Hudson Valley Parent

HVP - Feb. 2014

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HAPPY TEETH (Continued from Page 29) about their first trip to the dentist, Waldman suggests an electric toothbrush to get them accustomed to the noise and feel of the dentist's brushes. "It makes it less scary," she says. Positive reinforcement The best way to prepare your child for his first trip to the dentist is to talk about it positively. "Kids follow their parents' footsteps," says Dr. Evan Hershkowitz of Seven Seas Pediatric Dentistry in Wappingers Falls. "Tell them, 'They'll count your teeth, they'll brush your teeth, it'll be fun.'" If parents have anxiety about going to the dentist, kids will pick up on it. But if your child has no negative ideas about the dentist in their mind, they'll be much more relaxed when they get in the chair. Keep your conversations with your kids about the dentist positive, and help your child choose a dentist-themed bedtime story featuring her favorite characters, like Little Critters' Just Tooth tips Your child's teeth may be more susceptible to cavities than you realize. Follow these four tips to make sure your kids' pearly whites are strong from the start. No bedtime bottles Sucking on a bottle all night long can lead to early and rapid tooth decay. Extended nighttime breastfeeding after teeth have begun to develop can also cause decay, so be sure to stop feeding as soon as your child falls asleep. Avoid sharing utensils If you're feeding your child with the same utensils you used to taste the food, you may be unknowingly transmitting harmful bacteria to his mouth. Try to switch to a clean utensil before feeding your child. Keep thumbs down Children who suck their thumbs can develop cavities at higher rates than children who don't. If you notice your child starting to suck his thumb, work with him to break the habit in a way that's comfortable for him and saves his smile. Regular appointments Dental hygienist Karen Gross, of Dr. Gina Prokosch-Cook's Family Dentistry in New Windsor, lets then 3-year-old Victoria Perry of Wallkill play with some dental tools. "I can't put into words how great Karen is," says Victoria's mom, Jacqueline. "She is the reason Victoria now loves going to the dentist. She is patient, explains everything and makes it a fun and positive experience." Visit for more reader pics of Hudson Valley kids at the dentist. 30 Hudson Valley Parent n February 2014 Even if your child does not appear to have dental problems, bring him in for a checkup at least once a year. Regular dentist visits will help your child develop good habits right away and will make taking care of his teeth a natural part of his daily routine.

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