to spending more time in the outdoors participating in some of their most favorite activities like walking, bike riding, playing outside with the little ones in our families, day trips to lakes or beaches, getting gardens ready for spring planting, opening windows to let in the fresh air. The list is endless!

The spring is also a great time to refocus on our health. Eating healthy foods keeps not only our bodies strong but also our teeth! We suggest staying away from sugary treats as they can cause cavities. Brush and floss regularly to help reduce plaque build-up on teeth. This, in turn, can help reduce plaque in our bodies --- especially our hearts! Also, make sure you are drinking plenty of water on a daily basis. Drinking water has oral health benefits you might not realize such as washing away acids and food from our mouths.

We wish you a warm and safe start to your Spring season. We hope to see you and your family in our office again soon.

March is National Nutrition Month!

March 3rd, 2021

While you don’t have to wait to start eating right, March is the month the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics asks everyone to pay special attention to what goes into our bodies. The Academy has designated the month of March for focusing the public’s awareness on what they eat.

What Not to Eat

The academy points out that the foods you eat have a direct effect on the health of your teeth and specifically on tooth decay. Bacteria rely on carbohydrates to thrive. That is why Dr. Maryam Azadpur and our team at Simsbury Pediatric & Adolescent Dentistry tell our patients to cut back on both candy and sweets. They consist of simple sugars that feed the bacteria in your mouth and enhance tooth decay.

It’s the hidden sugars that will cost you, though. Get in the habit of reading labels on food and looking for products with added sugar. This includes ingredients that end with the suffix “ose.” When it comes to nutrition, these foods offer little value beyond satisfying that sweet tooth.

What You Should Eat

Turn to foods that not only taste good but are good for your teeth too. Dairy products, for example, provide the body with nutritional items that support tooth enamel. Foods high in protein feature phosphorus, a nutrient critical to oral health.

You can’t really go wrong by adding color to your diet, either. Fruits and vegetables make for a colorful plate and a healthy meal. Use some caution with acidic fruits like oranges or even tomatoes, because the acid can erode tooth enamel. It is better to include these foods in a meal instead of eating them by themselves.

Remember, good nutrition is something you should worry about all year long, not just when celebrating National Nutrition Month. March just serves as a fun reminder that eating right is a proactive step in managing your dental health.

We encourage you to give us a call at our Simsbury, CT office to learn more!

National Children’s Dental Health Month

February 26th, 2021

February has officially arrived. This is a great time for all of us to brush up on dental hygiene in honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month! Join us on today’s blog to learn some tips the whole family can benefit from.

Dental care starts in your child’s infancy. Before the first tooth erupts, wipe their gums after meals to keep their mouth clean. When the teeth start to erupt, infants and toddlers generally require help caring for their teeth. We recommend gently brushing their teeth for them while they help so they can soon learn how to brush by themselves.

When you are selecting a toothbrush for your child, make sure it’s appropriate for your child’s age and that the bristles are not too stiff. Infant brushes are much softer and won't irritate their gums. Also, a great way to get your little one familiar with dental care is to give them an extra brush so they can practice brushing their dolls or stuffed animals' teeth! When choosing a toothpaste, we recommend one that contains fluoride. When it comes to the amount of toothpaste to use, a pea-sized amount should suffice!

Another important element in keeping your child’s smile healthy is a diet with lots of fruits and veggies! We recommend limiting or completely avoiding sugary snacks as these can lead to cavities. Great alternative foods and drinks to incorporate into your child’s diet are milk and lean meats like chicken (not fried!). Milk contains calcium that helps with strong teeth and bones. Getting your child accustomed to a healthy diet early on helps them maintain optimal oral health as they grow up. Please keep in mind that older children tend to eat more sweets and don't always like to drink water. As a result, they can end up with dental issues if not careful.

The American Dental Association recommends children have their first dental visit around their first birthday. Our website has a great office tour video in the "About Us" section. It shows just what to expect when you come in, including what Dr. Azadpur and the team will look like in all that PPE! Our whole office is bright and colorful, and at the end of every visit, your child will get a sticker and fun prize! We do our best to make it a positive and welcoming environment.

During Children's Dental Health Month our hygienists normally visit local area preschools and daycares in order to teach the little ones all about good oral hygiene. While we can't visit in person this year, we were able to share with the schools a wonderful oral hygiene video we made, featuring Kay and Alison, our fabulous hygienists. The students will be able to watch it in their classrooms and then take home a fun toothbrush kit that we provided. While visiting in person is much more fun, a virtual visit is good too!

If you have any questions or concerns or want to learn more, Dr. Azadpur and the team are always happy to discuss them with you—any time of year! We can’t wait to see you and your family in our office again soon. We look forward to seeing you!

(860) 658-7548
381 Hopmeadow St #202
Weatogue, CT 06089