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What’s small and plastic, can soothe a baby, or cause an end-of-the world meltdown- all in the same day?

If you guessed pacifier, you are right! No matter what you call it- paci, dumdum, binky… these little bits of plastic and silicone have a way of running our lives. How many of you have turned the car around to go get the baby’s pacifier? Have you ever had to leave a store or dinner because you didn’t have one? Do you keep multiple backups in each room of your home? I’ll admit it. We did it in our home. I still remember each car ride starting with the question, “did you get a paci?”

 

Yes, these little lifesavers have a way of taking over. And while they can be useful, developmentally appropriate, and valuable to many babies, there comes a time when we, as parents, have to take control back. We have to help our children develop alternate ways of soothing themselves and alternate coping mechanisms that don’t involve “plugging” them up when they get fussy or loud.

 

It’s not an easy task. Believe me. I know. Our two youngest children loved their pacifiers and would happily walk around 24 hours a day with one stuck in their mouths. Pacifiers were lifesavers on long car rides, during the night and other times when they needed soothing. But, as your Anderson pediatric dentist, I am all too-familiar with the damage that these little lifesavers can cause to a child’s smile if not taken away in a timely manner, and I want to offer you support and encouragement as you embark on the challenge.

 

Why use a pacifier at all? There are mixed opinions about introducing a pacifier to young infants and whether it should be done at all. Some babies refuse to even take one. However, there are some beneficial reasons for allowing your baby to have a pacifier. Most recognized is its soothing effect. Babies naturally use their sucking mechanism to self-soothe. A pacifier can offer a non-nutritive means of self-soothing, rather than always offering a bottle or breast. Pacifiers have also been linked to lower risk for SIDS. And, of course, pacifiers are used for the obvious reason- to pacify a crying baby. For many, pacifiers are a psychological security for the child.

 

Can pacifiers cause permanent problems? This answer is somewhat complicated because it really boils down to the age of the child using it, and the frequency and intensity. As a pediatric dentist in Anderson, our general recommendation is that you need to limit a pacifier’s use after age 1 and try to be rid of it completely by age 3. By age 4, pacifiers can cause an overbite, open bite, cross bite and narrowed palate- even those labeled as orthodontic-friendly. These problems can all negatively impact the child’s oral development, can cause problems with chewing, speech and appearance and can require orthodontics to correct.

 

The simple answer is that the earlier you get rid of the pacifier, the better, and easier it will be for the child- and parent. While a child that is 3 years old may be able to reason better and have a clearer understanding of what is happening, often a younger child will be able to move on quicker, with less of a fight. Also, by the time the child is 2 or 3 years old, you have other issues coming into play, such as potty training, preschool, etc., that may make it more difficult to take away their primary soothing mechanism. Ultimately, it will be up to you as the parent to decide when your child is ready to pass on the paci. The good news is that even limiting the frequency of use can help prevent some of the oral developmental problems listed above. If your child isn’t ready to totally give it up, we recommend limiting its use and not allowing your child to keep a pacifier in his or her mouth all day long.

 

If you are ready to lose the pacifier for good, here are a few tips that have helped parents successfully win in the battle of the binky.

 

  • Start gradually. Limit the pacifier to bedtime and only allow your child to have it in his or her crib or bed.

 

  • For children that are closer to 3, have a discussion with your child and explain that it’s time to get rid of the pacifier. You can reason with them and explain why the pacifier needs to go. Offer to replace it with something for “big kids.”

 

  • Replace the pacifier with a lovey or stuffed animal that your child can carry with them, sleep with and hold in the car. Anywhere the pacifier was previously used, the lovey or animal can go.

 

  • Read books about it with your child.

 

  • Refuse to buy more. When the last one is gone, they are gone.

     
  •  If you are feeling creative, use a pacifier fairy, to come pick up the pacifiers one night and leave a prize in their place. Pinterest has tons of great ideas about this topic. We even saw one about taking your older child to Build-a-Bear and letting them stuff all their pacifiers inside a bear so that they can feel like they still have them close by, but they get a new stuffed animal to soothe with instead.

 

  • Patience. Some children really do use the pacifier to soothe themselves, even at the age of 2. Be mindful that if your child is still truly soothing himself with the pacifier, taking it away abruptly may lead to other unwanted habits, such as thumb sucking. In these cases, it may be better to limit the time with the pacifier and begin introducing alternative soothing mechanisms before taking the pacifier away.

 

On a personal note, my wife and I decided to ditch the paci for our youngest daughter when she was 18-months old. While she didn’t totally agree, we felt like she was ready. She rarely used it for sucking and we only gave it to her for sleeping and car rides. Our plan of action was to gradually reduce her exposure to it, only allowing it in the crib at nap and bedtime. We started bringing her stuffed bunny that she sleeps with in the car so that she still had a comfort item with her as we took the pacifier away.

 

So, with our daughter, we gradually reduced her time with her pacifier. But, each child is different. With our son, around 18 months, we felt like his speech wasn’t progressing because he always walked around with his pacifier in his mouth. My wife decided after his 18-month pediatric visit, to take it away cold turkey. Of course, we had one in case it didn’t go well. But the amazing thing was, he never once cried for it or asked for it. All of our hesitation and fear was for nothing. Each child is different and each situation will be different. Only a parent can truly know what is best for their child.

 

Like anything with children, there are a million ideas, a million ways to do it and a million people to tell you what you should do and how they would do it. When and how you take away your child’s pacifier is a personal decision. By the age of 3, many children will lose interest in the pacifier and almost all children that still have one, will not be using it to actively suck. Like anything, it becomes a habit. Anderson Pediatric Dentistry doesn’t want to make your parenting decisions. We simply want to help you and your child succeed by providing the resources and information you need. Our goal is to be more than the best Anderson pediatric dentist. We want to be your neighborhood dentist, go-to resource and teammate in the journey of raising happy and healthy children with beautiful smiles!

 

If you are a current patient and your child is battling the binky or has recently given up his or her pacifier, we want to know! We want to celebrate this accomplishment with them because it’s definitely Something to Smile About!

 

If you are looking for a dental home for your child, we welcome you! Call us today at 864-760-1440 to see how Anderson Pediatric Dentistry can give you and your child Something to Smile About!

The temperatures may not agree, but according to the calendar, fall is here. And if you are going to fit in all the fun fall festivities, you better start now! From apple-picking to pumpkin patches, haunted houses and fall festivals, September and October are slammed with family-friendly activities. Don’t know where to start? Never fear. Your friendly neighbor, and favorite Anderson, SC kids dentist, is here to help with a list of our favorite fall activities.

Apple Picking

The mountains of South Carolina and North Carolina are full of orchards that offer apple picking this time of year. Depending on the type of apple you like, you better go soon!

We like Skytop Orchard, partly because we have a great time every time we visit, but also partly because it’s the only one we have visited- yet. There are several to choose from that seem to offer the full-family experience, with activities ranging from playgrounds to hayrides.

One thing that we do find handy is the ripening schedule listed on Skytop’s page, here. As you can see, if you wait for the cooler weather to arrive, you will likely come home with a bushel of Granny Smith apples, as most of the other varieties will have already been picked.

Other nearby orchards:

Bryson’s Apple Orchard

Justus Orchard

Grandad’s Apples

Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard


Denver Downs

Fall Fun begins here at Denver Downs! Find your way through our 10 acre corn maze, enjoy a tractor pulled hayride, see the adorable farm animals, play in the haybarn, ziplines, giant slide, jumping pillow, mini maze, low ropes course, ballzone, farmin’ foosball, Little Farmer's corral, farm tricycles, giant spiderweb, tire mountain, pumpkin bowling, Farm Style Minecraft and much More! Weekends enjoy bonfires, live music, and our famous pig races. Sold Separately: Concession / Dukes Sandwiches combo meals, Pumpkin and Sun Flower picking, and New for 2019 Gem Mining! For those who like spooky we have our Seace room this season in the barnyard. Fall Festival/ Corn Maze is open September 28- November 10. Visit their website to see all the activities and schedule of events.

 

Pumpkin Patch

Trinity United Methodist Pumpkin Patch

Looking for the perfect pumpkin to carve? Want to get a great photo of your kid sin the middle of beautiful pumpkins? Look no further than the pumpkin patch at Trinity United Methodist church. Open October 9-31, this is more than just a pumpkin patch, it’s a fundraiser for various charities. In fact, all the profits from the pumpkin patch go to charity. The church doesn’t keep a penny. You can find your perfect pumpkin and help fund a need, all at the same time!

According to Trinity’s website, the pumpkins come from a fundraising organization, called Pumpkins USA, that partners with the Navajo Indians in New Mexico. Hey grow, load and deliver the pumpkins to the church with set prices. The church is able to keep a percentage of the sale price to give to charities. The more pumpkins that are sold, the more money the church is able to make to give away to the selected charities.

If you are looking for other options, or maybe want to make a full day out of it, there are several other pumpkin patches that would make great day trips for the family!

Check out this website to see some of South Carolina’s top pumpkin patches.


Boo in the Zoo

Trick-or-treat your way through the zoo during this event at the Greenville Zoo.

Prisma Health Boo in the Zoo takes place October 18-20 & 25-27. The event will feature 20 trick-or-treat stations; character photo opportunities, including princesses; an extinct species graveyard, Dragon Alley and Alice's Fun House! 

https://greenvillezoo.com/260/Boo-in-the-Zoo

 

Trunk or Treat

Looking for a safe and controlled environment for your children to trick-or-treat? Check out one of the many trunk-or-treat events around town, where kids are able to go from car to car and receive candy without the chaos of walking down dark, busy streets. At most of these fun events, the cars and volunteers will be dressed up so you never know what you might find! And if you are still set on the traditional Halloween trick-or-treating, you can use these events as a warm-up. Some start as early as the first weekend in October!

 

Junior League of Anderson County’s Spooktacular

Hosted by the Junior League of Anderson County, the Spooktacular is a family-friendly, fall-festive, event that features games and activities, a silent auction and raffle, vendors, food trucks, hayrides, costumes, contests and more.

This year’s event will be held Sunday, October 20, 2019 at Walker Century Farms from 2:00-5:00 pm. Tickets may be purchased at the event or via EventBrite. Admission is $5.00 per person.

Whichever events you choose, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry wishes you and your family a happy fall, full of good cheer, healthy smiles and lots of great oral hygiene! Remember to brush and floss after those sugary sweets and choose foods wisely to avoid pulling out fillings! If your child doesn't have them already, it's a great time to consider dental sealants on their permanent teeth to help prevent future cavities!

As always, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry wants to be more than Anderson's best pediatric dentist. We want to be your partner in oral health, a friendly face for your child and a go-to resource for your dental needs. If you are looking for a dental home for your child, give us a call today at 864-760-1440 and let us give you and your child Something to Smile About!

With the YMCA youth soccer season kicking off this week, we know that life is about get even more hectic for many of our families. Between school, sports, after-school activities and all the fun fall activities that are soon to get underway, who has time to cook, much less eat together?

Not so fast! Before you ditch the family dinners for the rest of the fall- or year- Anderson Pediatric Dentistry wants to remind you that sitting down to eat with your family is about more than just food. In fact, study after study have linked eating family meals as one of the most important things you can do for your child! Life is busy. We get it. But sitting down to eat as a family can have a tremendous impact on everyone.

According to Anne Fishel, co-founder of The Family Dinner Project, a professor at Harvard Medical School and the author of "Home for Dinner", family dinners are one of the best things you can do as a parent! Years of research are now claiming that these benefits can come from regular family dinners!

·       Dinnertime conversation boosts vocabulary even more than being read aloud to. Children with large vocabularies learn to   read earlier.
 

·       Adolescents who ate family meals five to seven times a week were twice as likely to get A’s in school as those who ate dinner with their families fewer than two times a week.
 

·        Several of the studies link regular family dinners with lowering a host of high risk teenage behaviors parents fear: smoking, binge drinking, marijuana use, violence, school problems, eating disorders and sexual activity.
 

·       In a very recent study, kids who had recently been victims of cyberbullying bounced back more readily if they had regular family dinners.
 

·       In a New Zealand study, regular family meals was strongly associated with positive moods in adolescents. And we ask, who doesn’t need teenagers with more positive moods?!?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/01/12/the-most-important-thing-you-can-do-with-your-kids-eat-dinner-with-them/

Don’t just take the word of your Anderson pediatric dentist. Take the advice of family therapists, researchers and stacks of studies. Eating regular family dinners is important. Whether it’s hotdogs, lasagna or sandwiches, it’s not about the quality of the food. It’s about the quality of the time spent together with your family. Don’t let life’s chaos ruin your family dinners. This week Anderson Pediatric Dentistry will be providing easy meal ideas and recipes to help you get back to your family dinners!

As always, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry strives to be more than just your kid’s dentist, or more than just the best pediatric dentist that offers cleanings, sealants, fluoride and x-rays. We want to be your go-to resource for your child’s dental health, as well as their overall health and well-being. We believe it takes a village to raise great kids and we want all our patients to succeed in all aspects of life. 

If you have dental concerns or are looking for dental home for your child, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry would love to welcome you into our family. Call us today at 864-760-1440, or visit the website to learn more at www.andersonpediatricdentistry.com. Let us give you and your child Something to Smile About!

 

When our children are infants, their baby teeth are a BIG deal. We spend hours consoling them as they drool and gnaw on their hands during the teething process. We mark the date of their first tooth’s arrival in their baby books. We get just as excited as they do the first time they get to put their tooth under their pillow and eagerly await the tooth fairy.

So, why then, do many people feel like baby teeth aren’t as important as permanent teeth? The answer is right in that one word- permanent. Because we know that our “big” teeth are meant to last for life, we somehow get the idea that our children’s baby teeth, that we know they will lose at some point, must not be that important. After all, they get replaced, right?

Wrong! Baby teeth, despite their small stature and their shorter life span, serve many important roles in your child’s long-term oral health and development.

Promote good nutrition through proper chewing
Just as adult, or permanent, teeth do, the baby teeth serve the important role of biting, gnashing and chewing our food so that our bodies can readily digest the nutrients. Missing or painful baby teeth can make the child hesitant to eat certain foods which can cause them to lose out on much-needed nutrients.

Serve as space holders for the permanent teeth and provide a path for permanent teeth to follow when they are ready to erupt
Baby teeth are essentially a road map for the permanent teeth to follow, and when removed prematurely, before the permanent tooth is ready to erupt, it can cause long-term problems, even changing the structure of the child’s jaw bone and face. The permanent teeth may come in improperly, or possibly not at all, and your child could require orthodontic treatment to correct the problem.

Build self-esteem by providing a beautiful smile
Children naturally love to smile and find joy in the world. Beautiful baby teeth help them to do so. Even a young child can begin to feel self-conscious of missing or decayed teeth.

Enable the child to pay attention and learn in school without the distraction of dental pain.
It’s simple. Healthy teeth don’t hurt. In fact, kids don’t even think about their teeth when they are healthy. However, decayed teeth can cause a lot of pain! This pain can prevent them from getting adequate sleep, interrupt their day, and be distractive, preventing your child from excelling at school.

So, while it’s tempting to skip brushing your young child’s teeth when life gets busy, remember these small teeth play a BIG role in your child’s oral health and development. And remember, the care and importance that you give to their baby teeth will influence how they take care of their teeth on their own.

Taking care of your young child’s teeth can be simple. Follow these rules and help your child’s smile shine bright.

1)     Start brushing as soon as your child gets his or her first tooth. Brush twice a day, even if it’s just for a short amount of time.

2)     Floss any teeth that touch.

3)     Limit sugary drinks, even juice.

4)     Don’t go to bed with any drinks other than water.

5)     Model good oral health by taking care of your own teeth! Kids learn by watching their parents.

6)     Schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist within six months of the arrival of their first tooth, or by their one-year old     birthday. Early prevention and monitoring, as well as education about good oral health, will help prevent problems.

 

As always, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry wants to be your go-to resource for helping to educate parents and children alike, and giving all children the beautiful smiles that they deserve. If you are looking for a dental home for your child, give us a call at 864-760-1440, and let us give you Something to Smile About!

Cavities happen. It’s an unfortunate truth that affects approximately 40% of children by the age of 5 years old. Dental caries (cavities) in children is the most common chronic health disease in children, more common than asthma.


Many parents, upon hearing that their child has a cavity on their baby teeth, ask us, “Do we really need to treat it if the tooth is going to fall out anyway?”
 

The answer is, YES. Dental decay that is left untreated on baby teeth can actually cause harm for the permanent teeth below the gums. Poor dental health that begins in infancy can have longstanding effects on a child all the way through adolescence and adulthood.


However, we understand that treating especially young children, or those with special needs is not always an ideal choice, and sometimes the treatment can be better received when the child is a bit older. Silver Diamine Fluoride is a great option in these situations. While it’s not a solution for every child with dental caries, it can be a good band-aid fix for many.


What is Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF)? SDF is a liquid that is brushed directly on the cavity to stop decay. It is a painless procedure and can be a good treatment option for cavities if your child is young or has special needs, as SDF can help delay more extensive procedures such as drilling or sedation. Think of it as a band-aid solution, as it will not be a permanent solution to the cavity, but can buy the patient more time and keep the decay from worsening until the child is old enough for treatment to be more successful, or the baby tooth falls out.


Keep in mind that SDF blackens the decayed part of the tooth, leaving it discolored, and that the tooth will need to be monitored by your dentist to make sure that the cavity is not growing. But, if the cavity is on a baby tooth that will eventually fall out, or if the tooth is in the back of the mouth that’s hard to see, SDF might be a good option.


If you have questions, or would like to discuss Silver Diamine Fluoride as a treatment option for your child, please contact Anderson Pediatric Dentistry.


http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/what-is-silver-diamine-fluoride-sdf-and-is-it-right-for-my-child/


https://www.oralhealthgroup.com/features/early-childhood-caries-the-dental-disease-of-infants/


US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, US Public Health Service. Oral Health in America: Report of the US Surgeon General. NIH publication no. 00-213. Washington, DC: DHHS, NIDCR, USPHS; 2000.