Our Blog

Children’s Thumb and Pacifier Use

May 7th, 2021

Young children commonly suck on their thumbs, fingers, or a pacifier. For babies and young children this action can be soothing and helps them to feel secure. At an early age, sucking habits are not something to cause concern. However, remember that pacifiers should never be dipped in sugar or other sweeteners as this can promote cavities.

By the age of two years, children should be encouraged to stop sucking on pacifiers and their thumb. This is because thumb and pacifier sucking can become problematic as children become older.  Continued sucking can cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and teeth alignment. It can also cause changes to the roof of the mouth.

Generally, by age of two to four years most children stop sucking behaviors on their own.  You can encourage your child to quit by praising and rewarding them for not sucking during times that they normally engage in that behavior (such as being away from you or during bedtime). You can also bandage your child’s thumb at night as a way to discourage them from sucking.

If your child has a favorite pacifier you might want to consider sewing it into a new stuffed animal so the pacifier is still there, but not in a way that can be used orally.  Some parents have found that a “pacifier fairy” who takes away a pacifier and leaves a “big kid toy” can also be effective at ending the pacifier habit. If these suggestions don’t work for you, be sure to check with your pediatric dentist for more ideas.

Starting at the age of one year, children should see a pediatric dentist who will monitor the child's dental health. Their dentist can also help you identify if there are problems from continued thumb sucking or pacifier use.

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Sports and Teeth

April 2nd, 2021

Patients often ask if they can still play sports while in orthodontic treatment. The answer is YES!  Many of our patients (children, teens, and adults) are active with sports.

Dr. Barden recommends that everyone always protect their smile with a properly fitted mouthguard when playing sports and there is the potential for injury to your mouth or jaw. This is true even if you are not in orthodontic treatment.

When should you wear a mouthguard?

  • Mouthguards should be used when playing any contact sport such as football, hockey, baseball, softball, wrestling, field hockey, boxing, martial arts, rugby, soccer, basketball, and lacrosse.
  • Mouth guards can also be helpful for non-contact sports such as gymnastics or skateboarding where falls and accidents can cause mouth and jaw injuries.
  • Wear the mouthguard for practices as well as games.

Mouthguard tips:

  • Mouthguards should have enough flex that they won’t break or tear.
  • Mouthguards should fit properly and be comfortable.
  • Mouthguards should not impair speech or breathing.
  • Custom made mouthguards often work the best and are the most comfortable. See your dentist if you need a custom fit mouthguard.
  • If you have braces you will need a mouthguard that fits with braces. See Dr. Barden if you need one.
  • Don’t wear orthodontic appliances, such as retainers, when wearing a mouthguard.
  • Rinse the mouthguard in cool, soapy water after each use.
  • Store the mouthguard in a hard case and away from the sun or in the heat. Sun and heat may melt or distort mouthguards.
  • Children and teens may need new mouthguards as they grow to ensure proper fit.

Sport-related dental injuries can be painful and expensive.  A quality mouth guard is a good investment to protect your smile.  Ask Dr. Barden if you have any questions about mouthguards and protecting your smile while in orthodontic treatment.

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Benefits of Reading “Teeth Books” with Children

March 5th, 2021

We love a good book – especially if it is a “tooth book”! No, we don’t mean a book from Dr. Barden’s time in dental school. We love books written for children about teeth and dental health. There are a number of excellent children's books with a tooth or dental theme. There are books that tell the story of the tooth fairy, demonstrate good dental hygiene, and teach about first visits to the dentist. Dr. Barden even has a book about how a moose brushes his teeth (which happens to be a favorite with his children)!

What are the benefits of reading a "tooth book" with your children?

  • For younger children, reading a book about their favorite character going to the dentist can help to reduce any nervous feelings they might have before their appointment. Children are afraid of things that are unfamiliar, so reading a book that explains what will happen during their visit can be very helpful.
  • Tooth books promote healthy teeth and good oral hygiene. In our office you can find books that highlight healthy eating and teach proper brushing and flossing techniques, in fun, age-appropriate stories.
  • Tooth books teach about teeth. Who knows - you might be raising a future dentist, hygienist, or orthodontist!
  • Reading with your children helps them develop a love of reading and is often a special bonding time.

There are so many reasons to read with your children. Do you recommend a good tooth book that your children  love to read? Share the title and author with us on our TwitterInstagram, or Facebook page!

Happy reading!

Recommended Valentine’s Day Treats

February 5th, 2021

At Barden Orthodontics we love Valentine’s day.  Especially during these challenging times, it is important to show your love and appreciation for your family, friends, and other special people in your life.

As you think about the different treats to share with these special people, don’t forget about your teeth. You want everyone to have a beautiful, healthy smile and too much candy can negatively impact your smile!

Dr. Douglas Barden’s Recommendations for Celebrating Valentine’s day:

Do:

  • Share your love with people you care about in your life. We can all use some cheer and appreciation!
  • If you have braces, pick treats that are soft and will not damage your brackets or appliances. Chocolate covered strawberries are a good choice. Dark chocolate even has some health benefits!
  • If you have Invisalign or clear aligners, you can eat whatever treats you want as you will take out your aligners. Remember, DO brush your teeth before putting them back in.
  • Show your love for someone with something other than candy or treats. Kids enjoy stuffed animals, balloons, stickers, and small toys. Adults might enjoy flowers, a special dinner delivered, or other things that show you care.

Don’t

  • If you have braces or other orthodontic appliances Do not eat treats that are hard and sticky. That means candy with nuts, hard candy (sorry, but no Valentine conversation hearts!), and sticky treats such as gum, caramels or licorice should be avoided. These can damage your appliances and slow down treatment.
  • Do not eat treats all day long as that prolongs the amount of time the sugar is on your teeth. Pick one time for a treat and then brush and floss your teeth.

Show the people in your life some love this Valentine’s day. Then show your teeth some love too! Brush, floss, and use a fluoride rinse every day.  We love a beautiful, healthy smile!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Dr Barden and his team at Barden Orthodontics!

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