8 Ways to Improve Oral Health at Home



Encourage your child to brush their teeth by making it a rewarding experience. Keep track of your child’s brushing habits throughout the week. Make sure to tell them “good job” after each time they brush. Get them excited about showing you their teeth by asking to see their bright white smile. If you are excited, your child will be excited too!


Brush your teeth with your children. Let them see you taking care of your smile. Children are more likely to follow healthy habits when they see their parents practicing healthy habits as well.


Don’t just teach your kids to brush their teeth, also teach them the importance of healthy eating.


Stay hydrated, and drink the recommended amount of water each day.


These massage gums and help clean teeth as you chew. They also increase salivation, which neutralizes acids and alkalis within the mouth. Foods that are fiber-rich include apples, carrots and cucumbers.


Calcium helps to strengthen teeth and bones and is essential for growing children. Foods high in calcium include milk, cheese and yogurt.


Nuts are rich in calcium, magnesium and phosphate, which are important nutrients for dental health. Great nuts to snack on include cashews, peanuts, almonds and walnuts.


If meat fibers stuck in your teeth are left overnight, they can putrefy and release acids that will cause tooth decay.

5 Things To Remember About Nutrition & Dental Health

What can you do about your child’s nutrition?


Choose healthy foods and maintain a well-balanced diet for proper dental and physical health.


Avoid giving your child foods high in sugar, such as soda pop, candies, sweetened cereals, fruit toll-ups, and pastries between meals.


Offer your child snacks that are low in sugar such as raw fruits and vegetables, pretzels, cheese, yogurt, and unsweetened applesauce.


Do not give your child a bottle or sippy cup filled with a sweet liquid (e.g., juice, sweetened water, soda pop, milk) when putting them to sleep (nap or bedtime).  Instead, fill the bottle with plain tap water only. Best of all, don’t give any bottle at nap or bedtime. (Children will go to sleep with out a bottle!)


Help your child develop good eating habits.

Can My Child Really Need a Root Canal?

It’s a scary thought, right?  But yes, even children as young as 2 years old could need a root canal — a fact that many unassuming parents find alarming.  In fact, even with all of the advances in the healthcare industry, oral healthcare is on the decline.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention found a significant increase in the number of preschoolers with cavities.  An interview with dental professionals confirmed that they are seeing more preschoolers with 6 to 10 cavities than ever before, many of which require treatment under general anesthesia.

What’s more? ALL children are at risk – regardless of ethnicity or income level.

So what’s at the root of all these root canals?  Many parents are not even aware that a child’s first dentist visit should be around their 1st birthday.  And even those that are don’t quite understand the importance of beginning an at-home oral care routine early.  Let’s face it – at the end of a long day, the last thing parents want to deal with is a battle over brushing teeth.

But with childhood dental disease on the rise, it’s more important than ever to put your child’s dental care first.  Here are a few steps to take to prevent a root canal in children:

Take your child to visit the dentist around their 1st birthday – even if they only have a few teeth. Just because you can’t see the teeth, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Teeth actually begin to form in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy.
Brush the teeth of children 2 or younger with a tiny bit of fluoride 2x per day. Children don’t learn to spit until age 2.  At that point, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. 
Reduce snacking. Eating starchy or sugary foods causes the pH level in your mouth to drop sharply, resulting in an increase in acid for at least 20 minutes until saliva normalizes the pH. This frequent exposure deteriorates enamel. Practice good nutrition.
Do NOT share utensils with a child or clean a pacifier in your mouth. Parents with active tooth decay can pass cavity-causing bacteria via saliva.
When putting your baby to sleep with a bottle, only use tap water. Better yet, don’t leave a bottle in their crib at all. If sugars from juice or milk remain on a baby’s teeth for hours, they eat away at the enamel, creating a condition called bottle mouth (pocked or discolored front teeth).
Brush toddlers’ teeth for them. According to Dr. Tim Verwest, kids are not in a position to effectively brush their teeth until ages 7 or 9.


It’s never too early to start teaching your children good oral hygiene.  After all, good oral health is the beginning of good overall health.

But how do you get a 3-year-old to stand still long enough to learn to brush their teeth for 2 whole minutes (aka, an eternity to a toddler).

Give them a teaching tool disguised as a new toy.  A friend to share in the daily bedtime routine.

Bell Tower Shops Kidding Around Feb 15 (6)

5 Tips for Making the Dentist Less Scary

Are you gearing up for a visit to the dentist and have a less-than-eager child on your hands?  Looks like your child is joining the 75% of Americans losing sleep over tomorrow’s dreaded dentist visit.

Remember: kids aren’t born with a natural fear of the dentist, so if at all possible, don’t put any of your fear in their heads!  But if you weren’t able to intervene with damage control before their older brother haunted them with tales of dentist visits gone wrong, here are a few quick fixes to make the dentist less scary.



Happy 1st birthday, now off to the dentist! Parents should schedule their child’s first dentist visit as soon as they blow out the candles. (Well, maybe not that soon, but you get the idea.)

If your child grows up regularly visiting the dentist, they’ll be significantly more comfortable and, in turn, more likely to continue good oral hygiene for the rest of their lives.


I know, I know.  Sometimes it’s just easier to use the watermelon-flavored lollipop or the trip to Chuck E. Cheese.  The problem is that kids are much smarter than we give them credit for, and they can recognize a bribe from a mile away (not that they aren’t interested in bargaining, mind you).  But the bribe signals to them that there’s something you want them to do that they should not want to do, and this could set off the alarms.

Which leads me to the next point…


Avoid the scary words, like “drilling” and “pain.”  Instead, tell your child that the dentist is going to check their smile and count their teeth.  He’ll also look for Sugar Bugs and get rid of any that he finds.


Finally, time to get something out of those hours of make-believe!  Have your child pretend to be the dentist and use a toothbrush to clean the teeth of a stuffed animal. (StarSmilez would be perfect for this! Or, I guess, you could always try the family dog…)


Pediatric dentists are the not-so-scary version of a regular dentist.  With everything catering to young patients — office décor, treatment, interaction — they’re more likely to put your child (and you!) at ease.

Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers Brush the Plate Contest

FORT MYERS, Fla. (April 13, 2015) – Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers, Dr. Tim Verwest, DMD is offering an opportunity to children 13 years or under to ‘brush off the plate’ during a 2015 Ft. Myers Miracle game. The contest is free of charge and open to the general public.

“The Miracle are great family entertainment,” said Dr. Verwest. “We want to get people excited about dental care in a noninvasive and fun environment like the newly renovated CenturyLink Sports Complex”.

Multiple winners will be selected throughout the season and the contest will officially conclude in September. To enter to win (2) two tickets and the on field activity, visit www.drverwest.com/brush-the-plate-contest/.

The Fort Myers Miracle are the Class A Advanced minor league baseball affiliate of the Minnesota Twins Major League Baseball club. Since moving to Fort Myers in 1992, the Miracle have qualified for the Florida State League Playoffs eight times and won the Florida State League Championship in 2014. Home games are played at Hammond Stadium at the CenturyLink Sports Complex. For a game and events schedule, or more information, visit www.miraclebaseball.com.

Pediatric Dentistry of Ft Myers, Dr. Tim Verwest, DMD, continues to provide pediatric dental care to children for over 25 years. Areas of service include comprehensive dental exams, cleanings, composite fillings, dental hygiene education, extractions, fluoride treatments, sealants, sedation dentistry, space maintainers, x-rays and tooth nerve treatment. For more information, visit www.DrVerwest.com or (239) 482-2722.

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    To Pull or Not to Pull? Child’s Loose Tooth

    The simple answer? No.

    To be on the safe side, you should encourage your child to pull it out himself instead.  Only your child can really know how loose the tooth is and how much discomfort they can stand before it falls out.

    Tell your child to wiggle it with their tongue as far adn often as they can without being in too much pain.  You can even give them a few snacks to do the trick, such as apples or chocolate.

    Looseness is a sign that a tooth is ready to come out, but it could still take up to several weeks before it fully falls out (depending on how curious your little one is and how much they can’t resist playing with it!).

    New location for Pediatric Dentistry of Fort Myers. Photo By Brian Tietz.

    If you try to pull out a tooth prematurely, and the permanent teeth aren’t yet ready to replace them, other teeth may drift forward and cause crowding and spatial issues. (read: piles & piles of orthodontic bills, and the orthodontist charges a lot more than the tooth fairy these days!).  Additionally, a pulled tooth that wasn’t quite ready to be removed might tear out more of the gum tissue, which will result in a lot of blood and an increased risk of infection.

    And as a bonus, the readier it is to fall out, the less pain and bleeding there will be to deal with. (Unless, of course, your child is one of those macho types and enjoys a little pain.)

    6 Long Term Health Effects of Poor Oral Hygiene

    People generally agree that good oral hygiene is essential to overall good health.  But do you know why?

    Unfortunately, many of us don’t.  We know there is a connection; we’re just not exactly sure how deep that connection is.

    This lack of knowledge has undoubtedly led to the childhood dental disease epidemic that is currently running rampant in the US.  After all, if parents knew the long-term consequences of poor oral health, brushing and flossing would surely move to the top of the priority list.


    Here are just a handful of the dangers of poor oral hygiene:

    • Increased risk of heart attack – Oral bacteria and gum inflammation can lead to arterial inflammation, plaque build-up, and clotting.
    • Increased risk of stroke – Can cause plaque build-up in carotid arteries and clotting.
    • Increased risk of dementia – Studies show a relationship between people who lost more teeth before the age of 35 and an increased risk of dementia.
    • Severe diabetes mellitus – Severe periodontal disease often accompanies severe diabetes mellitus and is considered the 6th complication of diabetes.
    • Pregnancy complications – Increased risk of having a pre-term baby or baby with low birth weight.
    • Respiratory disease – Oral bacteria can be breathed into lungs and cause infections such as pneumonia or exacerbate existing conditions, such as COPD.

    (Want the more scientific explanation? This article goes into more detail.)

    While it is true that baby teeth will eventually fall out, it is NOT true that the unhealthiness will disappear wtih them.  Unhealthy baby teeth lead directly to unhealthy adult teeth – as well as the long list of complications to go along with them.

    It might be a battle every night over brushing, but it’s definitely a battle you want to pick.

    Everything You Need to Know About Caring for Braces

    A smile is priceless. (Remember that, Mom and Dad, when the first orthodontist bill arrives!) And a straight smile is one of the best things any parent can give their child.

    Now that your child has braces, here are a few tips & tricks for taking care of them and – more importantly – for caring for the teeth underneath.

    Brushing with braces

    Because one of the biggest enemies of healthy teeth is trapped food particles (because they alter the acidity of your mouth and cause decay), it’s extra important for kids to brush often and well during the time that they have braces.  Food can easily get caught in the wires, so kids should brush in small, circular movements with the head of the toothbrush at an angle.

    Despite the 2 minutes twice a day rule, kids may need to brush a little longer with braces. After all, it would take you longer to finish a race with obstacles in your way than without. Although braces give you a straight smile in the long run, they’re exactly that – obstacles in the way of the surface of your teeth.

    Flossing with braces

    On that note, even if your child was a reluctant flosser before, it’s now more important than ever to make it a priority. Make sure to request a floss threader from your orthodontist to avoid all of the frustration of trying to get around the wires without one.  Then, using the threader and a piece of floss, floss between the archwire and your teeth, as well as between your teeth.

    Foods to avoid with braces

    It’s a tough sacrifice to make (especially as a teenager!), but hard foods and sticky foods should definitely be avoided while wearing braces.  Because of the added chance of food getting stuck in braces, it’s also important to avoid sugary foods as well. (Even without braces, it’s a good idea to avoid sugary foods!)

    Here are a few examples of foods to avoid: gum, caramel, Starburst, licorice, ice, nuts, corn on the cob, apples, carrots, hard candies, pizza crust, popcorn, and chips.  If kids want to indulge once in a while, make sure these foods are cut into bite-sized pieces.

    (As a side note, chewing on pens, pencils, and fingernails can also damage braces!)

    The daily brushing routine is even MORE important with braces! Make sure your kids are brushing every hard-to-reach place.

    Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers sponsors spring carnival

    Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers, Dr. Tim Verwest, DMD will sponsor the 3rd annual Kids Spring Carnival benefiting the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida on Saturday, April 11, 2015 from Noon to 4 pm at the William “Bill” Austen Youth Center in Cape Coral. Tickets are available in advance for $5 per child and includes carnival style games, arts & crafts, prizes, face painting and much more.

    Among those attending include the City of Cape Coral Fire Department, Game Guys, the Shell Factory, J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Smokey the Bear, and Coastie the Safety Boat. Ronald McDonald will also be on hand for pictures and autographs.

    Pediatric Dentistry of Ft Myers, Dr. Tim Verwest, DMD, continues to provide pediatric dental care to children for over 25 years. Areas of service include comprehensive dental exams, cleanings, composite fillings, dental hygiene education, extractions, fluoride treatments, sealants, sedation dentistry, space maintainers, x-rays and tooth nerve treatment. For more information, visit www.DrVerwest.com or (239) 482-2722.

    Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers sponsors Future of Art

    FORT MYERS, Fla. (April 2, 2015) – Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers, Dr. Tim Verwest, DMD will be the exhibit sponsor for Future of Art at the Alliance for the Arts. Works of art created by elementary and middle school students across Lee County will be on display from March 30 to April 11 with an opening reception on Tuesday, April 7 from 5-7PM. Work created by high school students will then be exhibited with a second opening reception on Wednesday, April 15 from 5-7PM

    Gallery Alliance for the Arts

    “Our community always has come first. Being able to support local kids is what community engagement is all about,” said Dr. Verwest.

    This is the 23rd year the Alliance has partnered with the Lee Arts Educators Association (LAEA) to provide students with an opportunity to display their artwork in a formal exhibit. This annual show features more than forty schools and hundreds of pieces of art in a wide variety of mediums.  Judges will select winners in several categories and award a Best in Show.

    Pediatric Dentistry of Ft Myers, Dr. Tim Verwest, DMD, continues to provide pediatric dental care to children for over 25 years. Areas of service include comprehensive dental exams, cleanings, composite fillings, dental hygiene education, extractions, fluoride treatments, sealants, sedation dentistry, space maintainers, x-rays and tooth nerve treatment. For more information, visit www.DrVerwest.com or (239) 482-2722.