Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry Tue, 26 Sep 2023 10:22:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Must Love Kids 32 32 Beyond Teeth: 5 Ways Pediatric Dentistry Supports Overall Childhood Wellness Tue, 26 Sep 2023 10:22:08 +0000 How Dental Care Shapes Childhood Health

From the arrival of a child’s first tooth, pediatric dentistry assumes a key role in shaping your child’s journey toward overall wellness. Regular dental care isn’t just about maintaining a beautiful smile or preventing cavities, it’s a bridge to balanced health during all stages of childhood.

The relationship between your child’s oral health and overall health is known as the oral-systemic connection. This connection refers to the concept that oral health directly influences systemic health and vice versa. This connection is particularly critical during childhood, as it’s a time of rapid growth and development. 

Poor oral health has been linked to health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and hypertension. This is because the harmful bacteria that cause gum disease can travel throughout the body and cause inflammation, leading to serious heart conditions. Similarly, a person’s immune system function is significantly influenced by oral health. By prioritizing oral health through regular visits to a pediatric dentist, parents can play a vital role in supporting their children’s overall wellness and reducing risks of illness now and in the future.

Let’s take a look at 5 other substantial ways regular visits to a skilled pediatric dentist can supercharge your child’s journey toward optimal health and wellness.

1. Pediatric Dentistry Provides Early Intervention and Prevention

Pediatric dentistry’s role extends beyond treatment. It plays a pivotal part in early intervention and preventive care. By introducing children to dental care routines early, pediatric dentists create a foundation for a lifetime of healthy oral hygiene habits.

Regular check-ups allow for early detection of potential issues, from cavities to incorrect bite alignments, enabling timely intervention before they escalate into more significant problems, such as early orthodontic care. Furthermore, preventive measures, such as fluoride treatments and sealants, can effectively mitigate the risk of tooth decay. 

Pediatric dentistry is not just about treating active dental problems, it’s also about proactively preventing them, contributing significantly to long-term childhood wellness.

2. Nutritional Guidance

Proper nutrition plays an essential role in maintaining oral health and overall wellness in children, and pediatric dentists are instrumental in guiding parents and kids on balanced diets and their impact on health.

A varied diet, including essential vitamins and minerals, bolsters enamel strength, prevents gum disease, and supports the development of healthy teeth and bones. Conversely, frequent consumption of sugary foods and drinks can lead to cavities and tooth decay.

Pediatric dentists provide comprehensive advice on food choices, demonstrating the interplay between nutrition, oral health, and general well-being. They educate families about the importance of limiting sugar intake; promoting tooth-friendly foods; and incorporating a healthy mix of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and lean proteins into daily meals.

By emphasizing proper nutrition, pediatric dentistry significantly contributes to childhood wellness by fostering healthy oral habits, preventing dental diseases, and enhancing overall health.

3. Speech and Language Development

A child’s oral health is directly linked to their speech and language development, including factors like the alignment and condition of their teeth, the health of oral tissues, and the oral motor skills necessary for speech production. 

Dental issues, such as malocclusion, tooth loss or decay, and oral infections, can hinder normal speech, making it difficult for children to enunciate certain sounds or words. Pediatric dentists can help in identifying and sometimes treating such conditions early on.

Through regular dental check-ups and by following early intervention treatment as necessary, pediatric dentists can detect malformations or abnormalities and intervene promptly with dental procedures or by referring patients to speech-language pathologists when needed. By addressing potential dental concerns, your dentist is helping to safeguard your child’s speech and language skills, further underlining the contribution of pediatric dentistry to childhood wellness.

4. Sleep and Breathing Disorders

Oral health significantly affects sleep-related breathing disorders among children, including problems such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. These disorders can hinder a child’s quality of sleep, leading to daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and behavioral issues.

Anatomical aspects, such as enlarged tonsils, adenoids, or certain dental or oral conditions like malocclusion, can contribute to the development of these sleep disorders. Pediatric dentists are proficient in recognizing the tell-tale signs of such disorders during routine dental examinations. For instance, signs like tooth grinding, dry lips, and enlarged tonsils raise red flags for potential sleep-related breathing issues.

If necessary, pediatric dentists can refer your child to a sleep specialist for further evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment. Some treatment options, such as customized night guards, can be provided directly by a pediatric dentist after a diagnosis has been made.

5. Emotional Well-Being and Dental Anxiety

The emotional aspect of dental care is also integral to childhood wellness, as it can significantly influence a child’s perception of oral hygiene and willingness to engage in dental care practices. 

Armed with a deep understanding of the nervousness and anxiety that children might associate with dentistry, pediatric dentists employ a child-friendly approach to put their little patients at ease. Techniques such as “tell-show-do” (where the dentist explains a procedure in an age-appropriate manner, shows the child the instruments, and then performs the procedure) or using positive reinforcement and distraction techniques, are just two examples of techniques dentists use to alleviate dental anxiety in children. 

These early positive dental experiences support mental health and overall childhood wellness by reducing the anxiety and stress associated with dental care. Many children will carry these positive associations well into their adult years by continuing to prioritize their oral health and seeing a dentist twice a year.

Book your child’s next appointment at Must Love Kids in Vancouver.  

Pediatric dentistry is your ally in promoting childhood wellness. It extends beyond the realm of oral health, playing an instrumental role in preventing common systemic health issues, boosting mental well-being, and fostering a lifelong relationship with healthy dental care habits. Dedicated pediatric dental care practices, like Must Love Kids, provide this and much more. If you’re ready to set your child on the path for a lifetime of oral health, schedule an appointment anytime by calling our office or using our online request form.

5 Tips for Maintaining Oral Hygiene During Orthodontic Treatment Fri, 15 Sep 2023 11:20:50 +0000 Fresh Breath and Cavity-Free Teeth With Braces

Practicing good oral hygiene is the key to preventing tooth decay and gum inflammation, also known as gingivitis. Keeping your smile healthy is even more important when you’re wearing braces because the brackets and wires make it easier for food to become trapped.

A popular myth is that braces cause cavities, but this isn’t true. Braces alone won’t cause tooth decay, but because they make oral hygiene a bit trickier, a change in brushing frequency and products is necessary to reduce the risk of cavities.

Here are five things children and teens should do to keep their teeth healthy and clean while wearing braces.

1. Brush more often than usual, particularly after meals or snacks. 

Normally, brushing twice daily for two minutes is enough to keep teeth healthy, but this is no longer the case when wearing metal braces. Brackets and wires mean there is more surface area and more small nooks for food debris, bad bacteria, and plaque to get trapped.

Orthodontists and dentists recommend brushing after every meal to combat any buildup of food and plaque development. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and take it slowly to ensure teeth are thoroughly cleaned above and below the brackets. It might take longer than two minutes to brush everywhere, especially when braces are new.

Since the brackets and wires can be abrasive, toothbrushes usually wear out more quickly, so parents may need to replace them every one to two months. Frayed bristles drastically impact how well a toothbrush can clean.

2. Stock up on interdental brushes for those hard-to-reach spots. 

Interdental brushes, also called proxy brushes, are very useful dental care tools for cleaning in and around braces. They are small handheld tools with a cleaning end that resembles a tiny pipe cleaner. The bristles help remove food and brush away plaque, while their small size can get into tight spaces toothbrushes can’t.

Properly using an interdental cleaner is easy, but it can take some getting used to at first. These tools come in different sizes, so we recommend trying out a few options to see which are the right sizes for your braces. Once you have the right size, bend the head to form a 90-degree angle and begin cleaning between the wire along the surface of the teeth.

Dr. Mo can show you how to use an interdental cleaner, but if you need a refresher, you can find plenty of videos on YouTube demonstrating how to use these tools.

3. Bump up your daily flossing habit and try using flosser tools. 

Remember that brushing and interdental cleaners aren’t alternatives to flossing. Flossing daily is the minimum recommendation, but kids with braces can floss twice daily, especially after big meals.

String floss is normally the best way to remove plaque and debris in between teeth, but chances aren’t it won’t work very well for braces. Your child can still use string floss if they have teeth without wires or brackets, but otherwise, try using flossers. There is a type called an orthodontic flosser that is specifically designed to make flossing with braces easier.

4. Finish your oral hygiene routine with braces-friendly mouthwash. 

Mouthwash is a great way to finish a routine of flossing, interdental cleaner, and brushing. It flushes out any remaining food debris and cleanses the soft tissues in the mouth from any lingering bacteria.

Most mouthwash is safe for braces, but we recommend using an alcohol-free fluoride mouthwash with antibacterial properties. Alcohol dehydrates, so avoiding products with this ingredient can help your child if they have a dry mouth. Antibacterial properties will still kill bad germs, which is what alcohol normally does anyway.

Fluoride is a great ingredient for supporting strong, healthy teeth and preventing tooth decay, two very important things for children wearing braces. If you’re overwhelmed by all the mouthwash options, call us, and we’ll help you choose the right one.

5. Don’t delay orthodontic appointments or skip your regular dentist.

Wearing braces means you’ll be visiting a dentist more often than usual. It might not seem like your braces are doing much, but they’re slowly making big changes to your smile. Their progress needs to be closely monitored, adjustments made, and wires tightened to ensure your treatment time is as short as possible.

If you’re seeing an orthodontist for braces, you’ll also need to continue seeing a regular dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning. Better yet, come to Must Love Kids for complete dental care, including orthodontics, all under one roof.

Dr. Mo takes care of children’s teeth and their braces treatment, too!

Orthodontists aren’t the only dental care professionals who provide braces. Dr. Mo is a pediatric dentist offering several orthodontic solutions for her patients. Most orthodontic cases in children can be easily treated at Must Love Kids, with only the most complex malocclusions (bad bites) requiring a referral to an orthodontic specialist.

Seeing Dr. Mo for orthodontic care greatly benefits parents and children alike. As a parent, you can rest assured that your child will receive the superior level of care they’re already accustomed to as a Must Love Kids patient. Children also feel more comfortable and relaxed knowing their orthodontic appointments are with the same dental care team they’ve grown to love. If your child needs braces in the future or you’re interested in transferring their orthodontic treatment to our office, contact our Vancouver pediatric dentistry office today.

Sleep Apnea and Academic Performance: 7 Things Parents Need to Know Fri, 08 Sep 2023 11:49:33 +0000 Sleep Apnea Impacts Learning and Development

Sleep apnea in children often flies under the radar, as it’s often mistakenly considered an adult-only ailment. Yet, it’s a common and disruptive condition that can significantly affect children and their academic performance.

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breathing during sleep. These interruptions can lead to fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels, resulting in a host of daytime symptoms that can directly impact a child’s ability to learn and thrive in school. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type in both children and adults.

As a parent, understanding the tie between this condition and your child’s academic performance is crucial in helping them navigate the educational journey successfully.

1. OSA is believed to be underdiagnosed despite school trouble being a prominent sign.

OSA is a commonly underdiagnosed medical condition, despite it often being simple to diagnose once action is taken to test for it. Some research suggests millions of Americans could have OSA and not know it, so we can assume that many children and teens also go without a proper diagnosis. As it stands now, upwards of 10% of children have OSA

Countless factors can impact a child’s experience in school, but sleep apnea is something to consider if your child struggles to learn or focus, falls asleep in class, or displays related symptoms of this condition.

2. Sleep apnea negatively affects academic performance, from learning to social experiences.

Without appropriate diagnosis and treatment, sleep apnea can lead to myriad issues affecting a child’s academic success. Prolonged periods of poor-quality sleep can cause difficulties with attention and concentration, impair memory, and severely hinder the overall learning process. These challenges can lead to poor grades, a much less enjoyable educational experience, and difficulty socializing with peers.

3. Professional evaluation is necessary because children may not show obvious symptoms. 

Children with sleep apnea often exhibit signs such as loud snoring, restless sleep, and daytime sleepiness. Often dismissed as typical childhood behaviors, these symptoms can actually indicate a serious sleep disorder. The restless sleep and frequent waking can lead to daytime sleepiness, making it hard for the child to concentrate, stay alert, and perform well in school. Poor quality sleep can also lead to irritability, affecting a child’s social interactions and overall school experience.

4. Cognitive function and learning are impaired when sleep apnea is left untreated. 

Sleep apnea primarily affects cognitive functions related to attention, memory, and decision-making. The frequent interruptions in sleep caused by this condition impair the brain’s ability to concentrate and retain information. Additionally, decision-making capabilities are compromised due to chronic sleep deprivation. A child with sleep apnea may struggle to stay focused during lessons, forget assignments, and make poor choices due to impaired judgment. Consequently, school performance suffers as the child grapples with these cognitive challenges.

5.  Many common behavioral or emotional challenges can be caused or exacerbated by this condition.

In addition to impacting cognitive functions, sleep apnea also exacerbates behavioral and emotional challenges in children, affecting their academic performance. A child grappling with this condition may exhibit mood swings, anxiety, depression, or even aggressive behavior, which can hinder social interactions and focus in school. Therefore, treating sleep apnea is paramount for academic success and protecting a child’s overall well-being and social-emotional development. Recognizing and addressing a sleep disorder can pave the way to improved classroom performance, better interpersonal relationships, and a healthier emotional state.

6.  Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for protecting your child’s physical and mental health.

Early diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea can prevent cognitive, behavioral, and health issues that could negatively impact a child’s academic performance. Several treatment options are available, including Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy, which uses a machine to keep airways open during sleep. A pediatric dentist who understands this condition can also provide oral appliances designed to adjust jaw position and improve airflow. Additionally, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, and proper sleep routines can also effectively manage this condition.

7. Collaboration with your child’s healthcare professionals ensures successful management of sleep apnea and related health concerns.

Seeing a healthcare provider with experience in treating pediatric sleep apnea is vital for effectively managing the condition. Consult with your pediatrician, who can refer you to a specialized sleep clinic or a pediatric sleep apnea dentist. Dr. Mo can also recommend a customized oral appliance as a non-surgical solution after an OSA diagnosis from a doctor. 

Dr. Mo provides valuable support in managing pediatric sleep apnea and providing non-surgical treatment options. 

Sleep apnea is not merely a nightly struggle, it’s a serious sleep disorder that can adversely affect a child’s academic performance by impeding concentration, memory, and overall cognitive function.

It’s crucial to recognize the potential impact of this sleep disorder on your children’s learning experiences and to seek immediate intervention. Early diagnosis and treatment of OSA, including the aid of Dr. Mo, can dramatically change your child’s life trajectory. Don’t let this condition hinder your child’s chance to thrive in school. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Mo today to learn how your child can breathe easily, sleep well, and excel academically.

Inclusive Orthodontics: Creating a Supportive Environment for Children With Special Needs and the Parents Who Love Them Fri, 01 Sep 2023 11:37:49 +0000 Understanding Inclusive Orthodontics

Despite the high prevalence of malocclusion (poor bite alignment) in children with intellectual or developmental disabilities, often they do not receive the necessary orthodontic treatment. It’s a concerning disparity that underscores the need for inclusive orthodontics, an approach that acknowledges and respects the unique needs of all children.

At the heart of inclusive orthodontics is the belief that all children, including those with special needs, deserve access to high-quality orthodontic care. A critical aspect of this approach is appropriate behavior management, an area that requires a knowledgeable and empathetic pediatric dentist like the team at Must Love Kids.

By embracing inclusive orthodontics and creating a supportive and understanding environment, every child can access braces or other orthodontic treatments they might need. It’s an essential step towards a healthier, happier future for all kids.

Let’s dive into what inclusive orthodontics means to Must Love Kids and how we put it into practice for the benefit of our patients and their parents.

How does Must Love Kids practice inclusive orthodontics?

At Must Love Kids, we believe in inclusive orthodontics, recognizing and celebrating the unique needs every child brings. Especially dear to us are the kids with special needs who illuminate our practice at every visit. We understand that these children often require a little extra attention and understanding, and we’re committed to providing just that.

Our team ensures that each visit to our pediatric dentist in Vancouver, WA, is a comfortable, stress-free experience for both the child and their parents. From the moment they enter our office, we create a fun, engaging atmosphere that makes kids feel at home. Our team is trained to create a friendly and compassionate environment, easing potential anxieties.

We’re well equipped to provide kids braces and other orthodontic treatments in a way that respects their individual needs. Our adaptive approach means we’ll tailor each step of the process to your child’s comfort level, whether it’s their first visit or they’re here for their braces adjustment. Our mission is to make every child’s journey to a healthy, confident smile a positive and enjoyable experience.

What can I expect during my child’s orthodontic treatment?

Here is a closer look at what parents and their children can expect when visiting Must Love Kids for orthodontic care.

Welcoming, Calm Atmosphere

We create a calm and inviting ambiance in our dental office, including sensory-friendly waiting areas and communication tools. This environment is designed to be less stimulating, making dental visits less daunting and more enjoyable for kids, especially if they’re sensitive to a lot of noise or bright lights. By reducing stress and fostering a positive experience, we help kids with special needs feel empowered and at ease throughout their dental journey.

Customized Treatment Plans

We meticulously develop personalized treatment plans for kids with special needs, taking into account their unique needs and challenges. This is vital to ensure that the orthodontic treatment is not only effective but also as comfortable and stress-free as possible for the child. Each patient is different, and recognizing this diversity is key to delivering inclusive orthodontics that caters to individual comfort levels, making the journey to a healthy, confident smile a positive experience.

Collaborative Care

Teamwork is the backbone of our comprehensive dental care and inclusive orthodontics. We believe in the power of collaboration, which spans beyond our dental team to include parents, caregivers, and other healthcare professionals. This collective approach ensures a well-rounded understanding of a child’s unique needs, enabling us to provide effective and comfortable treatment.

We recognize that, when it comes to kids with special needs, collective input, shared knowledge, and ongoing communication are key to delivering care that empowers, respects, and comforts every child on their journey to a confident smile.

Communication and Comfort

Effective communication is crucial in our interactions with kids with special needs, helping us understand their unique perspectives and respond effectively to their needs. We incorporate modern tools, such as visual aids, interactive dental models, and simplified language, to demystify the dental process. This, coupled with our patient and empathetic approach, creates a trusting environment, significantly enhancing patient comfort during orthodontic visits.

Make Must Love Kids your child’s dental home for orthodontics and more. 

At Must Love Kids, we prioritize inclusive dental care in all ways, including catering to the unique needs of every child, including those with special needs. We foster a collaborative environment, and our approach is anchored on effective communication, mutual respect for the families that visit us, and maximizing comfort for kids. 

Don’t wait to provide your child with the best kids’ dental care in Vancouver, WA. Make Must Love Kids your child’s dental home for comprehensive care, including braces for kids. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and start their journey to a healthy, confident smile!

Back to School With Braces: 4 Tips for a Smooth Transition Wed, 30 Aug 2023 10:54:09 +0000 Starting the School Year Off With Braces 

As summer winds down and the familiar scent of sharpened pencils fills the air, the back-to-school season brings a mix of excitement and nervousness for students. For those sporting a newly acquired accessory—braces—the return to the classroom may present additional challenges. 

However, with a few helpful tips, navigating the halls and lunchrooms can be a breeze. From maintaining oral hygiene to navigating social situations, students need the right strategies in place for a smooth transition. In this article, we will explore practical advice to help students embrace their orthodontic journey with confidence so they can focus on their studies and make the most of their school experience.

1. Oral Hygiene at School

Maintaining excellent oral hygiene during the school day is vital for kids with braces, and parents can help them by packing a compact oral hygiene kit. This kit should include a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss or interdental brushes

To ensure privacy, advise your child to use discreet techniques like utilizing a mirror or finding a secluded spot for brushing and flossing. Encourage them to rinse their mouth with water or alcohol-free mouthwash after meals and snacks, particularly when brushing might not be feasible, to help eliminate food particles and prevent plaque buildup.

2. Packing Braces-Friendly Lunches

When it comes to school lunches, select foods that are gentle on braces while still providing necessary nutrition. Some of the best braces-friendly options are soft fruits, cooked vegetables, yogurt, and sandwiches with soft fillings (egg, tuna, salmon, chicken, turkey, etc.). These selections are easy on braces and pleasing to the tummy. 

Encourage your kids to avoid sticky, hard, or crunchy foods that could damage brackets. Cut foods into small, manageable pieces to make chewing easier and less likely to cause discomfort.

3. Dealing With Discomfort

Discomfort is a common aspect of orthodontic treatment, but there are strategies to manage it at school. Orthodontic wax is a game-changer for alleviating discomfort caused by brackets or wires rubbing against the inside of the mouth. And you can make it fun for your child by purchasing orthodontic waxes in colorful cases.

Additionally, over-the-counter pain relief options such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are safe when used as directed. You can keep an emergency orthodontic kit at school, too, that includes orthodontic wax, a small mirror, and a disposable toothbrush to handle any unexpected issues.

4. Handling Social Situations

Before the school year begins, take some time to address any concerns your kids may have about potential teasing related to their braces. Remind your kids that braces are temporary and that they’ll have the most fantastic smile when their treatment ends. 

Encourage your child to practice smiling. Please help your child embrace their individuality and view their braces as a unique accessory. Foster open communication with friends and teachers about orthodontic treatment to create a supportive environment. Remind your child that their friends and teachers are likely to be understanding, and encourage them to build a network of supportive friendships. 

In fact, let your kid know that within North America alone, an estimated 4 million individuals under 18 currently wear braces. So even though their friends might not be wearing braces now, many of them will in the future.

Back-to-school means it’s time to take on more braces responsibility.

As students head back to the classroom with braces, it’s crucial for both children and parents to understand the importance of allowing teens to own their braces care. By empowering your child to take responsibility for their orthodontic treatment, they will develop valuable life skills and build confidence along the way. 

Encourage your teen to take charge of their oral hygiene routine, reminding them to pack their oral hygiene kit and practice discreet techniques for brushing and flossing. Supporting your child’s independence in caring for their braces will not only help them maintain a healthy smile but also foster a sense of ownership and responsibility.

Remember, if your child is experiencing braces discomfort or is struggling with proper care, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Dr. Mo and our team are here to help. Request an appointment with Dr. Mo at Must Love Kids to ensure your child’s orthodontic journey is as smooth and comfortable as possible. 

Together, we can make this school year a successful one, allowing your child to embrace their braces and shine with confidence.

The ABCs of Orthodontics: 26 Things for Kids to Know About Braces Tue, 15 Aug 2023 10:37:32 +0000 Attention, kids! Are you ready to embark on an exciting journey towards a winning smile? Brace yourself for an incredible adventure as we unveil the ABCs of orthodontics, exclusively for the awesome readers at Must Love Kids! This article guides you through the fascinating world of braces, from A to Z, ensuring you have all the knowledge and confidence you need to embrace this cool and transformative experience. Get ready to discover the secrets of braces and unlock the wonders they hold as we take you on a fun-filled ride through the alphabet of orthodontics!

Are you ready to get braces?

Getting braces is an exciting milestone for lots of kids. And don’t worry, you’re not alone. An estimated 4 million people in the US wear braces at any given time. But even though braces are pretty common, we know you probably have a lot of questions. However, reading an FAQ list (frequently asked questions) can be a bit boring. So, we’ve tried to make it a bit more fun, associating everything you need to know about orthodontic treatment with the ABCs.

Before we start, learn about the ABCs of oral health, too. We made it easy for you with two fun articles, starting with A through M, and then N through Z, so you can become an expert in oral health, just like Dr. Mo at your dental office in Vancouver, Washington.

Now, get ready to brace yourself with our alphabetical reading adventure!

A — Appliances

Orthodontic appliances are tools used by dentists and orthodontists to help straighten your teeth. They can be braces, aligners, or other devices that work together to give you a beautiful smile.

B — Brackets

Brackets are small, square-shaped pieces attached to your teeth that hold the wires in place. They come in different colors and are like tiny superheroes working to align your teeth.

C — Crooked Teeth

Crooked teeth are the main reason many kids get braces. They gently apply pressure to guide crooked teeth into proper alignment, giving you a smile that will light up the room!

D — Duration of Treatment

The duration of your braces treatment depends on how your teeth need to move. It can take several months to a few years. But remember, the time will fly by, and the result will be worth it!

E — Elastics

Elastics, also known as rubber bands, are often used with braces. They help align your bite by connecting different parts of your brackets and wires together. Think of them as the superhero sidekicks, working hard to make sure your teeth fit together perfectly.

F — Foods To Avoid

While wearing braces, it’s important to steer clear of sticky, chewy, and hard foods that can damage your brackets and wires or get stuck. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of delicious treats you can enjoy during your orthodontic journey. Stick to mashed potatoes, yogurt, soup, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, soft fruits, and cheeses, pancakes, and pasta.

G — Gum

Chewing gum is a big no-no when you have braces because it can get stuck and cause trouble. But once they come off, you’ll enjoy all the gum-chewing fun, but stick to sugar-free gum, which is better for your teeth.

H — Hygiene

Keeping your teeth and braces clean is super important. Brushing your teeth after every meal and flossing daily will help prevent dental “villains” from causing problems during orthodontic treatments.

I — Impressions

During your orthodontic journey, your dentist or orthodontist may take impressions of your teeth. It’s like creating a special mold to help them plan and design the perfect treatment for your smile.

J — Jaw

Braces not only straighten your teeth but also help align your jaw. They work their magic to ensure your bite is comfortable, prevent jaw pain, and keep your jaws in harmony.

K — Kissing

Ah, the topic that makes cheeks turn rosy! Now, for all the curious minds wondering about kissing with braces, here’s the scoop. While waiting until you’re old enough to engage in romantic adventures is always important, rest assured, brackets and wires won’t cause any sticky situations. So pucker up, enjoy the sweet moments, and if you need some expert tips on kissing with braces, check out this handy guide.

L — Loose Brackets

Sometimes, a bracket may become loose or detach from a tooth. If that happens, don’t worry! Just let your dentist know, and they’ll fix it for you. It’s all part of the adventure.

M — Mouth Guards

If you’re involved in sports, it’s important to protect your teeth and braces with a mouth guard. Your dentist or orthodontist can provide a special one that fits perfectly over your braces.

N — New Wire

Throughout your treatment, you’ll visit your dentist regularly for adjustments. These adjustments may include changing to a new wire, which helps continue the progress of aligning your teeth.

O — Orthodontist

Dr. Mo is a pediatrician who can also practice orthodontics. She is a superhero who specializes in creating beautiful smiles for kids and is here to guide you through your orthodontic journey.

P — Pain

While braces may feel slightly uncomfortable at first or during adjustments, any pain is usually temporary. Your dentist will ensure you’re as comfortable as possible throughout your treatment.

Q — Quick Appointments

Orthodontic appointments are usually quick and easy. Dr. Mo will check on your progress, make any necessary adjustments, and answer any questions you may have. She’ll have you in and out faster than a superhero in action!

R — Retainers

Once your braces come off, you’ll likely need to wear a retainer. Retainers help maintain the beautiful smile your orthodontic treatment created by keeping your teeth in their new positions.

S — Straight Teeth

The ultimate goal of braces is to give you a set of straight teeth that will make you feel confident and proud to show off your smile. Say hello to picture-perfect teeth!

T — Treatment Plan

Your dentist will create a personalized treatment plan just for you. They will map out the steps needed to achieve your dream smile and guide you through the process.

U — Unique Style

Braces are not just ordinary dental tools; they can be a chance to show off your unique style! You can choose colorful bands for your brackets that reflect your personality or even experiment with different patterns. Embrace the opportunity to express yourself and let your braces become a fun and fashionable accessory during your orthodontic journey.

V — Veneers

Veneers are thin shells that can be placed on the front of teeth to improve their appearance. While braces focus on moving your natural teeth, veneers are an alternative option for some cases.

W — Wire adjustments

During your orthodontic visits, your dentist may adjust the wires on your braces to help move your teeth in the right direction. It’s like fine-tuning your braces for optimal results.

X — X-rays

X-rays are images that show your dentist what’s happening inside your mouth. They’re like superhero goggles that help them see if any hidden villains affect your smile.

Y — Youthfulness

Getting braces at a young age brings a special advantage—it harnesses the power of youthfulness! When you start orthodontic treatment early, your growing bones and flexible gums make it easier for brackets and wires to guide your teeth into proper alignment. This means that by the time you reach your teenage years, you’ll already have a radiant smile that will make you feel confident and ready to conquer the world. So, embrace the opportunity to start your braces journey early and let your youthful spirit shine through your ever-brightening smile!

Z — Zzzz (Sleeping With Braces)

Sleeping with braces is no big deal! Your dentist will provide tips on ensuring you’re comfortable catching superhero-worthy Zzzs.

Sing it with me—braces for kids are as easy as the ABCs!

Kids’ braces can be an exciting adventure that leads to a stunning smile and newfound confidence. We’ve explored the ABCs of orthodontics, unlocking the secrets of orthodontic treatment while keeping it fun and informative. If you’re ready to embark on this incredible journey, the team at Must Love Kids, a dental office in Vancouver, Washington, is here to guide you every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your braces consultation with Dr. Mo and get ready to rock your braces for kids’ journey like a true superhero!

DIY Snack Packs: 5 Tooth-Friendly Lunch Box Treats Your Kids Will Love Tue, 08 Aug 2023 10:03:46 +0000 For some kids, deciding what to put in their lunch box can be a daunting challenge. Leave it to kids to ask for things like bagged potato chips, cheesy crackers, and other snacks high in sodium and other ingredients not so good for growing bodies. But one of the best ways to get kids to try new things is to put those foods into their lunch box. After all, a hungry kid will eat, and before long, your kid might start asking for some of those healthier lunch box treats instead of those processed ones. That said, you might be wondering where to start. Thankfully, the Must Love Kids team has some lunch box treats ideas at the ready.

Sneak these lunch box treats into your kids’ lunch bag and see what happens.

As we suggested above, finding the right lunch box treats can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you have a picky eater. The truth is that it might take some trial and error. So we have put together a few recommendations for you to try. But before we get into the specifics, let’s talk about some of the best choices for a healthy mouth. Be sure to include these types of items in your child’s lunch box, but for the rest of their meals as well.

  • Bacteria fighters. Include foods rich in probiotics, such as yogurt or fermented vegetables, in your child’s lunch box to promote a healthy gut microbiome, enhancing digestion, immune function, and overall well-being.
  • Vitamin C. Fruits such as oranges, strawberries, or kiwis provide a boost of vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system, aids in the absorption of iron, and supports the growth and repair of tissues.
  • Protein. Protein-rich foods like lean meats, eggs, or legumes support growth and development, help build and repair muscles, and provide a sustained source of energy throughout the day.
  • Vitamin D. Foods fortified with vitamin D, such as fortified milk or fatty fish like salmon, promote healthy bone development, enhance calcium absorption, and contribute to optimal immune function.
  • Calcium. Calcium-rich foods like cheese sticks, yogurt tubes, tofu, or leafy greens support the development of strong bones and teeth, aids in muscle function and blood clotting, and promote proper nerve transmission.

Have fun in the kitchen making lunch box treats together. 

Now that you know the type of nutrients to include, let’s discover some fun recipes and snacks that you and your child can make together. Participating in cooking can help picky eaters, and it provides a great opportunity for some family quality time.

Granola Bars 

Making granola bars together is fun, and even though it might be a bit messy, will be a worthwhile activity for kids and their parents. Try either these 5-ingredient granola bars or these chewy chocolate chip granola bars. And don’t overthink the inclusion of those chocolate chips. Not only is it more likely to get your child to eat the granola bar, but chocolate is one of the healthier “candy” options out there. 

Trail Mix

Trail mix is another great option to make with kids, especially since you can include or exclude just about anything you want. Include nuts, dried fruits, seeds, and more, it is really up to you. Some of our favorite recipes include this kiddos favorite trail mix and this healthy homemade trail mix recipe.

Yogurt Parfaits

As we said earlier, yogurt is calcium rich, which is great for building strong bones and healthy teeth. And though yogurt tubes are a fast option when you need something fast for a lunch box treat, those tubes can be high in sugar. Instead, opt for making your own yogurt parfaits in advance. You can make several parfaits over the weekend, packing them into reusable plastic containers, so that you have enough to get you through the week.

Either try this yogurt parfait snack box idea, or come up with your own idea. All you really need is some yogurt, fresh fruit and granola. Note: If your child wears braces, opt to hold off on the granola, which can get stuck in between brackets and wires.

Celery Sticks With Sunflower Seed Butter and Raisins

The traditional variation of this snack includes peanut butter and is called ants-on-a-log. However, since peanuts are a common allergy, many schools disallow the inclusion of peanuts and peanut butter items at school. But that’s no problem, because sunflower seed butter is an excellent and tasty alternative. This is another snack that can be prepped ahead of time too. Check out this recipe for celery sticks with sunflower seed butter and raisins on top to help you get started.

Pita Chips and Hummus

Almost every kid loves to dip foods into various concoctions, regardless of what it is. So if your kid is a “dipper,” have them try hummus and pita chips for a healthy dipping lunch box treat. Hummus is high in several key nutrients, including fiber and protein. But not only that, it’s tasty too. And, if you’re looking for the best pita chips, we’re big fans of the Stacy’s brand.

After lunch hygiene—keep those pearly whites clean after indulging in lunch box treats. 

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial, especially after enjoying lunch box treats, and with these simple tips, students can ensure their smiles stay healthy throughout the school day:

  • Rinse with water. Encourage your child to rinse their mouth with water after meals to help wash away food particles and neutralize acidity, reducing the risk of cavities and tooth decay.
  • Orthodontic-friendly tools. For students with braces or orthodontic appliances, pick up some floss picks or a water flosser as convenient alternatives to traditional floss, ensuring effective cleaning between teeth and around braces.
  • Incorporate routine habits. Pack a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste in your child’s lunch box, allowing them to brush their teeth after eating. Alternatively, they can chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production and help clean the teeth.

Get ready for the school year with a routine back-to-school check-up and cleaning.

Incorporating tooth-friendly foods and practicing proper oral hygiene habits during lunchtime can contribute to maintaining a healthy smile as students head back to school. By rinsing with water, using orthodontic-friendly tools, and establishing routine habits, children can enjoy their lunch box treats while keeping their pearly whites clean. Parents are encouraged to ensure their child’s oral health is in top shape by requesting a back-to-school check-up at Must Love Kids for a dental cleaning before the school year begins.

N to Z: Building Healthy Smiles with the ABCs of Oral Care for Kids Tue, 01 Aug 2023 10:23:11 +0000 Building a strong foundation for children’s learning is crucial, and the alphabet plays a vital role in this process. At Must Love Kids, we believe every aspect of a child’s development, including their oral health, matters. 

In our previous post, we explored the essential dental concepts from A to M. Now, it’s time to complete the journey by diving teeth-first into the second half of the alphabet, from N to Z. By teaching kids about oral care using the ABCs, we aim to empower them with the knowledge and habits necessary for maintaining healthy smiles throughout their lives. Join us as we explore the exciting world of oral care from N to Z!

Let’s continue learning the ABCs of oral health from N to Z.

As children journey through the alphabet, let’s remember the important connection between oral health and the ABCs. While learning their letters and numbers, kids can also explore the second half of the alphabet and discover the crucial ABCs of oral care. Join us as we dive into the N to Z of oral health, guiding children toward bright and healthy smiles every day!

Nutritious Foods

N is for nutritious foods! Eating yummy and nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, and cheese helps keep your teeth strong and healthy. They give your teeth the power to fight against sugar bugs and keep your smile shining! So be sure to eat plenty of calcium-rich foods and fresh veggies, each and every day.

Orthodontic Care

Orthodontic care is like a superhero cape for your teeth. Dentists and orthodontists use braces or aligners to straighten your teeth to give you a super duper smile!


Plaque is like a sticky monster that sticks to your teeth and makes them dirty. Brushing and flossing daily helps you defeat the plaque monster and keep your teeth shiny and clean. So make sure you brush your teeth for two minutes at a time twice a day, and floss before you go to bed.

Quick Fix

Need a quick fix? If you have a cavity or a broken tooth, don’t worry! Restorative dentistry is here to save the day. Dentists can use special materials to fix your tooth and make it strong again, so you can keep smiling and eating your favorite foods without any worries!

Restorative Dentistry 

If your tooth gets a boo-boo such as a cavity, restorative dentistry helps fix it. Dentists use special tools and materials to make your tooth feel better and look as good as new.


Sealants are like shields for your teeth. Dentists paint a special coating on your back teeth to protect them from pesky cavities and to keep your smile strong. Most kids get sealants for their front molars around age six and for their back molars around age 12.


Did you know that you should change out your toothbrush every three or four months, and that you should always get a new one after you have been sick? Though toothbrushes are so essential to help remove plaque from our teeth and to help us avoid cavities, they can hold onto germs. So ask mom and dad to take you shopping for a new toothbrush (or toothbrush head for your electric toothbrush) every few months.

Understanding Tooth Decay 

Tooth decay is another monster, and this one wants to make holes in your teeth. But don’t worry! By brushing, flossing, eating healthy foods, and visiting Must Love Kids every six months so we can clean your teeth, you can keep tooth decay away.


Did you know there is a special kind of paint for your teeth? It’s called fluoride varnish, and it’s safe for babies and young children. Dentists use a tiny brush to put a small amount of varnish on your teeth. The varnish immediately sticks to your teeth, so you don’t have to worry about swallowing it. This special varnish helps keep your teeth strong and healthy, giving you a big, bright smile.

Water Fluoridation

We know that fluoridation is a big word, but it’s important for kids to know that drinking water with fluoride is like sipping a superhero potion for your teeth. It makes them super strong and fights against cavities. Bottoms up!


Here is another big word for you, kids—xylitol! Xylitol is a special sugar substitute that makes the sugar bugs go away. Chewing xylitol gum or eating xylitol snacks helps keep your teeth happy and healthy. So, ask your parents to buy some Zollipops so you can try it. Don’t forget to say please and thank you.

Your First Visit to the Dentist 

You might not know this, but you probably had your first visit to the dentist around your first birthday. And, your mom and dad have been brushing your teeth since before you even had teeth. That’s because taking care of our teeth and gums starts as soon as we are born. And if you haven’t had your first visit to the dentist yet, don’t worry. The team at Must Love Kids will make it safe and fun. We can’t wait to see you.


Did you know that zinc is an essential mineral that helps keep your teeth and gums healthy? It’s like a superhero for your smile! You can find zinc in foods like meat, poultry, beans, and nuts. Zinc plays a special role in fighting harmful bacteria that can cause cavities and gum problems. So, eat foods rich in zinc to keep your teeth strong and your smile bright!

Now you know your M through Z—next time you’re at the dentist, you can sing it with me!

Congratulations on learning the ABCs of oral health from N to Z! You and your little ones are now equipped with valuable knowledge to keep those smiles healthy and bright. Remember to schedule regular appointments with our Must Love Kids dental team to maintain optimal oral health.
Stay tuned for more helpful tips and information on how to keep those teeth strong and beautiful because, at Must Love Kids, we’re here to support your child’s healthy smile journey every step of the way with pediatric dentistry for kids!

A to M: 13 Essential ABCs Kids Need To Know About Their Oral Health Sat, 22 Jul 2023 10:50:21 +0000 Learn the ABCs of oral health from A to M.

As a child is learning their letters and numbers, they can also learn about the ABCs of oral health! You can teach your child these ABCs as they are brushing their teeth every day!

American Dental Association Seal

The American Dental Association, or ADA, is the governing body that many dentists belong to. The ADA Seal is a small icon that can be found on all dental products recommended by the ADA. Look for the ADA seal on toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, and any other oral health product.

Brushing Technique

Believe it or not, how you brush your teeth is just as important as how frequently you brush them. To properly brush your teeth, put a pea size amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush, hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth, and brush in small, circular motions, making sure to brush every surface of your tooth, including the top, back, and sides. This video gives a great demonstration on how children should brush their teeth.

Cavity Prevention

A cavity, or tooth decay, happens when you don’t brush your teeth properly. Bacteria builds up and eats away at the enamel of the tooth. That can lead to pits or holes in your teeth that then have to be filled with a filling. How do you prevent cavities? Brush your teeth at least twice a day, use mouthwash, and remember to floss daily!

Dental Check-ups

Part of a healthy oral health routine is making sure you visit your dentist at least twice a year for a dental evaluation. Regular dental check-ups allow your dentist to catch any issues with your teeth, like cavities, and also helps check the alignment of teeth as the primary teeth fall out to make room for the adult, or permanent, teeth.

Enamel Protection

Enamel is the hard, outer layer of your teeth that helps keep them strong. You want to protect your enamel, so look for toothpaste and mouthwash that contains fluoride, a mineral that helps keep enamel strong. You can also eat a balanced diet, including items high in calcium, like cheese, to help build up the enamel on your teeth.

Flossing Habits

Flossing your teeth every day is just as important as brushing them. Flossing allows you to clean the space between your teeth and remove any stuck food particles. If traditional dental floss doesn’t work for you, there are alternatives, like Waterpiks and dental picks.

Gum Health

Gum health is another important part of a good oral health routine. Your gums are where your teeth are anchored, so you want to keep your gums strong and healthy so your teeth have a place to call home.  Make sure you are brushing your teeth gently along the gumline, and when flossing, make sure you floss under the gums to remove any leftover food particles.

Halitosis Prevention

Halitosis is the technical term for bad breath. Bad breath can happen because you aren’t brushing your teeth properly, which includes brushing your tongue! Make sure all surfaces of your mouth are brushed and clean at least twice a day so plaque and bacteria don’t form.

Interdental Brushes

An interdental brush is a small toothbrush designed to clean between your teeth. It’s important to clean between your teeth to remove any leftover food particles and so plaque and bacteria don’t build up and cause cavities.

Juice Consumption and Its Impact on Teeth

Did you know that many juices contain added sugar? Prolonged exposure to sugar can cause damage to teeth, wearing down the enamel. While it is okay to have juice with a meal, dentists recommend that your child not sip on juice all throughout the day. Instead, have water available to drink throughout the day to help limit the sugar exposure to teeth.

Keeping Teeth Clean

Keep your teeth clean and healthy by brushing them at least twice a day. Dentists recommend brushing teeth about 30 minutes after a meal for the best results.

Lip Protection

Keeping your lips protected is just as important as keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Be sure to use lip balm with SPF to protect your lips from damage from the sun. Lip balm can also keep your lips moist, so they won’t crack when they dry out.

Mouthguards for Sports

If you or your child plays any sort of contact sport, or a sport where there could be a mouth injury, wearing a mouthguard is very important. Make sure you get a custom made mouthguard that fits your mouth snugly so your teeth will be protected from any hits.

Now you know your A through M—next time learn your N through Z!

Now that you and your children know the first half of the ABCs of oral health, it’s time to make sure that you schedule an appointment to see the team at Must Love Kids if you haven’t seen us in the last six months! And, be sure to check out what we have to say for N through Z because at Must Love Kids, we’re all about building healthy smiles for kids.

Dental Sealants: How They Protect Your Child’s Teeth From Cavities Sat, 15 Jul 2023 10:57:11 +0000 Dental sealants can provide your child’s teeth protection from cavities.

As a parent, you have a lot to worry about when it comes to your kids. If you are looking for a little more piece of mind to help keep their teeth protected from cavities, ask the staff at Must Love Kids about dental sealants.

What are dental sealants?

Many parents may not have heard about dental sealants. A dental sealant is a thin, protective coating painted on the chewing surface of teeth to help prevent cavities and tooth decay. A dental sealant is normally painted on molars, or the back teeth, which are often harder for children to brush properly. A dental sealant acts as an extra layer of protection for teeth and helps to keep out plaque and bacteria. 

Dental sealants are usually clear in color, or tinted white, and cannot be seen when smiling. Children will sometimes report that a tooth with a dental sealant feels different when they run their tongue across it at first, but over time, there is no way for you, or your child, to tell that a dental sealant was applied to their teeth.

What are the benefits of dental sealants?

Since tooth brushing can be difficult for some children, especially to reach to the back of their mouth and clean their molars properly, your dentist may recommend using dental sealants to help protect your child’s molars. The dental sealant is applied to all of the chewing surfaces of the molars, protecting the tooth’s surface from tooth decay, which causes cavities. The sealant forms a barrier over the tooth, essentially making it stronger and more durable.

How old does my child have to be to get dental sealants?

Since dental sealants are placed on the molars, your child’s molars must have come in completely. A child’s first set of molars comes in around the age of six, while the second set of molars comes in around age twelve.

Do dentists recommend dental sealants?

The short answer is yes, many dentists recommend dental sealants for children because, according to the CDC, dental sealants can protect up to 80% of cavities for up to two years after the sealant is applied and up to 50% of cavities for up to four years after applied, as long as a thorough routine dental care routine is followed. 

For children who have a hard time brushing their teeth, or those who are prone to cavities, dental sealants are recommended to help prevent cavities. It is better to have a dental sealant provide an extra layer of protection than to have to fill a cavity on your child’s tooth, as cavities weaken the tooth’s natural structure. And we all know that teeth without cavities are better for your child’s overall health.

A dentist will often recommend dental sealants on top of a fluoride treatment for children. This is because the dental sealant helps protect the back teeth, while a fluoride treatment can help with boosting the effectiveness of the enamel, or outside layer, of the tooth.

But what about BPA exposure?

While the material that makes up a dental sealant contains bisphenol A, or BPA, parents shouldn’t worry about your child getting a sealant. The amount of BPA a child is exposed to when they get a dental sealant is less than a child would encounter during a day at the park or just walking down the street and breathing in air.

How are dental sealants applied?

Once you and your dentist have decided that dental sealants are right for your child, you might be wondering how the dental sealants are applied. First, your dentist will give the tooth a thorough cleaning. The tooth is then rinsed off and dried. After that, the dental sealant is painted on the tooth’s surface. A UV light may be used to cure, or set, the dental sealant, allowing it to form a tight protective bond on the tooth. That’s all there is to it! The procedure is simple, painless, and doesn’t take much time at all, so your little one should be able to sit through it without any issues.

I’m interested in dental sealants for my child. What should I do?

The first step is to make an appointment at Must Love Kids dental and talk with our staff. After our team gives your child a full evaluation, you can discuss the best course of treatment for your child.