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Santa Claus Around the World
Santa Claus Around the World

The general concept of Christmas is quite universal. It most often has to do with Santa Claus, gift giving, spending time with family and spreading joy. However, around the globe Santa is called by many different names, has many faces and is accompanied by a multitude of different traditions. Exploring each countries distinct Christmas celebrations can be a fun way to engage with the world and perhaps give you new Christmas Traditions to explore.

Germany:

Christmas in Germany is a very cozy time of year. The country is known for its numerous Christmas Markets or Christkindlmarkts . Every major city in Germany will have a Christmas Market which is filled with small vendors selling schnitzel, schweinebraten or glüwein (hot wine). They also sell lovely handmade goods from slippers, to woodcarvings, ceramics or hats, scarves and gloves.

Image result for christmas in germany

Santa Claus is called the Weinachtsmann and he is responsible for bringing the Christmas presents which typically come on December 24th not the 25th. There is also someone called the Christkindl, which is not the “Christ child” but is more a Christ-like representation who typically comes in the form of a female angel. The Christkindl is a very popular face of Christmas and in some households, it is responsible for the giving of gifts.

The advent calendar is also a very important German tradition.

France:

The nativity is very popular in France around Christmas as most of the French population identify with the Catholic traditions. You can wish a simple Merry Christmas by saying “Joyeux Noël!” and Santa Claus is called ‘Pere Noël”.

Yule logs typically made out of cherry wood are also a popular Christmas tradition and are burned with splashed of red wine to bring out a nice smell. Christmas dinner is normally eaten late on December 24th and presents await from Pere noel on the 25th.

Japan:

Christmas is a new holiday in Japan and has only begun to be celebrated recently due to the spread of western world traditions. Christmas eve is much more celebrated than Christmas day and is typically thought of as a day for lovers, much like the Valentines tradition. They have taken on eating fried chicken as the preferred Christmas dish followed by  a sponge cake with whipped cream and strawberries. Merry Christmas in Japan is Meri Kurisimasu! Santa is called Santa San or Mister Santa and is typically responsible for the bringing of gifts.

Brazil:

The nativity is also very popular in Brazil around Christmas time. Due to the fact Brazil was ruled by Portugal for many years, the religious practices between the two countries are very much the same.  Going to a midnight mass service on Christmas Eve is very a very common tradition! Children often will leave a sock near the window in hopes that Santa or Papai Noel will find it and exchange the sock for a present.Image result for christmas in brazil

Since it is summer time in Brazil at Christmas time, going to the beach Christmas day is a popular activity. They also have something called the 13th Salary, which comes in December, meaning that everyone makes double the salary that month! This is intended to boost the economy and gift buying for the holidays.

The world is a vast place filled with a myriad of Christmas traditions. Exploring the traditions of countries you have visited, dream of visiting or are just curious about can help give your Christmas’ new perspective and meaning!

What Type of Braces Does Your Child Need?
What Type of Braces Does Your Child Need?

Braces have become a very popular practice in the American dental world. If you were to ask a room full young adults how many of them had had braces, over half would surely raise their hand.  Though braces are very popular, not everyone is aware of the different types, which are available. Most people end up with the traditional or metal braces; however there are four types which dentists can typically offer you.

Traditional or metal braces are the most common. When you think of braces, these are most likely the type you think of, considering 78% of people under the age of 18 are wearing metal braces. Metal braces have come a long way since the earlier years and now consist of smaller square brackets, which are glued to the teeth connected by thin wires, which slowly pull the teeth together.

An alternative to traditional braces would be the Ceramic braces. The ceramic braces closely resemble metal braces in function and style however the metal square brackets are replaced with square ceramic brackets. These brackets are typically the same color as the teeth, leaving them to be less noticeable. Adults who require braces are more likely to favor this option.

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Another option is the Lingual Braces.  Lingual braces are unique because they are attached to the back or inside of the teeth closer to the lingual palate. This style is certainly more discrete, however can have severe downsides when it comes to cleaning. Tightening can also become a longer and more painful process due to their difficult-to-reach placement; though their invisibility from the outside really appeals to many patients who require braces

Lastly, there is the Invisalign. Invisalign was founded in 1997 and has continued to grow in popularity ever since. The invisalign technique consists of 18 to 30 custom mouth-guard-like inserts which cover the entire tooth. These are changed out every two to three weeks. They have to be changed in order to accommodate the new alignment of the teeth. Invisalign is popular because it is completely invisible and allows patients to eat and drink whatever they would like. Though, they are only suitable for adults and teens, not younger children.

Even though traditional metal braces are usually the recommended and most cost effective technique, it is always good to keep your options open and speak with your orthodontist about all the possibilities.

Extractions: When Are They Necessary?
Extractions: When Are They Necessary?

Tooth pulling or extraction is a common topic of discussion within the dental community. No one wants to voluntarily get a tooth pulled. Teeth were intended by the body to last a lifetime of wear and tear, however there a multiple reasons as to why tooth extraction should be or must be done.

Space is needed!

The mouth is only so big. Your skull determines that. However, the relationship between the size of the mouth, the dental arch and the size of the teeth sometimes do not coexist in harmony. Crowding in the mouth can be caused by any of the aforementioned factors and can lead to many harmful side effects, such as bite alignment, infection, smile aesthetic or just overall discomfort.

There are some instances where space could be made by braces or other teeth correcting techniques, however the time required to complete the job is too drastic and may jeopardize tooth and gum health. Thus pulling the tooth is the wiser and safer option.

Bite Correction

Having a Bite, which is not properly aligned (malocclusion), though seemingly harmless, can actually affect the health of the mouth greatly. If the mouth is too crowded, the upper and lower teeth may not be properly aligned. This is an issue because it can cause irregular wear on particular teeth, jaw discomfort when chewing or frequent biting of the cheeks and tongue. All of which have a negative effect on the overall health of the mouth and teeth.

Profile and Smile

An out of place tooth can negatively affect the profile and smile which has an overall impact on your dental hygiene. If the mouth is overcrowded or there is a tooth with strange alignment or placement, the profile of the teeth will be affected. This tooth can be a danger to the hygiene of the mouth if it is hard to reach when cleaning or very easily traps debris throughout the day.

Though the extraction of teeth is always an undesired procedure, the life-long positive effects of having a mouth with space, a bite with perfect alignment and a healthy profile and smile are well worth it!

Thumb-sucking, Pacifiers, and How They Can Affect Your Child’s Teeth
Thumb-sucking, Pacifiers, and How They Can Affect Your Child’s Teeth

Thumb sucking and pacifiers are probably the bane of any parent’s existence at one time or another. These habits, though incredibly useful to soothe a fussy baby or toddler eventually become a worry for most parents concerned about their child’s dental health. As child of 1-2 years old, these coping skills shouldn’t be worried about too greatly. However, when the ages of 3 or 4 are reached and the habit is still in full swing, some harm may be done to development of the child’s teeth, jaw and mouth. The sucking motion eventually narrows the upper jaw due to pressure being applied to the sides and soft palate often resulting in the need for braces or can potentially cause speech problems.

Parents are always wondering what are some tricks to help stop a child who sucks his thumb or takes a pacifier so here are a couple tips and tricks for both:

Thumb sucking:

  1. Try to limit the time your child is sucking their thumb to only bedtime or naptime. This helps give them the day time hours where they will eventually learn thumb sucking is only for bedtime.
  2. Help your child understand that when they’re ready to stop sucking their thumb, you will be there to support them. This can really help empower a child to stop the habit.
  3. Come up with creative methods to help the child understand that they are growing every day and eventually won’t need to suck their thumb anymore.

 

Pacifier use:

  1. Taking the pacifier away earlier is always better. If you notice that your baby is not actively sucking on their pacifier or needing it too much as night, feel free to just take it away. Limiting their access will avoid difficult to break habit forming later on.
  2. Going cold turkey can also be an option. Many parents designate a special day, such as a birthday or vacation, where they tell the child before hand that they won’t have the pacifier after that. Don’t steal it away without any thought, but help the child understand the scenario then stick to your plan.
  3. Inventing a “binky fairy” or someone the pacifier needs to be given to is another excellent way. It can give your child a fun experience if they’re giving it away in exchange for a dollar, Christmas gifts or even to a new baby. It also helps explain where the pacifier went and why. When they may ask about it later on, they will remember the story or event and won’t feel surprised or confused.

All of these different methods have been used by countless parents countless times. Weaning your child off of a habit such as thumb sucking or a pacifier can be a lengthy process or a short one. Every child is different. Some methods will work for one and completely not work for another. Just pick a plan as the parents, discuss it with the child and then stick to the plan so no one gets caught off guard or confused.

Tips to Keep Kids Safe this Halloween
Tips to Keep Kids Safe this Halloween

 

Trick or Treat!


Halloween is a beloved holiday celebrated by most American children around the country. What kid doesn’t like getting free candy? And in copious amounts that will last them for weeks or even months to come?

Some parents opt for more family-friendly traditions, such as harvest festivals, or a celebratory gathering where there are other children. Some families decide not to celebrate at all, as many religions highly discourage parents from letting their children participate in a holiday with known Wiccan roots. However, if you are in the majority, Trick-or-Treating is the go-to practice for millions of children and young adults every October 31st.

 

Use the Buddy System

Up until a certain age, children should obviously be supervised while they go door-to-door at night approaching stranger’s houses. But once they reach an appropriate age (TBD by each parent’s discretion) it is best that kids travel in groups. This may seem like a no-brainer, but many times young preteens and young teens can get caught up in sugar-fueled excitement that they may lose track of their surroundings, and, one or some of their group.

Remind your child to keep an eye on everybody he or she is with. The buddy system goes all ways – everyone watches out for each other.

If someone gets lost or accidentally left behind, agree to have a designated meeting place that is open, and well-lit – such as under a streetlight in a park or a location close to the starting point. Thankfully we live in a more technologically-savvy culture, so sending phones along in case of a problem is also a good idea.

 

Use a Flashlight or a Guiding Light

This is a great tip especially if you have more than one child or more children are coming with you around the neighborhood. Not only will this help a child navigate sidewalks and spot low-hanging branches, but it will aid the parents or the adult supervising in spotting where they are at all times.

If children are unaccompanied by an adult or older sibling, this should also aid their group in staying together and being aware of each other at all times.

 

Candy-Check

Unfortunately, not everybody can be trusted. When your child has finished Trick-or-Treating, regardless of age, have them pour out their candy into a pile. It is important that the stash be examined for any kind of obvious tampering, such as an opened wrapper; in which case the piece should be tossed out. While a lot of times this is accidental, it is good to use precaution. If you find a sweet that is not in commercial packaging or appears to be homemade, unless you trust the person from whose house it came, THROW IT AWAY. Homemade candy is not really acceptable in this day in age, and for obvious reasons.

With food allergies, make sure upon reading the ingredients that the food is not anywhere in the candy. In cases of incredibly sensitive peanut allergies, many times the label will tell you whether or not the treat was manufactured in an environment where peanuts were present. This is good information, especially if your child cannot even be near peanuts without have some sort of reaction.

 

“Treat”-ing While Trick-or-Treating

It is best that children do not eat candy while going door-to-door – especially for smaller children, as this can pose a choking hazard. Instead, send your child out after dinner or make sure they have a snack in their stomach before they head out. This way, kids will not be as tempted to begin eating any of the candy until after it has been inspected.

We hope these tips and ideas can keep your kiddos safe this Halloween, but also not hinder any fun there is to be had! For more information, visit:

www.esfi.org

www.fda.gov 

Dry Mouth: What It Is & How it Can Affect Your Teeth
Dry Mouth: What It Is & How it Can Affect Your Teeth

Dry mouth is an oral condition that is fairly self-explanatory: it is where there is not enough saliva production inside the mouth.

Saliva adds a very important element to virtually every function your mouth needs to do. When a bite of food enters the mouth, alongside chewing with teeth there are enzymes in spit that help begin breaking down food before it even enters the stomach. This aids in not only swallowing properly but digestion as well.

The saliva glands continue producing day and night to help wash away leftover debris between meals. This helps keep teeth clean and is our body’s natural, initial defense against cavities. Build-up from the bacteria in saliva is what causes plaque, which is why we have to brush our teeth manually at least once a day. But if we didn’t have saliva, we would have to brush and wash away debris much more frequently!

Not only is saliva helpful with eating and preserving teeth, but it keeps the mouth well lubricated for speaking, and prevents the tongue and gums from drying out and cracking. It is crucial that the tongue always stays wet – if it doesn’t, taste buds don’t work properly! Yes – we actually could not taste food very well without spit!

Amazingly enough, our body actually produces less saliva when we sleep at night. If you sleep with your mouth open, you might notice that you will drool a little bit at night. But if you’ve ever woken up with cotton mouth, it’s because not only did leftover moisture leave the mouth (drool) but the production of saliva reduces significantly.

There are a couple ways that we can experience temporary dry mouth: dehydration, stress, or sleeping with your mouth open. But when dry mouth persists, it is known as a clinical condition called xerostomia (zehr-ehs-toh-mee-ah), which is much more serious.

Xerostomia is caused primarily by certain medications. There are over 500 prescription and over-the-counter drugs that can affect fluid regulation in the body, such as allergy medicines (antihistamines). It can also be caused by antidepressants, and chemotherapy drugs.

The common misconception is that mostly elderly people get dry mouth, which simply isn’t true. Many individuals who take the above medications are susceptible; and cancer, allergies, and mood disorders can appear at any age.

Radiation treatments to the head and neck (for cancer found in these areas) can also cause permanent damage to the glands. Other diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s, cystic fibrosis, and AIDS can also have dry mouth as an added ailment.

If you think you or your child may have dry mouth, here are some steps you can take:

  • If you or your child take a regular medication(s), tell your doctor about the dryness you are experiencing and see if dry mouth is one of the side effects.
  • Take regular sips of fluid. It is imperative that your mouth continually stay moist and wash away food debris throughout the day. Water is always best.
  • Sleep with a humidifier in the room. This can be really soothing, especially if you are prone to sleeping with your mouth open.
  • Don’t smoke. This will definitely aggravate the dryness!
  • Practice good oral hygiene. Remember when we said that if we didn’t have saliva, we’d have to brush more frequently?! That’s because with dry mouth there lacks a natural way for food and bacteria to be consistently flushed out.
  • Don’t forget to see your dentist twice a year. This is just a good practice, whether you have dry mouth or not!
Can Dental X-Rays Be Harmful?
Can Dental X-Rays Be Harmful?

As a parent, there is a natural concern or even objection to your child having x-rays on their teeth. Can’t radiation be extremely harmful to children? Is it even necessary?

All dental experts agree: No to the first question, yes to the second. The first objection is perhaps the most common, and the most obvious concern. Children get their first tooth often before their first birthday. Isn’t it dangerous to expose an infant to radiation?

Here are the facts. In comparison to other ways bones and other internal organs are examined, x-rays are the most comfortable and fastest way to examine anything inside the body – and most importantly, identify a particular issue if there is one.

The whole process to capture the x-ray is only a few seconds and cannot be felt at all. Dental experts agree that there can be far more damage in the avoidance of x-rays. This is because they can detect issues and potential issues regular dental instruments can not, and can allow the dentist to identify cavities, view emerging adult or wisdom teeth, catch early decay, and even small fractures in the case of an injury.

Without the use of x-rays, the detection, prevention, and resolution of these issues would be nearly non-existent – and ultimately, more detrimental – costing you more money and your child more pain in the long-run. Cavities and decay especially can occur between teeth or in places not visible by a regular probe. In the case of a damaged root or a tooth that is positioned improperly under the surface of the gums, this is impossible to identify and treat without x-rays.

If this quick and painless process has any discomfort whatsoever, it’s the measures taken to ensure your child is positioned properly for the brief moment is takes to capture the x-rays. The dentist or pediatric dentist will most likely explain to your child that they are going to take a picture of their teeth and in order to capture this they have to sit very, very still. This way, the child is not frightened and is more inclined to move as little as possible for the few seconds the machine is obtaining the images.

These examinations only take place usually once a year (every other semi-annual appointment) which means the amount of x-rays passing through are incredibly spread out. Not only that, your child will wear a weighted lead vest during this process to protect the rest of their body. Truly, however, the vest is very strictly precautionary.

If you have any further concerns about x-rays, do not hesitate to talk to your child’s dentist at their next appointment. Chances are they will reassure you that x-rays are risk-free and necessary to monitor a growing smile closely and effectively.

What to Do In Case of a Toothache
What to Do In Case of a Toothache

Tooth pain can be some of the most brutal pain you can experience, given that the mouth is such a sensitive area. More than that, we use our mouths for almost everything. Talking, eating, breathing, expressing ourselves – toothaches can really set you back!

When your child experiences what seems to be severe tooth pain, there are steps you can take before they’re able to see a dentist.

The first thing to do would be to identify the tooth or the area where your child’s mouth is hurting. Many times the cause of pain (especially for growing kids) is the sensation of a new tooth growing in or food that has become lodged in the gums. For this, gently try to wiggle it out with dental floss.

On the other hand, if a nerve is exposed, any and all activity, even just breathing (air getting to the nerve) can be excruciating. So if it appears that it is due to an exposed nerve and it is during business hours, call our office right away. The pain will be constant and almost unbearable.

If your child is able to handle the pain, it is recommended you wait 12 hours after before seeing a dentist. This is because often the pain can subside after awhile or can resolve itself. Chances are, if the pain persists that long, it will require professional attention and is a sign there is something wrong. 

If an urgent matter occurs outside business hours, use our app (link below) to send an emergency photo. This will be sent to the Kidds Place right away, even if we are not open. This is a really incredible feature most dental offices do not have!

If an adult tooth becomes dislodged or gets knocked out, time is of the essence. Pick the tooth up (not by the root end!) and examine it for cracks. If it has none, try to re-insert the tooth back into its socket and try to get into a dental office straightaway. If the tooth does not stay in the socket, take it to the dentist in a cup of the patient’s saliva or milk – yes, milk! This will keep the tooth preserved better but only for a short time.

There is an old wives tale that says placing a crushed aspirin on the toothache can cure it – this is NOT dentist recommended! It is better to administer the aspirin or another pain reliever into your child’s system the recommended amount (depending on age).

In short, here are the steps to take when first a toothache arrives:

  • Do your best to clean the affected area and to floss out any debris, if there is any
  • Rinsing with warm water can also be soothing to swollen gums.
  • Gargle warm salt water every hour – this will not only soothe, but disinfect.
  • Do not eat or drink anything very hot or very cold – instead try putting a hot pack on the outside of the affected area.
  • Avoid sweets or junk food.

We know toothaches aren’t fun – so call us when you have an issue or use our app when your child is in pain. We’re here for you!

Download our app:

What Toothpaste is Best for Toddlers?
What Toothpaste is Best for Toddlers?

Is the kind of toothpaste we use really that big of a deal?

While many come dentist-recommended, one of the most important things you can do for your smile everyday is to brush your teeth, regardless of whatever you are using to do this.

If you have a toothbrush that is able to get every nook and cranny of your mouth, it’s crucial that you are using it to get any bacteria and buildup off of your teeth. Most toothpastes have a bacteria-fighting agent in them that aid you in doing this. If you’ve ever brushed without any toothpaste, you may have noticed a difference as to how much less time it takes for your mouth to feel “gross” again.

Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

When it comes to children brushing their teeth, it’s important that as soon as their first tooth comes in that you begin brushing it for them until they are old enough to do it on their own. While still in infancy, do NOT use toothpaste with fluoride, but use a gentle, baby-sized toothbrush with water (or fluoride-free baby toothpaste).

Once a child is 3 years old, then you can begin using toothpaste with fluoride. This helps build up the enamel and makes teeth strong. Be sure that you are only placing a pea-sized portion on the toothbrush up until they are about 7. This prevents swallowing too much and can also aid in preventing fluorosis; a minor cosmetic issue that occurs on the surface of the teeth if a build-up of fluoride begins incurring. It basically looks like brown or white spots appearing on the enamel.

According to the American Dental Association, here are the top recommended brands for kids that won’t break the bank:

  • Crest® Pro-Health Stages® Disney Princess Toothpaste – This toothpaste is guaranteed to fight against cavities, and the mild gel formula has been kid tested and approved. The packaging features Disney characters, which all children love.
  • Aquafresh® Fresh ‘N Fruity – The subtle flavors of this brand makes it a great transition toothpaste for toddlers coming out of infancy. It gently cleans vulnerable new teeth and includes fluoride for cavity protection. This toothpaste is suitable for children three years and older; supervised use is recommended.
  • Colgate Children’s 2-in-1 toothpaste – This toothpaste is approved by the American Dental Association and is recommended best for children over the age of five. It is a liquid gel formula that is kids are known to love and comes in a variety of flavors to suit their individual tastes. It provides dual benefits as both a toothpaste and a mouthwash that protects your kids’ teeth against cavities.
  • Tom’s of Maine, Natural Anti-Cavity Toothpaste for Children – This brand has a defense mechanism against bacteria and acids. There are no artificial preservatives, dyes or saccharine in this toothpaste and it contains real fruit juice to make it taste great for kids.

Source: Children’s Dental

 

How to Respond to Bullies
How to Respond to Bullies

School is back in session!
Your child might either be very excited or disappointed that summer is over, the air is colder, and school is here to stay for the next eight months!

On top of learning new academics and adjusting to a new routine, there is also new social dynamics to be learned within their classes.

While every school is different, you hope for the best that your child does not have to deal with teasing or bullying. The truth is that even if you have effective communication with your child, they may still be hesitant to tell you if another kid is pushing them around. This could be because they’re embarrassed, nervous, or wanting to handle it on their own.  

For the safety of your child and every child involved in a bullying situation, it is not something to be handled light-heartedly. While the older generations are known for writing off bullying as “character-building”, a mildly abrasive encounter can eventually lead to a much more serious issue if a child is not punished for acting out against his or her peers.

While of course the goal as a parent is to eventually teach your child to be effective in problem-solving and independent enough to fight their own battles, bullying is an issue because, especially in more severe situations like an event of a physical altercation, an adult is the only force that can step in and put an end to it. If the event transpires on school property, administration most likely gets involved and that can lead to further disciplinary action. The goal is, of course, to never get to that point!

Yes, the effects on a victim of bullying can be long-lasting (emotionally, mentally, and physically), but what can almost be considered more detrimental is a bully that was never effectively disciplined for his or her behavior and then grows into an aggressive and out-of-control adult.

A way to open up the discussion with your child is by telling them a story about your personal experience. There’s a high chance you were bullied, know someone who was – or were a bully yourself! This normalizes what they might be feeling and are more likely to open up about what they’re going through.

If your child is in fact, experiencing issues with bully, here is the recommended advice (in fact, you may wish you had these step-by-step tips when you were a kid!)

  1. While It’s Happening:

The first thing anyone can do while confronted with a bully is to walk away or remove themselves from the situation. If this is not possible and you are cornered, tell the bully firmly to “stop”. The most important thing a victim to do is to try and keep their emotions calm, even if it’s just on the surface. If you can remain calm on the outside, the bully has nothing to fuel their fire to continue to taunt you. They are spurred on by their subject reacting to their provocations, so being able to control a knee-jerk response can shut them down pretty quickly.

  1. After:

Tell a friend you trust to help process the situation and support you. Friends are great to have even in situations where the confrontation might not have been that severe or stayed in control.  Next, tell an adult you trust, even if the altercation did not escalate to threats or physical violence. Even just experiencing being talked down to: “You’re stupid” “you’re so ugly”, name calling, etc. NEEDS to be stopped as this can spar a bully on to bigger and badder endeavors. Talking-down is a step-ladder for which these insecure boys and girls can build aggression for further deeds. It’s important to note that reporting a serious issue is NOT tattling, and a child should be praised for having the courage to speak out in a difficult situation.

  1. Over time:

Try to avoid areas where you and a potential bully can come into direct contact without adults around. This might be in the hallways, at a bus stop, or on the playground. If you can, have a buddy system where you always have one or more friends around you. Not only are bullies less likely to corner a victim when there’s people around, but if a situation does arise, you will have at least one witness to testify to the event.

It’s also important to have go-to friends or adults you look up to in order to talk out your emotions. Getting your feelings out in the open is therapeutic; just because a conflict is resolved doesn’t mean there are not lingering emotions. If it helps, consider journaling to vent on to paper. Processing the events over in your head can help you recognize next time when a bad situation is stirring. Practicing at home or writing down responses to a bully can also help you remember a good and proactive statements to make in the heat of the moment.

 

For other ideas, visit the Anti-Defamation League’s page on bullying. Have a great school year!