afraid of the dentist

Afraid of the Dentist? Here is How to Overcome Your Phobia

It’s estimated that thirty to forty million Americans are afraid of the dentist. 36% of respondents to a British survey admitted they avoided regular dental visits because of this fear. 35% of Canadians admitted to the same.

These statistics serve to highlight one simple fact: the dentist is scary!

Okay, dentists aren’t really scary, but there are a lot of people who are afraid of them. Whatever the reason this fear started, the result is the same: millions of people worldwide are hurting their teeth because they don’t want to go to the dentist.

We’re here to change that. Our team of experienced and passionate dentists don’t just want to make sure you have the whitest smile in New York City. We want to help people overcome their fear of dentists so that they can practice good oral hygiene at all times.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of four ways to help anyone overcome their fear of the dentist. Check them out and don’t hesitate to contact us today for a 100% complimentary consultation.

Acknowledge Your Fears

The first step to solving a problem, any problem, is admitting it’s there. This is true for someone struggling with drug or alcohol addiction and it’s true for someone struggling with dental fear. Acknowledge your fears!

Write down exactly what it is you don’t like about dentists. Go into detail. Once you have a list, talk to someone you trust about them. This can be a family member, friend, coworker, or even a dentist. Of course, it’s important to find a dentist you get along with. This brings us to our next tip…

Find a Dentist You Connect With

This is probably the single most important tip we can give you. Remember, dentists are people and there are going to be certain people you get along with better than others. Find a dentist you get along with and don’t look back.

There are a few different ways to do this. You can search online for dentists who specialize in painless dentistry or work with anxious patients. You can ask friends and family for recommendations. You can ask your primary care physician for a recommendation or referral.

However you find a dentist you connect with, make sure to take the time to properly research them before scheduling an appointment. Speaking of scheduling an appointment, it’s time for our next tip: take baby steps.

Take Baby Steps

You don’t have to go in for a filling right off the bat. You don’t even have to schedule a cleaning for your first appointment. You can go to the dentist for a simple consultation.

Part of this consultation may involve looking at your pearly whites, but just as much will be you and the dentist talking and getting to know each other. Mention to them that you’re anxious of the dentist. They won’t laugh or judge you, we promise.

This slower-down approach not only helps you see if you and the dentist connect and get along, but it can help to humanize the office and procedures themselves. These type of baby steps are perfect ways to ease you into the dental experience and help alleviate your fears.

Use Calming Techniques During Your Appointment

Our final tip for overcoming your fear of the dentist is to use calming strategies during your visit. These can vary widely depending on how nervous you are and what type of appointment you have.

We recommend deep breathing techniques for dealing with the basic fear of the dentist. Things get a bit more complicated when you’re dealing with phobia-level fear. Visualization and having a close friend or family member holding your hand are both powerful ways to keep your stress under control. Most dentists will let you have someone nearby if you explain the situation.

Smiles NY is New York City’s premier cosmetic and implant dentistry office. Contact us today for a free consultation!

Top 3 Habits That Are Destroying Your Teeth

Top 3 Habits That Are Destroying Your Teeth

92% of adults between the ages of twenty and sixty-four have tooth decay. Around 5% of adults in this age range have no teeth at all. Those are two sobering statistics

For these people, tooth decay and loss is the result of poor dental hygiene. There are the obvious culprits: brushing infrequently, not flossing, ignoring checkups, and drinking too much coffee. There are the less obvious, but still commonplace, culprits: smoking cigarettes, eating acidic foods, and more.  

There are five factors that will destroy your teeth and need to be cut out immediately.

We’ve listed them out below.

Learn them, avoid them, and contact us today if you need orthodontic dentistry or restorative work done.

Smoking Cigarettes

We mentioned this before because it’s one of the worst things you can do to your teeth. Smoking is bad all around, of course, but it has some seriously negative implications for your smile.

Smoking stains teeth, causes bad breath, decreases your sense of taste, and lowers your immune system’s ability to fight infections (like gum inflammation and infection). Not to mention it increases your likelihood of developing many different forms of cancer.

Although we’re talking about smoking tobacco, there are numerous negative implications to smokeless tobacco as well. This includes products like chewing tobacco, dip, and snus. Risks associated with smokeless tobacco include: oral cancer, tooth discoloration and decay, as well as tooth loss.

Eating Snacks

Snacking throughout the day is something we all do. We shouldn’t, though, and for more reasons than putting on a couple extra pounds. Snacking in the middle of the day (think an early afternoon yogurt or fruit cup) leads to food particles getting caught between your teeth. They stay there until you brush your teeth at night. The result is several hours of unchecked bacteria growth and potential tooth decay.

Another negative side effect of eating snacks is an increase in your mouth’s acid production and a decrease in saliva production. This acid begins to wear away at the enamel of your teeth, while the dip in saliva means more residual food particles will get stuck in your mouth.

This one-two punch of increased bacteria and acid and less saliva doesn’t lead anywhere good. Cut the snacking out of your daily routine and you should see an improvement in your dental health.

Grinding Your Teeth

Grinding your teeth is harmful, but the extend of the harm is surprising. Often thought of as no more than a bad habit, grinding your teeth is actually one of the most harmful things you can do to them.

Known medically as bruxism, grinding your teeth can wear down the biting surface over time. This leads to teeth fractures, which gather bacteria and have a tendency to become infected.

Another side effect of grinding your teeth is the loosening of the space between your teeth and gums. This open space, a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, is called a pocket and, trust us, you don’t want one.

If you need premier dental care in New York, contact us today. Our team of dental professionals offer unmatched cosmetic dental services.  

Chipped Your Tooth? Here’s Why You Need it Fixed, ASAP

Chipped Your Tooth? Here’s Why You Need It Fixed, ASAP

No one likes having a chipped tooth. Not only is it painful and inconvenient, but flashing a smile with a chipped tooth is embarrassing. What most people don’t know, though, is that their chipped tooth can lead to serious dental problems.

Far from being just some cosmetic bad luck, chipped teeth bring with them the potential for a lot of gum, tissue, and filing issues. You could end up with periodontal disease, hyper-eruption, and more.

We’ll examine the different types of dental problems that can occur in a moment. First, we need to look at the different types of chipped teeth and how they might happen in the first place.

Types of Chipped Teeth

All broken or chipped teeth are not created equal. Not only are there several different types of chipped teeth, but each type varies in severity and the likelihood of leading to future dental issues.

There are craze lines and minor chips. These are probably what you think of when someone says they chipped their tooth. Both are small chips or cracks in your tooth that affect the enamel without extending further to the inside of the tooth. While craze lines and minor chips will not often lead to dental problems in the future, they are worth keeping an eye on.

There are cracked teeth. These are sometimes called whole tooth chips and impact everything from the enamel of your tooth down to the nerve. Cracked teeth need immediate dental attention. If they aren’t addressed immediately, you risk losing the tooth and having other dental problems.

There are major breaks. These include split teeth, root fractures, and others. A split tooth is when your tooth has fractured vertically into different sections. A root fracture is when a crack begins at the root of your tooth and grows through to the surface. Regardless of the type of major break, you need to seek immediate dental assistance. Without immediate dental care, you will undoubtedly lose the tooth and open yourself up to a number of future dental issues.

Your Chipped Tooth Could Lead to Serious Dental Problems

A chipped tooth can lead to any number of future problems. These range from the obvious (more decay) to the unusual (an increased likelihood of TMJ).

Some of the more serious dental problems associated with chipped or broken teeth include malocclusion, hyper-eruption, and periodontal disease.

Malocclusion is the misalignment of your upper and lower teeth. While this may sound minor at first, it can lead to difficultly chewing and pain in your jaw. It may also lead to TMJ.

Hyper-eruption is when you lose a tooth and its neighbor grows into the empty space. This can lead to all sorts of complications, including teeth growing in sideways, impacted teeth, and even exposed roots.

Periodontal disease is gum disease. There are around 65 million Americans who have some sort of gum disease, and many of these people end up needing either a gum graft or a bone graft to fix the problem.

Convinced that your chipped tooth is serious stuff? Then contact us today for a complimentary consultation from the premier dentists in New York!

 

odd dental hygiene myths . NYC cosmetic

3 Odd Dental Hygiene Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

Our mouths are pretty misunderstood. Did you know, for example, that some people believe that placing a tablet of aspirin next to an aching tooth will alleviate pain? Others believe you don’t need regular dental checkups.

 

The list of strange dental beliefs goes on, but we don’t need to give the crazier theories even more credence by talking about them here.

 

Some odd dental hygiene myths are downright harmful. That’s the case with the three we’ve listed below. Don’t believe them and absolutely do not put them into practice in your daily oral routine.

 

Fluoride Doesn’t Help Your Teeth

The idea that fluoride doesn’t help your teeth just won’t go away. It isn’t true. In fact, this myth is harmful if it leads you (or anyone) to avoid a fluoride treatment when you need it.

 

Fluoride can help your teeth in a couple of ways. It can speed up the process of remineralization, which is when minerals are added to your teeth’s enamel making the stronger. It can help disrupt bacteria and acid production. Fluoride can even help children develop their adult teeth.

 

This myth was probably born from the fact that swallowed fluoride isn’t helpful to anyone over the age of sixteen. Adults need to either use fluoride toothpaste or receive a professional fluoride treatment to gain its benefits.

 

You Shouldn’t Clean Your Gums if They’re Bleeding

Have you ever gone to brush and floss your teeth and noticed your gums bleeding? You’re not alone, many people struggle with bleeding gums, even those who take very good care of their mouth.

 

At some point, someone decided that leaving your gums alone when they’re bleeding is a smart move. This could not be further from the truth.

 

Bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal disease. The last thing you want to do when faced with potential gum disease is leave your gums alone! This allows bacteria and plaque to continue to build up. If left unchecked, this can lead to gingivitis or even periodontitis.

 

This myth probably comes from the fact that bleeding gums are frightening. The last thing anyone wants to do when they see blood is start poking around the bleeding area. That’s simple human nature. When it comes to bleeding gums, though, you need to maintain proper brushing and flossing habits.

 

Whitening is Harmful for Your Teeth

 

The final odd dental hygiene myth we’re looking at is the mistaken belief that whitening your teeth is harmful. This myth probably comes from the fact that your teeth are more sensitive after a whitening treatment. This is especially true with at-home whitening kits.

 

Whitening treatments don’t help or hurt the overall health of your teeth. It’s simply a cosmetic procedure used to remove stains from the surface of your teeth.

 

There are a million more dental hygiene myths that aren’t true. If you’ve heard one or if you have a question about whether you need a certain procedure, contact us today. We offer complimentary consultations on a range of dental procedures and are confident we can help you!

Inlays and Onlays

Inlays & Onlays: The Less Invasive Alternative to Complete Crowns

Dental issues, from the mundane to the serious, happen every day. They happen every week, every month, and every year. They happen to everyone and, almost universally, they happen at the worst possible times.

Enter restorative dentistry, or the practice of fixing dental issues and restoring your mouth to health. This is truly a smile saving practice. Nowhere does this become more apparent than when considering inlays and onlays.

Inlays and onlays are alternatives to dental crowns. They have some benefits, some drawbacks, and a whole lot of unique features. Check out some detailed info on them below and don’t hesitate to contact us now for a complimentary restorative consultation!

What are Inlays and Onlays?

Inlays and onlays are less invasive alternatives to complete dental crowns. Sometimes called partial crowns or indirect fillings, these can be used to treat structural tooth damage instead of traditional fillings. They are strong, long-lasting solutions to a large range of dental issues.

None of these actually tell you what an inlay or an onlay is, though. Inlays are fillings that strengthen the overall structure of your tooth. Onlays are fillings made from porcelain or composite resin applied to the outside of the tooth, often the biting surface.

The Pros of Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays offer a number of benefits over complete crowns. They also have a number of drawbacks. Let’s take a look at the good stuff first.

The pros of inlays and onlays include:

  • They offer a snug fit, which helps to minimize future decay damage
  • They are strong, stable, and can even help strengthen a decayed tooth
  • They are less likely to become discolored, even over long stretches of time
  • They are easy to clean – simply brush as normal
  • They cost usually less than a complete crown

Now that we’ve established how inlays and onlays are beneficial, let’s look at some areas where they’re not quite as useful as complete crowns.

The Cons of Inlays and Onlays

By far the largest con of inlays is that any filling simply isn’t going to offer the same level of protection as a crown. There’s also something to be said for the longevity of complete crowns over partials. These factors vary case-by-case, but, generally speaking, a complete crown gives better protection overall.

A casting of your teeth must be taken to create both inlays and onlays. This means they’re created in a lab and not in your dentist’s office, adding time to the entire process. Of course, placing a crown will take a minimum of two visits as well, so which option is faster is up for debate.

Ultimately, the choice between whether to get inlays and onlays or a complete dental crown is yours. Which option you pick will largely come down to your personal preference, as well as your budget.

Contact us today for a FREE consultation and exploration of your options!

at home or in office whitening? which is right for you?

When to Know if In-Office Whitening is Right for You

32% of adults say they’re concerned with how their teeth look. 74% of adults say an unattractive smile will hurt their careers. 18% of adults say they routinely conceal their teeth in photos.

All of these statistics point to one inescapable conclusion – people wish their teeth were whiter. In fact, the teeth whitening industry is valued at $11 billion annually. With this info in mind, it’s safe to say that just about everyone wants a whiter smile.

So, should you opt for at home whitening or in-office whitening? Check out our guide below and learn how to tell when in-office whitening is right for you!

At Home Whitening

Most people think of Crest Whitestrips or another similar product when considering at home whitening. In fact, Crest alone accounts for a whopping 59% of the at home whitening market.

These whitening strips are a great choice if you’re dealing with surface level stains. Think coffee or wine stains. They’re not as effective at whitening long-term damage or structural tooth damage, though.

For this type of more substantial damage, you’ll probably want a different type of at home whitening solution. This is where custom made whitening trays and gels enter the picture.

There are at home whitening products that you can receive from your dentist. You make an appointment and get custom molds of your teeth made. You then use these alongside a stronger whitening gel your dentist prescribes.

Much like out-of-the-box whitening strips, custom at home whitening products are great for removing surface level stains. They’re also useful for reversing deeper stains, darker teeth, and some structural damage.

If you want to really whiten your teeth though – if you want those celebrity pearly whites – you’re probably going to want to check out in-office whitening.

In-Office Whitening

The first thing you need to know about in-office whitening is that it’s more expensive than at home options. That being said, it’s the best option for removing stains from your teeth. It also offers some serious advantages over at home strips.

The most obvious advantage to choosing in-office whitening is the time factor. While at home options can take several applications to show even basic results, in-office whitening takes only one treatment.

We use a special system here at Smiles NY called Zoom!® Whitening. This will make your teeth whiter in an hour. Yep, that’s right, one hour to whiter teeth and a healthier smile.

Another major benefit of in-office teeth whitening is sensitivity. Most people who use at home whitening products report levels of sensitivity ranging from mild to severe. Most people who choose in-office whitening report levels of sensitivity ranging from nonexistent to mild.

In-office whitening also lasts longer than the at home options. At home whitening will typically last as long as you continue to apply the strips. In-office whitening, on the other hand, can last for up to three years!

Ultimately, you’re the only one who knows if in-office whitening is right for you. Based on the substantial benefits, though, we can’t recommend it enough. With that in mind, we offer complimentary teeth whitening consultations. Contact us today for yours!

5 Halloween Tips for Oral Care

5 Halloween Tips for Oral Care

Halloween is always a fun time for all. Dressing up as your favorite characters, going out with friends and eating lots of treats make for a great time. However, as delicious as all the treats may be, it can be a hazardous time for your teeth. While you should enjoy yourself, it is important to maintain proper oral care. Doing so will prevent many issues that occur with the buildup of sugar. Keep reading for our top 5 tips for maintaining oral care during the Halloween season.

Avoid sticky treats

While treats should definitely be enjoyed during Halloween, one kind of treat should not be. Anything that has a sticky texture should be avoided. The length of time that a sugary food is in your mouth affects the process of tooth decay. Because sticky foods tend to be chewed for long periods of time, the risk for tooth decay increases drastically. Furthermore, these candies take longer to be washed away by saliva. Sticky treats to avoid include bubblegum, taffy, caramel, gummies or licorice.

Eat your treats with your meals

A good trick to go along with your treats is to eat your candy after a meal. This will prevent you from overeating your candy, as you should only be eating meals around three times a day. Also, the production of saliva increases during meals. This allows for the cancellation of acids that are produced by the bacteria in your mouth. As a result, food particles are rinsed away easier.

Opt for the soft candies

Forget the hard candies and go for the soft ones. Softer candies leave the mouth faster, decreasing risk of tooth decay. Also, they do not require as much impact on your teeth as harder ones. Great options include peppermint patties, peanut butter cups, chocolates and candy corn.

Choose your costume wisely

It is not just candy that can harm your teeth. When designing your costume, make sure you are only using dentist-approved makeup on your teeth. Oftentimes, tutorials will suggest using black eyeliner to fake missing teeth. Instead, use blackout wax meant for teeth. The fake teeth that are sold at Halloween party stores should also be avoided, as they can contain a high level of lead.

Do not forget to brush

The consumption of sugary treats means that you should be even more stringent about your oral health routine. Never skip out on brushing your teeth after meals. To combat the sugar intake, use a mouthwash once a day as well. Flossing daily will help to prevent any cavities.

While some may think that you should brush your teeth immediately after eating, this is not true. Ideally, you should wait approximately 30 minutes after eating to brush. This is because brushing immediately after eating acidic foods can actually harm your teeth. Some foods soften your enamel, so brushing immediately after could damage it further. For best results, drink water immediately after eating to rinse away sugar. Then brush your teeth thirty minutes later with a fluoride toothpaste.

Enjoy your Halloween, but make sure you continue maintaining your oral care routine. Do not forget your semi-annual teeth cleaning—this is a preventative measure. Call Smiles NY at 888-353-7165 to schedule your cleaning today.

gum disease symptoms

Do You Have Gum Disease? Here’s How to Check

Around half of all adults older than thirty have periodontal disease. That’s close to 65 million Americans walking around with advanced gum disease. Let that sink in for a moment.

The cause of this rampant lack of dental hygiene is partly from people not taking enough care of their gums, such as not flossing or brushing less than the recommend amount. This is also caused by a startling lack of knowledge of what gum disease is.  Thankfully, we’re here to change that. Read on to learn what gum disease is and how to check if you have gum disease.

Gingivitis and Periodontitis

You’ve heard of gingivitis before, we all have, but what is it? Well, gingivitis is an inflammation of your gums caused by a buildup of bacteria. The bacteria are caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar. The plaque and tartar are caused by poor dental hygiene.

Gingivitis is the milder form of gum disease. It’s easily treatable improving brushing habits, flossing daily, and getting regular teeth cleanings. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is much more serious.

Periodontitis is “advanced gingivitis.” It’s when your gums actually pull away from your teeth and form infected areas called pockets. These bacteria from these pockets spreads below your gum line and begins to break down gum tissue. If left untreated, these bacteria can even break down bone. Either of these will require a gum graft or bone graft to fix.

While it’s true that almost 65 million Americans have some form of gum disease, you’ll know if you have periodontitis. How will you know? You’ll start to display some of the gum disease symptoms listed below.

Your Gums are Swollen, Receding, or Bleeding

A simple way to tell the health of your gums is by how they look and feel. This may sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised by the large number of people who pay little attention to what’s going on in their mouths.

Ask yourself the following questions: what color are your gums? What size are your gums? How far down your teeth do they reach? How do they respond to being brushed? What about being flossed?

The answers will start to give you an idea of how healthy your gums are. If they’re pink and “normal sized,” you’re in luck. If they’re red and inflamed, you’re going to want to practice better brushing and flossing habits. If your gums bleed while brushing and flossing, it’s time to seriously reevaluate your dental hygiene.

Your Teeth are Sensitive

Another simple way to test whether you have gum disease or not is to pay attention to how your teeth are feeling. A healthy set of teeth won’t be sensitive to hot or cold food and drink. You’ll be able to eat ice cream without wincing if your teeth and gums are healthy.

On the other hand,  if your teeth hurt after eating or drinking something hot or cold, it’s time to start brushing and flossing more often. Sensitive teeth are a common sign of gingivitis

You Have Bad Breath

This may seem too obvious, but persistent bad breath is a sure sign that something’s going on in your mouth. It’s important to note that we’re not talking about morning breath, but chronic halitosis.

Halitosis is bad breath caused by bacteria and the decay of food particles. Remember, a buildup of bacteria leads to both gingivitis and periodontitis. So, if you have bad breath and think you may have gum disease, you’re going to want to improve your brushing and flossing habits.

If you have any questions about how to prevent gum disease, come see the experts at SmilesNY. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

Celebrity Dental Secrets

Five Celebrity Dental Secrets

Have you ever looked at a magazine and thought about how perfect celebrities seem to be on the cover? They seem to always have the perfect body and the even more perfect smile.

If you are wondering how celebrities get their perfect pearly smile, then you have come to the right place. SmilesNY is about to tell you some of the celebrity dental secrets that make the smiles of celebrities perfect for the cover.

Teeth Whitening

A pearly set of white teeth will always be good to look at. Yellowish stained teeth will just look awful on pictures, and they are not good to show off at all. You may observe that celebrities on the red carpet are always showing off their sparkling white teeth. Do not get tricked as most of them may have undergone teeth whitening procedure.

In cosmetic teeth whitening procedure, experts use a powerful bleaching agent which is applied to the teeth. This bleaching agent makes the teeth whiter than its natural color.

Discoloration on the teeth may be caused by the things that we drink such as coffee, soda, and wine. However, do not feel bad if your teeth are not as white as you want them to be. This procedure will help you fix that.

Braces

Try Googling images of celebrities back when they were teenagers and compare it to how their teeth look like now that they are adults. You may see that their teeth were crooked, while their teeth now are way more aligned. There is a great chance that they have had braces.

There are a lot of orthodontist braces which may be helpful for you to use. In general, these braces can fix crooked teeth and put them and your lips into correct alignment. If you ask people who have had braces before, they may tell you that it can be very uncomfortable. However, here at SmilesNY, we can assure you that the results will be worth it.

Porcelain Veneers

If you feel like braces are too much of a hassle to wear for a long period of time, you might want to ask your dentist about porcelain veneers. These thin but solid pieces of porcelain will give you the various benefits of having braces without wearing the braces.

For this procedure, make sure that you consult our experts here at SmilesNY. The material for porcelain veneers should be sturdy and well made. Due to this, it is important to go to a trustworthy clinic to get them.

Dental Implants

Smiling with a missing tooth is never a good idea. If you have unfortunately lost a permanent tooth because of an accident, do not worry about not getting it back. Dental implants will easily solve your problem.

Dental implants make use of an artificial tooth. This tooth is held by a root placed into your jaw. Celebrities have had dental implants not only to fill a missing tooth, but also to change the shape of their teeth.

Dental Crowns

A dental crown is also known as a cap because of what it looks like. Dental crowns are prosthetic objects which are cemented onto the teeth to cover the damaged ones. Once a dental crown has been placed, only a dentist will be able to remove it. A dental crown does not only hide the appearance of a damaged tooth, it also gives it more strength.

Here at SmilesNY, we offer Porcelain Dental Crowns which can strengthen the structure of your tooth and protect it from any further damage. Ask our specialists about it.

Celebrities across the country may have a lot of things that make them different from the others. But one fact is for sure, they all have a good cosmetic dentist who help them so they can show off a perfect smile on the red carpet. If you want to wear a smile worthy of being on the covers of magazines, make an appointment with us here at SmilesNY.

Activities to Get Kids Excited About Dental Health

4 Activities to Get Kids Excited About Dental Health

Once you see that your child is beginning to grow some teeth, it is also time to think about his or her dental health. Some kids, however, may find taking care of their teeth to be a bit difficult or too much work. Sometimes, making them brush their teeth is a struggle that parents face. That is why it is important to teach them to care about dental health as early as possible.

The best place to teach your children about the importance of dental health is at home. As the first tooth starts to grow, you can start encouraging your kids to have healthy dental habits.

Get your kids excited about taking good care of their teeth with these fun activities.

1. Let your toddler choose his own toothbrush and toothpaste.

For years, various companies have manufactured toothbrushes and toothpaste that have cartoon characters on them. There are also toothbrushes that have lights on them. The lights turn on when you start and turns off after a full recommended 2-minute brushing. These products, which are made to keep your teeth clean and healthy, are designed to be appealing to kids.

The next time you head to the grocery store, ask your kid to choose the toothbrush that has his favorite character on them. Then let him choose his own toothpaste in his favorite flavor. This way, he will always look forward to brushing his teeth.

After every meal, make it a habit to brush your teeth with your kid. Set an example, and tell him why it is important to brush your teeth after you eat. Let him see how you do it and guide him as he brushes his teeth.

2. Make an “I brushed my teeth” chart.

Design a chart that lets your kid put a star beside his name every time he finishes brushing his teeth. Put this chart on the bathroom wall where he can see it while he brushes his teeth.

With this activity, kids tend to get too excited that they do the brushing very quickly just to be able to put a star on the chart. So, make sure that a parent is present while your kid brushes to make sure that he or she is brushing his or her teeth thoroughly. You can add more fun by giving a prize (hint: no candies!) once he or she reaches a certain number of stars.

3. Do an experiment at home!

No, we are not telling you to use harmful chemicals and start boiling liquids. This experiment is easy to do, and is harmless for you and your kids.

Put each of 4 hard-boiled eggs into separate cups. Fill each cup (completely submerging the eggs) with different liquids: soda, vinegar, fruit juice and water. Leave the setup overnight. The following morning, make observations with your kids.

Tell them that the egg shell is pretty much like our teeth. Anything that we drink or eat will also affect our dental health as digestion starts in the mouth. It is important to add a detail to the egg submerged in soda. The egg will completely change in color. Try brushing it off with toothpaste, so kids can see how important toothpaste is.

4. Encourage them to be more conscious with the food that they eat.

Cut out different pictures of food (healthy and unhealthy) from magazines. Ask your kids to put each picture of food into one of these two groups: Healthy and Unhealthy Food. Guide them as they do the groupings. If you need some health, check out our guide about food that is bad for your teeth.

Once your kid is done, review the pictures and ask them why he or she thinks it is healthy or unhealthy, then validate their answer. Gather all the pictures of healthy food and put them inside a bag. Label the bag “Happy Teeth” and tell them that the food inside the bag, does not only make our body healthy, it also keeps our teeth happy.

Place the pictures of the unhealthy food into another bag and label it “Sad Teeth” and tell them how eating sweets make our teeth sad. This activity will help your kids identify the foods that are bad for their teeth. It will also show them how to take care of their general health through the food that they eat.

It is important to have your kids visit their dentist at least once a year. For more information on how to get your kids excited about dental health, visit us at SmilesNY. If you have any questions about Invisalign or pediatric dentistry, call today.