Pediatric dentistry of bonita springs

Are Cavities Really Contagious?

Surprisingly, yes.  The #1 chronic childhood disease – dental caries – is actually an infectious disease. Moreover, since babies spend a whopping majority of their time with their mothers, it’s likely that they “catch” tooth decay from them.


In fact, a study conducted by the University of Queensland’s School of Dentistry in Australia found cavity-causing bacteria in 30% of 3-month old babies’ mouths and 80% of 24-month-old babies’ mouths.

Tooth decay is caused by cavity-causing bacteria and acid from the food we eat.  This same bacteria can easily find a new home in your baby’s mouth if the opportunity arises.  To keep your baby’s mouth clean, it’s vital to start with your own.  Make sure you regularly visit the dentist and schedule your bi-annual cleanings.

To further protect your baby from childhood dental caries, avoid these situations that allow bacteria to pass from mom to baby:

  • Testing out your baby’s food to make sure the temperature is right. While your intentions are good, and you might save your baby from burning their mouth, you’re passing on the bacteria from your own mouth to theirs.
  • Rinsing a dropped pacifier in your own mouth. Doesn’t it seem like the pacifier ends up everywhere but in your baby’s mouth? Sometimes, it’s not so easy to get to a sink to wash it off. But don’t go for the quick fix just yet. Rinsing it off in your own mouth might get rid of the dirt from the ground, but it’ll also pass along the bacteria from your mouth.
  • Sharing utensils.  When your baby is old enough to start chewing on solid foods, it’s easy to resort to the “one bite for me, one bite for you” method.  It seems like such a hassle to switch spoons every other bite (and the last thing you need as a busy mom is another hassle), but to save your baby’s teeth, it’s important to do so.
  • Sharing drinks. Children are constantly asking for whatever you have at that moment, and your water bottle is no exception. It’s easy to hand it over and let them take a swig, but they’ll likely also get a taste of the bacteria from your mouth.

Above all, keep your mouth as healthy as possible to reduce any risks.  Make oral health care a family affair to keep everyone healthy and happy.

The Psychological Consequences of Bad Teeth

It’s easy to see the physical benefits of good teeth – proper chewing (which allows for a good diet), sleeping well (without chronic pain from toothaches), and speaking properly (without any mouth deformities that cause speech impediments).


But have you ever thought about the social and psychological benefits?  If you have nice, straight teeth, probably not. But if you’re unhappy with your smile, it probably haunts you almost every day of your life.

Nearly 70% of survey respondents said their oral health affected their quality of life.  Those with bad teeth reported emotional anxiety, avoidance of close relationships, and fear of rejection.

In another study, 31.2% of children were ashamed to smile because of their teeth. For someone who, on average, should smile about 400 times a day, that’s a lot of missed grins. Ten percent of kids even said they stopped playing with other children because they were ashamed.

While we do our best to teach kids not to “judge a book by its cover,” research indicates that almost everyone does – kids and adults alike.  Bad teeth are associated with defects in character, intelligence, and morals. Because of these quick judgments, people with bad teeth are less likely to be successful in their careers and personal relationships.

Over the long term, smiling benefits your perception at work, social life, romantic status, and overall happiness. With that much at stake, it makes skipping a few nights of brushing seem like a much bigger deal.

The 5 Subconscious Habits You’re Doing that Damage Your Teeth

We all have times when we’re running on autopilot, and we’re pulled in a million different directions. At these times, you might not even realize the wear & tear you’re doing to your teeth. Beware of these 5 habits you probably do subconsciously that could wind you up at the dentist’s office.

1. Crunching on ice

This one is a tough habit to break because most people either never eat ice or eat ice all of the time. Your teeth are designed to crush THROUGH things, not AGAINST them, so the hardness of ice cubes can cause serious damage to your teeth. One dentist reminds use that even “your blender needs special blades to crush ice.”

2. Using your teeth as tools

We’ve all done it. Don’t see the tool you need laying close by hand? Plan B: Use your teeth – whether it’s breaking off a clothing tag, opening a bag of chips, or unscrewing that impossible soda top. But remember, your teeth are meant for 3 things: to chew food, to speak properly, and to look better when smiling. If you’re not using your teeth for any of those 3 things, don’t use them at all.

3. Absentmindedly chewing on whatever you have in your hand

You might not even realize how often you do this. (You might not even realize you’re doing it right now!) Some people have a habit of holding whatever object they have in their hand – pens, pencils, eyeglasses, etc. – between their teeth when they’re concentrating. Again, your teeth are designed to crush through things, so even though it might not seem like a big deal, you’re most likely putting more pressure on your teeth than you even realize.

4. Sipping on soda

We all know soda is bad for us — too much sugar, too many calories, leads to serious health conditions (really, is there anything good about soda?) — but sipping on soda over a long period of time can be detrimental to your teeth.  By casually drinking a soda at your desk, you’re literally washing your teeth in acid for an hour.  In the long term, this leads to decay and loss of enamel.

5. Excessive snacking

It’s true that snacking throughout the day kickstarts your metabolism, but it also raises the acidity level in your mouth for a prolonged period of time. When you snack, it takes your saliva about an hour to return the acidity level in your mouth back to normal, but if you’re snacking every hour or every two hours, the acidity level will be high many times throughout the day, which causes decay and enamel erosion.

Did You Know: Toothbrush Trivia

The toothbrush you recognize today was not invented until 1938. Before then, people would chew on the end of a twig to splay it and then use it to scrub their teeth.  These chew sticks were very effective.  In fact, many people today still use this method today, and prefer to use the medicinal miswak stick.


Trivia for Kids: Elephant Teeth!

An elephant has two upper molars and two lower molars that measure one foot across and weigh about 9lbs.  Because elephants grind their food instead of chewing it, their teeth are worn down to the gum line and eventually fall out.  After all, they do grind at least 100lbs of vegetation each day. Eventually, their new teeth will appear.  An elephant may go through six sets of teeth in its lifetime.


Teeth Trivia for Kids; George Washington

The first president of the US, George Washington, had false teeth after the deterioration in his real teeth forced dentists to remove them.  Washington was notoriously picky about his false teeth, and he had nine different dentists attempt to make him dentures that were comfortable enough for him to wear. One dentist succeeded but constructing a set of false teeth out of the teeth from a cow, hippopotamus, and walrus.  This same dentist made him four sets of dentures, one of which he is buried with.


Fun Ways to Recycle Your Toothbrush

We are supposed to replace our toothbrushes every 3 months, when there is noticeable wear, or when we have an illness. So on average, a person will go through around 5 or more toothbrushes a year. It has been reported the amount of toothbrushes that end up in landfills every year equals 25,000 tons. Below are some ways to reuse and recycle your toothbrush.


Some toothbrushes are now made with handles from recyclable plastics. These can be put in your recycle bin at home and will then be melted down and made into other things like outdoor furniture. Next time you go buy a toothbrush, look for the recycle symbol on the packaging.


-We just love this one. You can actually turn your toothbrush into a bracelet. Check out the link below for a tutorial on how to do this very cool craft.



Here are some ways to use your toothbrush to scrub the house:

Cleaning hard to reach areas
Comb cleaning
Cleaning jewelry
Carpet stain remover
Vegetable scrubber


An old toothbrush can make a great paint brush for a child.
***Please remember to disinfect your toothbrush before reusing it!

6 Surprising Cavity Fighters

Whether you are bound for the calorie-free foods or the sweet and sticky, you’d be surprised at the kind of things your local grocery can offer in the way of cavity fighters. Sometimes the most unlikely foods can turn out to have oral benefits that you’d never expect. Here are a few we thought were especially interesting:

Chocolate – The main ingredient in chocolate, the husk of the cocoa bean, contain an antibacterial agent that actually counteracts harmful oral bacteria, preventing tooth decay.

Cheese – Teeth are partially made up of calcium, and cheese has been shown to increase the levels of calcium in the mouth, leading some researchers to believe it can actually help your teeth counteract the effects of tooth decay.

Chewing Gum – Chewing gums in today’s convenience stores all seem to be sugar-free, which makes them a great way to avoid cavities. However, it’s the new sweet stuff in gum, xylitol, that has actually been found to fight cavities by way of neutralizing bacteria.

Green Tea – Green tea has long been considered beneficial to your health, but studies have recently found it’s even good for your teeth, controlling the levels of bacteria in your mouth to help stop tooth decay and gum disease.

Hard Candy – Probably the most surprising of all, modern-day hard candy can actually prevent the bacteria from causing tooth decay, because, just like gum, it’s now made from xylitol, which has begun to replaced traditional sugars.

Straws – Though it’s not exactly a food, straws CAN help prevent cavities through the simple, but useful act of bypassing your teeth and gums. This is primarily effective when drinking sugary drinks like juice or soda, but the fact remains: the less food touches your teeth, the less cavities you’ll develop!

Getting Children to Brush

One of the major lessons for any child is learning how to effectively and regularly brush their teeth. It’s a lot to take on and remember at a young age, but it’s an important part of growing up and being independent. That means, it usually falls on the parent to teach and reinforce healthy brushing habits. There are many ways to go about getting your kid to brush his or her teeth, but these are some of the methods that we think are most effective in doing so.

Start at 2 years old to ensure your child learns the importance of brushing at an early age. The sooner they start to accept it as part of their routine, the sooner your kids will find brushing comes more naturally, leaving you with less fuss and more brush.

Demonstrate and participate in brushing. Doing it together can help teach your child the proper etiquette. When they are able to see and mimic you, your child will quickly learn just how to apply their toothpaste, how long to brush for, and how to rinse their mouth, all things that encourage independent brushing.

Make brushing a game by having a contest to see who can brush their teeth the best. You can also hold time trials to see if they can last 2 minutes or more, or put on some music and brush to the beat!

Give them a choice in toothbrush color and toothpaste brand. This helps them get involved in the learning process and take more of an interest in the activity. Once they get used to their routine, they can also start to choose the order in which they brush, floss, or swish with mouthwash, giving them further independence in their newly developed skill.

8 Tips to Help Kids Overcome Fear of Dentists

Many adults have fears of dentists, so it’s natural to expect your kids to feel the same way. However, there are some tips you can use to help your child overcome that fear.

  1. Talk to Them About the Dentist: Keeping them prepared for what’s to come helps them think positively about it before, making the experience all the less frightening.
  2. Play Out a Pretend Dentist Visit: Let your child experience the visit with you before they experience it with the real dentist.
  3. Emphasize the Importance of Brushing: Encouraging strong, healthy teeth can help your child develop a sense of pride in their teeth that just might lead them to show off their pearly whites with ease.
  4. Plan Fun Afterward: Let your child know that there is something fun you are going to do together after their dentist visit, whether that’s going to a movie, a park, or even shopping for toys!
  5. Create Positive Associations: Avoid bribes that suggest the dentist is an upsetting place to be, and forget any of your personal experiences at the dentist. Instead, talk about how nice your teeth feel after your visit and how happy it makes you when you both have a healthy mouth.
  6. Bring a Comfort Object: Whether your child sleeps with a teddy bear or a special blanket, find whatever gives them comfort and allow them to bring it with them to the dentist’s office.
  7. Get to the Office Early: Arriving a few minutes early to your child’s exam can help show them there is nothing to be scared of at the dentist.
  8. Be Prepared for Fussing: Not every child can be made to feel comfortable at the dentist’s office, and following the advice of your child’s dentist is often the best course of action when your child starts to fuss. After all, they have likely seen more children in exam chairs than the average parent.