All posts by Dr. Leticia Gutierrez Jeffords

How to handpick the best toothpaste for your child

How to handpick the best toothpaste for your child
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Today, there are too many types and brands of toothpaste in the market particularly made for children. When deciding how to choose one that is best for your child’s oral health, consider the following important guidelines:


Make sure that the toothpaste is recommended by the American Dental Association and carries their seal of approval. The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs evaluates toothpaste brands and makes their recommendation based on their rigorous testing.


Selecting Avoid toothpaste brands that contain abrasives that can easily damage the enamel of your child’s teeth. For example, you should avoid toothpaste that contains ingredients for teeth whitening as they are typically abrasive.


Try to select a fluoride free toothpaste if your child is too young. While fluoride can help reduce decay, excessive intake of fluoride during the first eight years of life could cause a chronic condition called fluorosis. It is a good idea to teach your child to spit toothpaste regardless of the type and brand of toothpaste selected.


If your child develops sensitive teeth and you have trouble getting him or her brush their teeth, consult your pediatric dentist for the best toothpaste to use. There are several brands such as Colgate Sensitive, Crest, Sensodyne, and others that offer toothpaste especially formulated for children sensitive teeth.


Yes, Flavor! If your child does not like the taste of toothpaste then they will not enjoy brushing their teeth. There are various kid-friendly options available today so experiment with couple of them to find which flavor will most appeal to your child.

If you need further assistance, ask one of the dental care specialists at My Child’s Dentist in San Antonio, to recommend the best toothpaste for your child.


What Parents Need to Know About Preventative Oral Hygiene

Parents want nothing but the best for their children but one area that most parents overlook is preventative oral hygiene. The reason this happens is primarily due to a lack of education since most parents believe they only have to bring their child to the dentist when they start school. What parents need to realize is preventative oral hygiene can start as soon as the child is born. There are dental clinics that specialize in treating small children but the parent needs to spend some time understanding the role preventative oral hygiene plays in the overall health of the child. The mouth is the gateway to the body and if the child develops an infection or oral health problem that could spread throughout the body, this spreading could lead to the development of some more serious conditions, which could cause tooth decay, and in some serious cases tooth loss.

Teaching Children how to Take Responsibility for Their Oral Health

Parents should start teaching their children good oral hygiene habits that include brushing and flossing. While these steps are helpful the child will still need to visit the dentist on regular intervals to assess their overall oral health. The parent should reach out to other parents who have slightly older children and find out who they bring their children to for routine oral care. Once the parents have found a suitable dental practice that specializes in kids it is time to get the children ready for the visit.

How to Get Kids to Love Their Dentist

While this may seem like an impossible task it can be done by first teaching the kids about the importance of good oral hygiene. By providing positive support, the parents can help allay any anxiety the child may initially have. A good way to do this is to associate the trip to the dentist with something fun like going to the park afterwards. Simply approaches like this can go a very long way when trying to help children develop good oral care habits.

All parents need to heed this advice when it comes to preventative oral hygiene. By spending a little time now teaching children about the merits of good oral care, it can save the child a lifetime of costly dental bills. The adage an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure holds true when it comes to oral health and oral care issues.


Best Way to Protect the Oral Health of Kids

Parents who want to teach their kids the importance of oral hygiene and oral care need to start instilling this knowledge at a young age. Modern dentistry has advanced and now provides specialized care to children. The first thing that a parent needs to do is find all of the local clinics that offer this type of specialized dental care to kids. While there are many clinics that do offer care to kids as a parent it is vital to make sure the first and subsequent visits are positive. The reasoning behind this is quite simple, if the child has a bad experience they will associate fear with the dentist and be less likely to go. With that in mind, the parent/s should take it upon themselves to follow these suggestions.

A Person is never too Young to go for Dental Care

One of the common myths out there is young children do not require dental care but nothing could be further from the truth. Even a newborn baby has oral care needs that should be addressed to reduce the risk of developing oral health issues in the future. Another common reason why people do not bring their child for dental care is for purely economical reasons. The good news is the majority of dental insurance providers do cover young children but the onus is on the parents to call and confirm prior to booking an appointment with the dentist. As a parent it would be smart to reach out to other parents and find out where they have brought their children. The feedback that these other parents provide can be invaluable so be sure to reach out and get it.

Preparing Children for their First Visit to the Dentist

Children are active listeners contrary to what most parents claim so it would be wise to not talk about the dentist in a negative light. We all heard stories about root canals and the pain associated with it which is something a small child should not hear. These children need to see the dentist as their friend and someone who will help them have a great smile throughout their entire life.

By providing the kids with great oral hygiene, care at home and regular visits to the dentist the risk of developing oral health issues are greatly diminished. Be sure to start following these suggestions now, there is no time like the “present” to teach children about good health habits.


How to Find a Great Pediatric Dentist

When it comes to dental health for children, it is imperative to find a children’s dentist that not only will take great care of your children’s teeth, but more importantly can do so while keeping the child relaxed. Going to the dentist can be a scary experience, especially for children that have never been. There are some important things to keep in mind when trying to find a children’s dentist, which will be discussed in the following.

Searching Locally

If one is residing in the San Antonio, TX, area, one thing may be to ask for recommendations from family and friends. Perhaps they will offer some insight on their experiences that they have had with pediatric dental offices in the area. Another person that may very well be worth asking is the trusted pediatrician that the child is currently seeing. More often than not, the pediatricians will be able to point one in the right direction towards reputable pediatric dental offices in the area.

Search on the Internet

One option that is available to everyone as well, is conducting a search on the Internet for a local children’s dentist in the San Antonio, TX area. The Internet will help tremendously in narrowing down the search and there will be reviews left on their sites from past and current patients. This will also divide the offices down into different categories such as dental schools, medical centers and private practices. It is also essential to ask how extensive the children’s dentist is – a pediatric dentist will have had an additional two years of residency specifically designed for training and care of those children who have special needs.

Welcoming Atmosphere

The atmosphere of the office should be colorful and welcoming. The staff should exude the same qualities as well. Parents can easily tell if the setting will be comfortable for their child because they know them best and just because one office may be great – it may not be the right fit for the child. Children are also a great judge of character, so it is important that the vibe given off from the staff is warm and friendly as well.

These are all things to keep in mind when trying to find the right children’s dentist in the San Antonio, TX area. No matter what type of screening process a parent has, the children’s dentist should be able to meet all of those qualities. Choosing the right children’s dentist early, will ensure optimal care throughout their adolescent years.


10 Ways to Celebrate National Family Fun Month

10 Ways to Celebrate National Family Fun Month
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Summer is almost over but the fun does not have to stop! August is National Family Fun Month and there are many great activities to do with your kids before the end of summer. Here are few suggestions from your friends at My Child’s Dentist in San Antonio.

Backyard movie night: Create your own movie theater by showing your family’s favorite movie right in in you back yard. Serve some popcorn, candy, chips and other snacks.

BBQ: Throw a family BBQ in your backyard or at the local park. No one can say no to great burgers, hotdogs and outdoor fun.

Backyard camping: Pitch some tents and camp in your backyard! Play fun board games and tell spooky stories around your “campfire”.

Lake outing: Hit the lake for some water sports or sun soaking.

Ice-cream party: Invite everyone to make homemade ice-cream right in your own kitchen. Serve different toppings so that everyone can make their ice cream unique to their own taste.

Trip to the zoo: Kids love animals and what better way to let them interact with their furry friends than at the zoo! Take them to the local zoo and capture some lasting memories.

Scavenger hunt: Give your kids a thrill with a list of things they need to find around the house or in your backyard in order to win some prizes.

Host a dance party: Turn your living room into a party zone with your own favorite jams. Dare your children to name some of those oldies you once liked.

Bike riding trip: Rent some bikes and take the entire family for a a ride at the park or along the countryside.

Miniature gold: Everyone likes a round of miniature gold. Take the entire family for a game or two and let the kids have some laughs.

No matter where you live or what your budget is, there is always an activity for every family. Of course the best activity of all, is spending quality time with your loved ones and creating forever lasting memories. And please, remember the importance of dental hygiene and protecting your children’s teeth during outdoor sports activities.

At My Child’s Dentist, Your Child’s Teeth Are Precious To Us™


May is National Physical Fitness Month

May is National Physical Fitness & Sports Month - My child's Dentist

May is National Physical Fitness Month

Did you know that the month of May is designated National Physical Fitness and Sports Month? In 1983, President Ronald Reagan encouraged Americans to incorporate more activity into their lives, and the reminder is even more significant in this day and age, as kids everywhere are distracted more and more by television, social networking and video games. Kids living an active lifestyle can improve their health, productivity and overall well-being, and best of all? It doesn’t have to take a lot of time!

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has provided these public health guidelines for your convenience. The guidelines call for children and teens to exercise for at least one hour each day of moderate intensity physical activity (such as playing sports or brisk walking) or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity (jogging, dancing and jumping rope).

At My child’s Dentist, we encourage our parents to keep their kids fit by exercising or participating in sports. We also remind our patients to always wear a mouth guard or other forms of facial protection when playing sports. To learn more about how often your child should exercise, we recommend you check out this series of helpful articles about kids and exercise, courtesy of


The Not-So-Simple Truth About Tooth Decay

truth about tooth decay

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry terms the cause of decay as a multifactorial process. These factors include: genetics, plaque accumulation, salivary composition, diet, and oral hygiene. Whether one child or another is afflicted with dental decay is based upon these factors which continue to be studied within the scope of dentistry.  My hope is that this information will broaden parents’ understanding of the cause of decay.

Severe dental caries has been shown to be a significant contributor to the overall health of a child making it incumbent upon us to promote oral wellness. Scientific literature presents evidence of increased risk for heart disease and diabetes with untreated decay, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. The role of the pediatric dentist in an early assessment is not only to determine caries rate, but, more importantly, to determine caries risk. The pediatric dentist is able to resolve the acute symptoms, but the longer lasting treatment is the understanding and control, if possible, of risk factors.

Every clinic day includes parents asking me, “I do everything I’m supposed to do, why does my child have decay?”  Another common question is; “Why is only one of my children affected?”  The answer is not simple.  The factors described will not necessarily be in order of priority as each one carries a contributory level of importance.

Factor number one is genetic predisposition.  Enamel structure and porosity is not the same for everyone.  If your parents or grandparents have a history of having multiple cavities, “trouble with their teeth”, or had dentures at an early age, you may have a risk dictated by your genes.

Secondly, levels and virulence of cariogenic bacteria (cavity causing bacteria) vary for all individuals.  Streptococcus Mutans and Lactobacillus are the two main culprits.  These bacteria inhabit all of our mouths, but their ability to produce acids (virulence) can be worse for some than others.  We could compare it to the flu. Some flus just make you feel a little off while others can land you in the hospital.   This extensive variability limits medical and dental researcher’s ability to formulate a vaccine to prevent tooth decay. This bacteria is transmissible so we discourage kissing babies on the mouth, sharing utensils, using the same straw, and even blowing on their food.

Thirdly, is our own salivary composition.  If we did a litmus test, some of us would have a lower pH of saliva than our brother or sister.  Compound this with virulent bacteria, xerostomia (dry mouth),  and/or any other of the factors, the risk increases. Systemic diseases with an autoimmune component, radiation, chemotherapy, and certain medications with sweetners can also affect our saliva.

The next two seem to be what we all think are the primary factors: diet and oral hygiene.  It is my opinion that the first three provide the niche and are, for the most part, beyond our control.  Diet and oral hygiene are two factors which can positively impact control.  I like to remind parents that frequency is much more critical than quantity. Snacking frequently increases risk.  It is reasonable that if you snack on broccoli, carrots, and drink water all day then your risk is lower in comparison to snacking on chips and soda.  Following recommended nutritional guidelines while encouraging water consumption should keep your child in the safe zone.  A Hershey kiss as a dessert after a good meal is still a nice treat.  Let’s have realistic goals.  As far as oral hygiene goes, brushing is the first hurdle. Do it at least twice a day. If you are able, do it more often.  If your child is able to spit well, use a fluoridated mouthwash after each brushing. The last hurdle is flossing. Let’s tackle that one when it does not involve tackling.

As a parent, I understand the time and energy constraints. I remind myself that it has been our responsibility as a parent team to encourage and teach our children good oral hygiene and healthy diet regimens. We have “control” for only a short period of time.  Our goal is to encourage and demonstrate healthy habits. Children learn what they live. I try to remind myself of that everyday and hope for the best. I also try to remind myself that I control what I can control, accept what I can’t, and work really hard to change and direct the things I can. Good Luck to us all on our journey to excellent oral wellness.


February is National Children’s Dental Health Month!

National Children's Dental Health Month

National Children’s Dental Health Month

One in four parents says their child has had an injury during an organized sport resulting in a trip to the emergency room, according to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). That’s why My Child’s Dentist thought February—also known as National Children’s Dental Health Month—would be a great time to remind our patients to be mindful of their children’s teeth while playing sports.

Here are a few tips to stay safe on the field this spring, courtesy of the AAO:

  1. Wear mouth guards for contact sports such as baseball, softball, soccer and lacrosse
  2. Wear a helmet when required
  3. Wear protective eye wear
  4. Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin
  5. Be alert, even as a spectator

The American Dental Association (ADA) estimates that mouth guards alone prevent more than 200,000 injuries each year. However, the AAO conducted a survey that revealed 67% of parents admitted their children do not wear mouth guards during organized sports.  Please, do not let your child play organized sports without a mouth guard.

We hope these tips help. Protective gear is vital for anyone engaging in tooth or mouth-threatening activities. If you have any further questions about any of these tips, please give us a call.

About National Children’s Dental Health Month

Each February the ADA sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.