Easter Basket Gift Ideas

March 19th, 2021

With Easter right around the corner, we know it can be challenging to come up with fresh ideas to fill your child’s Easter basket without breaking the bank. We wanted to help you out, so we put together a list of some fun gifts we found around town. Check it out!

Stores to Check Out!

Kindness and Joy Toys is the best toy store in Northwest Arkansas! Located on College in Fayetteville, the store has many great gift ideas for your child, whether they are an infant or a tween! Check out their Easter ideas here

My Little Flock is another local business that has some fantastic gift ideas. Check out their tic tac toe boards, DIY yarn kits, and Easter basket tags! You can find their website here!

Gift Ideas for Infants and Toddlers

One great thing about having young children is that they often aren’t picky about their toys! Any of these ideas are sure to make your child smile and provide them with a good time.

  • Teething Rings
  • Toy Cars and Trucks
  • Board Books -- Board books are a great way to entertain and educate your child while they are still in their chewing phase! The thicker pages are sure to withstand whatever your child chooses to do to them.
  • Fun-Shaped Crayons -- Many stores sell crayons shaped like small cars, animals, and other fun objects. Be on the lookout for fun new ways to encourage your child to color!

Non-Candy Egg Fillers

Contrary to what you might think, we aren’t anti-candy! If you choose to give your child candy, we recommend giving them milk chocolate, as it will not stick on their teeth for as long as other candy. If you are trying to cut back on candy this year, here are some other things you can put in your eggs.

  • Coins -- Kids love to collect change. Try splitting it up and putting it in a bunch of different eggs so that your child can find $5 across 25 eggs!
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Stickers
  • Small Toys

Prepare For Fun Summer Weather

You can pick up fun summer-themed items for your kids to get them excited for all of their warm-weather adventures! It’s always beneficial to knock out two birds with one stone and give your kids things that they need as gifts.

  • Swimsuits
  • Sunglasses
  • Beach/Pool Toys
  • Flip Flops/Crocs
  • Goggles

Gifts For Older Kids (5-10)

  • Chalk Sets
  • Headphones
  • Facemasks
  • Reusable Water Bottles
  • Finger Skateboards
  • Lip Gloss
  • Scrunchies
  • Gift Cards
  • Prank Sets
  • Card Games

Finding gifts for your kids can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. We hope we were able to help! Happy Easter!

Pre-K Solutions with Pre-K Mama

March 9th, 2021

This week, Amy Morgan was joined by Amanda Tracy and Alex Davis, a pairing that collectively makes up Pre-K Mama. Pre-K Mama provides parents with educational activities that are simple, fun, and already done!  

Amanda and Alex met in 2014 while teaching at the same elementary school. They taught together for several years, and eventually, both left the classroom after having kids. The pairing soon learned that being a mom is a full-time job, and preparing toddlers for preschool and kindergarten is quite the challenge as well.  

Staying home with your kids is a blessing in itself, but taking on the role of preparing them for school is no joke. Planning and organizing the educational content children need in their early developmental years is often a challenging and time-consuming task. Alex and Amanda put their heads together to do the difficult work so that you don’t have to! With the help of Pre-K Mama, you can focus on helping your kids prepare for elementary school without having to worry about researching and preparing lessons for them. 

Pre-K Mama sells packets and seasonal subscriptions (three-month packages) that include educational activities and materials for your child. Everything is cut and prepped, so all the work is already done for you. All you need is crayons, scissors, glue, and other supplies you regularly find around the house.  

Each month’s packet is themed towards events and trends that are relevant to the particular month. For example, February’s packet might include Valentine’s Day-related material, and March’s packet could consist of something themed around St. Patrick’s Day.  

Alex and Amanda understand that there can be large development gaps between preschool-aged children. Their packet’s instructions come with modifications so that they will be most effective whether your child is two and half years old and just beginning their educational development or five years old and preparing for kindergarten.
With Pre-K Mama, preparing your child for elementary school is a breeze! Follow them on Instagram here, and purchase your first packet here


Learning More During National Adoption Month

November 11th, 2019

Learning More During National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month, and the entire adoption process can be a confusing one for those unfamiliar with it. That makes this a great time to learn more about how the system works and how to support those families involved. Being a complicated system, the adoption process can come with some misconceptions for those on the outside looking in. One of the biggest things that impacts adopted families is the misconception that the child wants to be there. People sometimes think children and teens going through the adoption or foster process are grateful or happy for the experience, and that’s not often the case.

Support systems are important, whether they’re for the birth parents or adoptive parents. Support is just a crucial ingredient through and beyond the entire process. When it comes to medical consultation and dental visits for adopted children, one of the hardest things to deal with is trauma. Trauma is very misunderstood in American culture. Fortunately, Pediatric Dental Associates and Orthodontics is good at being understanding when a non-neurotypical child arrives at the office, and special care is needed. Mothers are often given a lot of grace, and staff understand some extra patience is necessary.

It’s important for businesses to be trauma informed. Staff having trauma awareness and being trained can make all the difference for a parent coming in with a child that might have a few more needs for healthcare. Pediatric Dental Associates and Orthodontics actually goes through trauma training once a year for its staff. PDAO understands not every child is the same, and not every family is the same. But everyone, for the most part, has teeth. Things may have happened in life preventing oral hygiene habits from being kept up, but the staff at PDAO won’t judge. Staff will do whatever is necessary for a patient if asked. And the clinic won’t push any treatments or processes on a child.

As community members look for ways to support local adoptive families, it’s important to remember not to leave those families alone. Because these families often feel alone. People don’t want to get in the way, or they don’t know how to help, so they just slowly back away, and that can be cruel. So just be there for adoptive families. Providing meals, groceries, and logistics like carpooling can all help.

It’s also important to believe and listen to adoptive families. Kids going through trauma act one way to strangers and another way at home. So when parents say not to do something, believe them.

Put simply, be kind, be there, and be a friend to adoptive families. For those looking for ways to help their local adoptive families, The Call is fantastic. They have plenty of volunteer opportunities and offer the same adoption training as the Department of Human Services. Post adoption/foster care support is huge. People can drop off meals at The Call, and it goes in the freezer. There’s also a closet to donate clothes. Then when families need one or the other, they just come get them. Rubbermaid storage containers are great for donation. Kids are often coming into the system with their belongings in trash bags. Rubbermaid bins can help hold their luggage, clothes, and other items. Another solid option for those looking to help out is Shared Beginnings. It’s an adoptive agency, but they focus on the birth mom. They have tons of volunteer opportunities to help mothers before and after the adoption.

For more information on National Adoption Month, click here.

Non-Nutritive Oral Habits

September 4th, 2019

Non-Nutritive Oral Habits

Learn with Dr. Garrett about non-nutritive oral habits and what those tendencies can mean for your child’s future dental health!

So, what is considered a non-nutritive sucking habit?

A non-nutritive sucking habit means that a child is placing something whether it be a pacifier, blanket, fingers, toys, etc. in their mouth without a food nutrition benefit.

Why do kids suck their thumb and use a pacifier and is it normal for them to do this?

A  majority of the time there is a negative connotation associated with children sucking their thumb because of the orthodontic issues that can come about later. However, it actually is a very normal habit for kids and it can even happen as early as the womb. For some kids, it is a self soothing thing and it’s desirable as a way to cope.

This habit actually gives them a positive endorphin feedback, which is why it can become addictive and they can start to use it in a non- coping way and rely on it for too long. Therefore, as long as it is monitored, it is not harmful to your children’s dental health. 

What are the negative effects of a non-nutritive sucking habit?

The oral ramifications of these habits is that whenever you place a thumb or another non food item in the mouth it applies either a biting or sucking force that is irregular to their teeth. It throws off the dental balance and can compress or flare the skeletal alignment and depending on how frequent the kids do it and the duration they do it, it can be a profound amount of force.

If kids are employing non-nutritive habits for an extended period of time, it applies the same sort of consistent shifting force that normal orthodontics like braces would. The difference is that it is not controlled so you have no handle on where the teeth are going to go or what they are going to do.

When should you stop allowing your kids to have non-nutritive sucking habits and does the amount of the habit have anything to do with when they should stop?

Depending on the individual child, if they are still partaking in non-nutritive habits past the age of three, but it is a very infrequent thing and it’s a short duration, that is not particularly harmful. However, if you have a child who is doing it for a long period of time and you are starting to see issues with their teeth then you should do your best to deter them from their non-nutritive habit no matter their age.

What are some techniques parents can use to stop their kids non-nutritive sucking habits?

Parents can often feel pressure to get their children to stop and they tend to get frustrated, but it is hard sometimes to force the child to stop with punitive approaches because they usually just don’t work that good.

What tends to work the best is the buy in approach which assumes that by the age of three most kids have enough language that you are able to have a dialogue with them and explain why this is an important negative consequence. Positively reinforcing them, reward systems, and prizes, are ways that you can encourage your child to break the habit and even if the child doesn’t stop right away, you are laying a foundation of why it is important for the child to stop. Then later once the child starts to buy in and they understand why they need to stop, then you can start introducing punitive approaches before it gets so far that you have to introduce nail polish on the fingertips or other tactics to get them to stop.

Are there any special things you can do for kids that have sensory issues or any type of neurological dysfunction?

Sometimes kids with certain oral sensory or neurological issues will have oral habits that are much more deeply rooted and they’re hard even when the child is aware to get them to stop because the child may feel like they need to do it or they can’t help themselves. In this case, occupational therapy is sometimes beneficial to help the child work through the issue more specifically and intentionally than what a parent typically has the training or time to do, but this is a case by case solution. 

Any other advice?

Ideally, yes we want to stop the non-nutritive oral habits and yes, there are some consequences, but at the end of the day, none of that stuff is that big of a deal. Even kids with pretty profound dental change at three will get some self correction and limited orthodontic treatment can fix it, so don’t stress yourself out about it. With a little intentionality you can monitor the habit and try to stay on top of it!

PDAO'S Tips for Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

March 6th, 2018

SOMETIMES, BEDTIME CAN BE a real struggle, and a bottle might seem like an easy solution. Unfortunately, putting a baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice does more harm than good, because the easier bedtime comes at the expense of the baby’s oral health. Keeping those baby teeth healthy is crucial so that the adult teeth will have a better chance of coming in straight.

What Is Bottle Rot?

Prolonged exposure to the sugars in milk or juice erodes the enamel on a baby or toddler’s teeth, particularly the central incisors. If you’ve ever heard of the phrase “baby bottle tooth decay” or the more sinister-sounding “bottle rot,” this is what it refers to, and it’s definitely something to avoid. It can also happen with sippy cups and even breastfeeding! If a baby’s gums and teeth aren’t properly cleaned after feeding, the sugary milk residue left in their mouth increases the risk of tooth decay.

Stopping Bottle Rot Before It Starts

Preventing bottle rot is simple: only use a bottle for the baby’s mealtimes, not to soothe them or help them fall asleep when they aren’t hungry. A pacifier will be much healthier for their teeth. After the baby reaches six months old, it’s safe to use a bottle of water, or a sippy cup of water for toddlers. Not only will it not cause bottle rot, but it won’t leave stains if it spills!

After every meal, make sure to clean out milk residue. Once baby teeth start appearing, it’s time to start brushing them. Use a soft toothbrush and a dab of toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice. Because babies can’t rinse and spit, make sure to use a non-fluoride toothpaste that is safe to swallow.

Treating Existing Bottle Rot

If your baby is already showing signs of tooth decay, come see us! We’ll be able to assess the extent of the decay, deal with any cavities, and come up with a plan to prevent future damage. One of the easiest steps you’ll be able to take at home is to limit their consumption of sugary drinks like juice and soda. You can also bring them to us for fluoride varnish treatments to give their teeth extra protection.

Watch this Video For More Information:

We Are Here To Help

We know that parenting is full of unexpected twists and turns, but we’re happy to help you navigate the ones involved in infant and child dental care. Like you, we want your child to have a healthy smile for life! If you haven’t already brought them in for a checkup, schedule one today! You can schedule online or call our office 479-582-0600.

Thank you for being our valued patients!

Top image by Flickr user Sander van der Wel used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The Way You Eat Fruit Matters For Your Teeth

May 30th, 2017

FRUIT IS AN ESSENTIAL element of a well-balanced, healthy diet. It is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and eating it on a regular basis helps boost your immune system and reduces your risk of illness and chronic disease. There are a lot of ways people get their fruit, however, and when it comes to your teeth, some ways are worse than others!

Beware Dried Fruit

Many people think dried fruit is a great healthy snack. Unfortunately, dried fruits have a lot of sugar in them, not to mention the added sugar that many packaged dried fruits come with. Because they’re dehydrated, most of the water is lost from the fruit, but none of the sugar is, making it highly concentrated.

As we’ve said in previous blog posts, more sugar, more cavities! Harmful bacteria in our mouths consume the sugar and produce acids as a by-product, which can cause tooth decay. Dried fruit is also extremely sticky, meaning it sticks to your teeth longer than most other foods.

To learn a bit more about why sugar is bad for our teeth, watch the video below:

Can The Canned Fruit

Most canned fruits you find are bathed in sugary syrup. It may taste good, but it can wreak havoc on your teeth if you’re not careful! Even those that are labeled “light syrup” often have a high sugar content. If you’re a fan of canned fruit as a healthy snack, make sure it doesn’t have any added sugar or is packaged in 100 percent fruit juice.

Watch Out For Fruit Juice

Fruit juice, even if it’s all natural, contains a lot of sugar. What’s worse is that many fruit juices, especially those marketed for children, have added sugar in them. In fact, the majority of fruit juice sold in stores contain just as much sugar as soda, sometimes even more!

Sugar isn’t the only problem–fruit juice is also very acidic. The combination of sugar and acid doesn’t bode well for your teeth: while acid weakens tooth enamel, sugar feeds cavity-causing bacteria and contributes to decay.

Do What’s Best For Your Teeth

As a general rule, try to eat your fruit fresh! Not only is it better for your teeth, but the fiber in whole fruit slows the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, making it much healthier for your body. Of course it’s okay to have juice and dried or canned fruit every once in awhile. But remember to rinse with water after and brush and floss to protect your pearly whites!

Have you scheduled your next appointment? Call us today and we’d be happy to help! 479-582-0600 or 479-268-5000

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