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El Portal Dental Blog

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For the latest news about Dr. Nguyen and El Portal Dental Group, read our newsletter below. You’ll learn about:


Are You Brushing Your Toddler’s Teeth Correctly?
Are You Brushing Your Toddler’s Teeth Correctly?

You may wonder if the energy and effort it takes to brush your toddler’s teeth is worth it; after all, they’re going to loose them anyway. However, brushing and flossing your child’s teeth is one of the most important things you can do to prevent tooth decay and cavities, both now and in the future.

Cavities can cause your toddler to loose teeth prematurely, and early loss of baby teeth can have big consequences. Temporary teeth are not just needed to chew food – they influence the way a child learns to talk. Also, baby teeth hold a place for the permanent teeth. When a tooth is lost too early, the permanent tooth under it can shift, causing spacing issues when the permanent teeth arrive. These issues could lead to more costly procedures for straightening and alignment.

Brushing your toddler’s teeth twice a day will help form a habit that your child will carry with them into adulthood. It is important to make sure their teeth are being brushed properly and that they learn how to brush them well.

Step 1: Use a Child-Sized Toothbrush.

It may not seem necessary, but smaller toothbrushes prevent discomfort and make it easier to reach the back teeth in your child’s mouth. The bristles should have a rounded edge and be varied in length. Don’t forget, toothbrushes should be changed once every three months or when the bristles start to spread (this can happen sooner with toddlers who like to bite the brush). We offer small toothbrushes to fit your child’s mouth perfectly and will send one home with them after each cleaning. 

Step 2: Add the Appropriate Amount of Toothpaste.

The amount of toothpaste you should use depends on the age of your child. Those younger than 3 should use an amount about the size of a grain of rice. Children 4 and up can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.

Step 3: Brush Each Surface.

Hold the toothbrush at a 45° angle and brush the outer surfaces of the teeth by using short back and forth strokes. To brush the inside surface of the teeth, hold the toothbrush as vertically as possible and brush up and down. Don’t forget to brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth, as well as their tongue. Brushing the tongue helps to eliminate harmful bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.

Step 4: Rinse and Spit.

Try to avoid spitting while in the middle of brushing, since this can remove toothpaste before you have a chance to get it onto all of their teeth. Once you are finished with every surface, they can rinse and spit.

EXTRA TIP: Many parents find it easier to stand behind their child while brushing. This allows for more natural movement, as if you were brushing your own teeth.

Oral health is extremely important, and getting your children into the routine of brushing their teeth properly as well as regular dental exams sets them up for a lifetime of healthy habits. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your child see a dentist after their first tooth, or by their first birthday to help get a jumpstart on proper oral care. El Portal Dental Group offers state-of-the-art professional dental treatment for your child, as well as the rest of your family. Call us today at (209) 385-1479, or use our convenient online appointment scheduler.



Back to School: The Importance of an Oral Checkup
Back to School: The Importance of an Oral Checkup

It’s the time of year that children either love or absolutely dread - back to school time. If you are a parent, you probably feel a little bit emotional in August. It’s exciting, yet it can be a very sad time too. There seems to be an overwhelming number of items to check off the list before the first day of class, and an appointment with the dentist may be one of them. So, why does your child need a dental checkup before school starts?

Studies have found that untreated cavities can cause behavior problems due to pain and other issues within the cavity itself. This can lead to struggles in class when it comes to learning and focus. Considering about 19 percent of children ages 2 to 19 have untreated cavities, that’s a whole lot of kids that may suffer unnecessarily in the classroom.

Another great reason is to get custom-fitted protective mouth guards for children who will play fall sports including football. Up to 39 percent of dental injuries occur during sports and other physical activity, but proper gear can protect your child from tooth and gum damage, or from jaw dysfunction due to an injury.

Tooth decay surpasses asthma and allergies as the most common childhood disease, yet surprisingly up to 23 percent of kids between 2 and 11 have never been to a dentist. Teaching children good dental hygiene at a young age is the best way to ensure that this does not occur. It is important not only for your child’s oral health, but also for their academic progress, that they get a back-to-school dental checkup.

For every 100 students, there is approximately 117 hours of school missed per year due to dental problems. If your child goes back to school with a happy, healthy mouth, they may be more likely to succeed in the classroom. 

Dr. Khang Nguyen offers checkups and preventive dental care in our Merced office for school-age children. Our pediatric patients relax around his warm smile and friendly demeanor.

Whether your child needs a dental exam for school entry this August or needs a routine cleaning soon, Dr. Nguyen would love to provide the dental care needed for a healthier school year. Request an appointment with Dr. Nguyen online or call our Merced office at (209) 385-1479 today.