How to Make Brushing Fun for Kids

If you have children, you know how difficult it can be to teach them to properly brush their teeth. Kids just never seem to have the time, energy, or motivation to brush, and parents quickly become burnt out trying to force their little ones to do this bit of daily dental care. Brushing teeth can become a real chore when parents and kids view it as boring, so it’s important for parents to find ways to make brushing as fun as possible.

Talk About Brushing Throughout the Day

Don’t wait for teeth brushing time to talk about the importance of keeping teeth clean and healthy. Try to incorporate discussions about dental care into daily activities so that they begin making the connection between good health and brushing teeth, and can see the results of both good and bad dental care in real life.

Give Them Some Control

Everyone likes to be in control of what’s happening to them, and children are no different. While we can’t let kids make all the decisions related to their dental care, allowing them to choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste are a great way to get them involved and interested in their own dental health. Many kids are excited to use their new character-themed toothbrush or flavor of toothpaste, making them much more likely to not fight when it is brushing time.

Brush With Them

Parents should always role model the behaviors they want to see in their children, and brushing their teeth alongside them is a great way to show them that even adults have to take care of their teeth. This can be an excellent time to not only practice proper dental care, but to also connect with the kids, ask them about their day, or listen to them talk about something special or important that’s been on their mind.

Sing a Song

The American Dental Association recommends that both adults and children brush for at least two minutes, twice each day. Two minutes doesn’t sound like a long time, but it can feel like an eternity for a young child who is just learning teeth brushing skills. Make those two minutes pass by in a breeze by singing a fun or silly song while brushing teeth. Pop open the Spotify playlist and start their favorite track, search for teeth brushing songs on Youtube, or go with the crowd-pleaser “My Shiny Teeth & Me” by Chip Skylark.

Give Praise & Rewards

No matter if a child brushes for two minutes or two seconds, always remember to offer lots of verbal praise or even a tangible reward for their efforts. Children thrive on praise and recognition, and dental health is so important for their physical and emotional well-being that parents should really lay it on thick. Little rewards like a sugar-free candy, small toy at the end of the week, or even just some extra time watching their favorite TV show are all great ways to encourage and motivate kids to become great brushers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pediatric Dentistry

When should I schedule my child’s first dental visit?

Schedule your child’s first dental visit when their first tooth starts coming in or at their first birthday, whichever comes first. If you have any concerns about your child’s dental health before these two events, do not hesitate to schedule their first dental visit early.

How often should my child visit the dentist?

After their first visit with the dentist, your child should have routine dental cleanings and examinations done at least twice each year.

Pediatric Dental Care in Memphis

At Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis, we believe all parts of a child’s dental experience should be fun. That’s why we strive to make visits to our office as enjoyable as possible for children and teens, sowing the seeds of good dental health for the rest of their lives. If you’re in Memphis and need a high-quality and compassionate pediatric dentist for your children, contact us to schedule an appointment at Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis at one of our two convenient locations: 


Kirby Center Cove: 901-363-8192

White Station: 901-363-8192

Or, request an appointment online.

How Often Should Kids Get Dental X-Rays?

There are many different tools that pediatric dentists use to provide the highest level of oral health care to their young patients. One of the most important is the use of diagnostic imaging, otherwise referred to as dental X-rays. 


Are dental x-rays safe? How often should kids get them? And at what age should they get their first? We have all the answers to these questions and more below. 

Are Dental X-Rays Safe? 

Thanks to modern advancements in dentistry, today’s dental X-rays are safer than they have ever been. A very, very small amount of radiation is used to capture the image. 


The benefits that come with the use of this diagnostic tool are far greater than the potential risk that comes from the minute amount of radiation used. 

How Often Should Kids Get Dental X-Rays? 

Generally, without any history of dental problems, a preventative set of dental X-rays should be taken every 12 months or even longer. 


When it comes to how often a pediatric patient should get dental X-rays or how old that patient should be when they get their first one, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry does not have any specific regulations. They can benefit patients of any age. 


Determining when to administer dental X-rays is left in the hands of the experienced pediatric dentist based on a few recommendations. For instance, the AAPD suggests that dental X-rays be taken when patients have:



Dental X-rays are recommended every 6 to 12 months if the above situations are present. Though rest assured that your child’s pediatric dentist will make the most conservative determination with their oral health as the priority.  

The Role of Dental X-Rays in Pediatric Dentistry

Dental X-rays play a very important role in the diagnosis and treatment of oral health issues in dentistry — including pediatrics. 


With the naked eye, there is only so much that dentists can see. This limits their ability to treat oral health issues that go beyond normal vision. And when it comes to pediatric dentistry, that includes both dental concerns as well as developmental concerns. 


Dental X-rays in pediatric dentistry help dentists to: 


Dental X-rays are also widely used in orthodontic treatment, including early orthodontics.

Frequently Asked Questions about Dental X-Rays

How does a dentist do an X-ray on a child?

A lead vest will be placed over the child to reduce radiation exposure. Then each section of the mouth is singled out for imaging, providing the dentist with a thorough look at all areas of the mouth with minimal risk. 


Does dental insurance cover X-rays?

Because dental imaging is used as a diagnostic tool in the prevention and treatment of one’s oral health, most insurance providers will cover at least one set of X-rays every 12 months. 


Learn More at Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis

At Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis, we want to be able to provide your child with the best possible dental treatment imaginable. That’s why we work so closely with the parents, listening and encouraging along the way. If you have questions about your child’s oral health or the dental care they receive, just ask. It’s what we’re here for. 


Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our two convenient locations: 

Kirby Center Cove: 901-363-8192

White Station: 901-560-4386

Or, request an appointment online.

Tips for Parents: Caring for Your Child's Teeth

Do you know everything you need to know about caring for your child’s teeth? Oral health has a profound effect on overall health and wellness. A healthy mouth promotes a healthy body. 

Preventive dental care helps to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, the two most common oral health problems. Children are just as susceptible to these as adults, and even more so in some ways. 

Starting good oral hygiene habits early can establish a foundation for a lifetime of oral health. Here are some tips for parents to help you care for your child’s teeth. 

Brush Children’s Teeth Twice a Day 

It is best for children to brush their teeth at least twice a day (ideally three times a day), once in the morning and once at night before going to bed, using fluoride or xylitol  toothpaste. Young children will need assistance with brushing until they are capable of brushing effectively on their own. After your child brushes, go back over their teeth with the toothbrush yourself for best results. Model good brushing techniques so children learn how to brush effectively. 

Start Flossing Between Age 2 and 6 

Children  should begin flossing with parental help, when their teeth are close enough together for food and plaque to get trapped between them. This may occur anywhere between the ages of 2 and 6 for most children. If you’re not sure when or if your child should be flossing, ask your dentist at your child’s next appointment. It is often easier for children to use flossers when they first start because they are easier to hold. 

Allow at Least 2 Hours Between Eating 

Frequent snacking is common for children, but it can have a negative impact on their oral health. Children’s teeth need time to recover in between exposures to food and beverages. There are natural enzymes that protect the teeth from decay and promote healthy levels of bacteria in the mouth, and those can only do their job if there are at least 2 hour breaks between eating and drinking (other than water). When snacking we recommend drinking water.

Schedule Dental Cleanings Every 6 Months

In addition to caring for children’s teeth at home, professional dental cleanings and oral examinations are necessary to maintain oral health. Children are especially prone to missing spots when brushing, which can allow plaque to build up in certain areas of the mouth and increase the risk of developing cavities. Dental cleanings remove plaque that is left behind after brushing and oral examinations detect the earliest signs of tooth decay and gum disease for easier treatment. 

Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Visit Around Age One 

Children should have their first dental appointment around their first birthday or within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth, whichever comes first. As soon as a tooth is visible above the gums it is susceptible to decay, so a dental cleaning and oral exam is needed. When dental care begins at an early age it helps children get used to the experience of going to the dentist, reducing the chances of anxiety or fear. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Pediatric Dentistry 

Is dental care important for baby teeth that will just fall out? 

Even though the primary (baby) teeth are eventually shed, they remain in the mouth for many years before that happens. They are also important for eating and speech development. The health of the primary teeth sets the tone for the health of the permanent teeth that will (hopefully) last forever. 


Can children get gum disease?

Children are just as susceptible to gum disease as adults. When plaque builds up on the teeth without being removed by brushing and dental cleanings the bacteria contained within it can infect the gum tissue, resulting in gum disease. Good oral hygiene habits and regular dental visits can usually prevent gum disease. 


Schedule a Dental Appointment Today

If it has been more than 6 months since your child’s last dental visit or if they are just reaching the age for their first appointment, Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis welcomes new and returning patients. 

Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment. 

Kirby Center Cove: 901-363-8192
White Station Road: 901-560-4386

5 Places in Memphis to Take Your Children for Amazing Holiday Lights

We interrupt our regularly scheduled oral health care tips for kids to focus instead on holiday fun tips for the whole family! Here in Memphis, we are lucky to have amazing holiday light displays all over the greater metro area.  Here is a list of 5 of our favorite places in Memphis to take children to see holiday lights.  

1. Starry Nights at Shelby Farms Park

Shelby Farms Park’s annual Starry Nights is sure to delight your whole family, all the while raising money for the lovely central Memphis park. This drive-thru event features millions of dazzling lights. On select Thursdays and Sundays, young children can also meet Santa at Mistletoe Village. Starry Nights holiday lights will be on display through December 31, 2023. 

Location:  6993 Great View Drive North
Memphis, TN 38120


2. Zoo Lights at the Memphis Zoo

The Memphis Zoo goes all out for the holidays, and Zoo Lights offers fabulous holiday light displays that kids will love. Highlights include the Light Tunnel, Gingerbread Forest, ice skating rink, ferris wheel, and Santa Claus visits. Entrance to Zoo Lights at the Memphis Zoo is free for children under 2. Zoo Lights at the Memphis Zoo will be on display through January 6, 2024. 

Location:  2000 Prentiss Place
Memphis, TN 38112


3. Deck the Diamond Holiday Spectacular at AutoZone Park

The Memphis Redbirds’ home stadium is all decked out for the holidays, and your kids will love the family-friendly Deck the Diamond Holiday Spectacular. With nearly 200 light structures, an ice skating rink, food trucks, music, visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, and a dedicated Kid Zone, this holiday light display is not to be missed. The holiday lights at Autozone Park will run through December 31, 2023. 

Location: Autozone Park
200 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103


4. Holiday Wonders at the Memphis Botanic Garden

Sip on hot chocolate or apple cider while taking in the sparkling holiday lights at Holiday Wonders at the Garden on select dates. Featuring Santa’s Sleigh, light-up games, and plenty of festive photo-ops, kids of all ages will find limitless fun at this family-friendly event. Holiday Wonders at the Garden runs through December 30, 2023. 

Location:  Memphis Botanic Garden
7850 Cherry Road
Memphis, TN 38117


5. Collierville Holiday Light Tour

Featuring 70-100 homes and businesses beautifully lit with holiday lights, the Collierville Holiday Light tour is a leisurely driving tour sponsored by the Town of Collierville Parks and Recreation Department and Town Beautiful Commission. No tickets or pre-planning is needed. Simply hop in the car with the kids, and head to the Town Square, before touring the residential areas.

Location: Collierville Town Square and Surrounding Areas
96 Center Street
Collierville, TN 38017


Help Kids Maintain Great Oral Health Over the Holidays

If your children are enjoying more sugary snacks than normal this holiday season, they are in excellent company. Keep in mind though, that sugary snacks can contribute to cavities. So, be sure your children are brushing their teeth for a full two minutes each day, and flossing daily. If it’s been six months or longer since they’ve had a dental appointment, request an appointment at either of our Memphis locations for an oral exam and cleaning. From the entire team at Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis, we wish you a very happy holiday season.

How to Stop Your Child From Sucking Their Thumb

It may be cute to see a tiny little baby sucking their thumb. But as kids grow, it’s not so cute anymore. This once-normal behavior becomes a very hard habit to break. And it could put your child’s oral health at risk if it continues after teething. 

Most parents notice that the thumb-sucking habit slowly diminishes between two and four years of age. However, if your child isn’t showing any signs of slowing down - it may be time to take action. 

Consequences of Thumb Sucking

There are a few issues that can arise as a result of thumb-sucking. Here are some of the most common: 

It is imperative that steps be taken to stop your child from sucking their thumb if you want to maintain good oral health. 

Tips to Stop Your Child From Sucking Their Thumb

Teaching your child to stop sucking their thumb before permanent teeth come in is so important. Here are a few tips to help you get through this challenge. 

Use Positive Reinforcement

Being negative, yelling, or punishing a kid for sucking their thumb is not going to work. This sucking habit is an innate reflex - and it is comforting to the child. A negative response is only likely to kick it into high gear. 


Using positive reinforcement by praising and rewarding your child for not sucking their thumb can have a greater impact. An easy way to do this is by setting up a chart and adding stickers to it every time they aren’t sucking their thumb. This may be every few minutes, every hour, every day, etc. 


Find a system that works and engages your child - and stick to it. 

Distract Your Child

Find easy ways to distract your child and keep their hands busy. Engaging them in various activities is a great idea, such as arts and crafts, actively playing with toys, and playing sports. Pair it with a reward chart for even greater chances of success. 

Thumb Guards

Thumb guards go on your child’s hand and cover their thumb. Due to air holes, they cannot get suction when attempting to suck their thumb. This makes them lose interest and can successfully break the habit. 


Thumb guards allow your child to still be able to move about freely without much restriction. Discuss this option with your dentist before making a purchase.  

Over The Counter Remedies

Discuss with your pediatric dentist prior to putting any over the counter remedy on your child's thumb. Many will try hot sauce but we do not recommend this because if it gets in the child's eye you could be off to the ER. Also, there can be some gastric distress with this method. There is some success with medicaments that you paint on the thumbnail but these should be placed only after the age of four as certain taste buds do not develop until after this age.  We recommend you discuss this with your pediatric dentist to help guide you on what to buy.

Dental Appliances

A dental appliance may be recommended if your child continues to suck their thumb when permanent teeth erupt. The key here is that the child must be able to say they want to stop but can’t stop.

Talk to Your Child

Depending on how old your child is, sitting down and having a talk with them can have a bigger impact than you would imagine. Discuss the issues that can come from sucking their thumb, such as spreading germs, the eventual need for complex dental procedures, getting picked on by other kids, and so forth. 


Sometimes helping them to understand what comes with thumb sucking can be enough for them to quit the habit on their own. 

Reach Out to Your Pediatric Dentist

Your child’s dentist is a great resource when it comes to thumb-sucking habits. At Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis, we will work with our parents and their little patients to come up with a solution. There are many different ways to curb this habit - and working together can yield the greatest results. 

To schedule an appointment, contact us today at one of our convenient locations. Or, request an appointment online.

Should Kids Get Fluoride Treatments?

Fluoride is a natural mineral substance that helps to prevent dental decay by hardening and remineralizing tooth enamel. Fluoride helps children's teeth properly develop before they erupt. It also strengthens bones.


While fluoride is safe for children, some parents are concerned about its use. Pediatric dentists reassure parents that in-office fluoride treatments are safe, effective, and can help prevent severe dental health issues in later life.

How Fluoride Works

Bacteria living in our mouths cause tooth decay. These bacteria consume food left behind on the teeth, especially sweet or starchy items. As the bacteria process the sugar, they release acid that damages tooth enamel. As tooth enamel breaks down, your child's teeth will be vulnerable to decay.


Fluoride repairs acid damage in a process called remineralization. Fluoride works with calcium and phosphate ions to rebuild the enamel, making it less acid-soluble than before.

In-Office Fluoride Treatments

In-office fluoride treatments are safe for children six months and up. The most common form of fluoride treatment is a varnish that the dentist or hygienist paints on the teeth. This varnish hardens and sets upon contact with saliva, lowering the chance that the child could accidentally swallow it.


Gels and foams are great for older children and adults. The dentist or hygienist gives these preparations in a molded tray. They come in many flavors.

Advantages of Fluoride Treatment

Lowers the Risk of Tooth Decay

In-office fluoride treatments are highly effective against tooth decay. When combined with a proper at-home care routine, you can help your child maintain positive oral health.

Repairs Some Existing Decay

In some cases, fluoride can even reverse the effects of small areas of decay.

Helps Prevent Costly Dental Treatments

When your child has regular fluoride treatments, they will be less likely to need procedures like fillings later on.

Lowers Chances of Tooth Loss Later in Life

Decay can lead to tooth loss. Preserving natural teeth carries many strong health benefits and saves the expense of tooth restorations in the future.

Other Fluoride Sources for Children


Children of ages six months and up can use fluoride toothpaste. Starting at age three, use a pea-sized amount. Under age three, use a dot of toothpaste the size of one grain of rice.

Tap Water

In many communities in the United States, municipal water supplies contain fluoride. In these areas, the rate of dental decay is significantly lower than in areas with non-fluoridated water.


If your area does not have fluoridated water, your dentist may prescribe fluoride supplements for your child.


Older children (over age six) can also use optional over-the-counter fluoride rinses with supervision.

Call Pediatric Dental Care

Fluoride treatment is a simple, inexpensive process that can greatly impact your child's oral health. Using fluoride treatment, you can protect your child from tooth decay today and the risk of severe dental problems later in life. Call one of our two Memphis, TN, offices to make an appointment for your child.

When Should Your Kids Start to Floss Their Teeth?

Flossing is a must for taking good care of your child's teeth. Your dentist can tell you whether your child's teeth need flossing. Most dentists recommend that parents start to floss their children's teeth between the ages of two and six or whenever the teeth begin to meet closely together.

Why Do Children's Teeth Need Flossing?

Children need to floss for the same reasons as adults. Flossing removes food and plaque between the teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing promotes healthy gums, reducing a child's risk of developing gingivitis or gum disease.


Starting a lifelong flossing habit at a young age can present major oral health benefits for your child. Many people struggle to comply with flossing instructions, even in adulthood. If your child develops a healthy routine in early childhood, they will be more likely to maintain a lifelong practice.

Flossing As Part of a Healthy Oral Care Routine

Parents should follow these steps to keep their child's smile as healthy as possible:

Tips to Help Parents Floss Their Children's Teeth

You can use traditional floss or pre-threaded picks with your child. If you use traditional floss, break off 18 inches of floss between your index finger and thumb and use it to wrap around your index finger. Holding the floss, gently guide it between the teeth. Floss both sides of the teeth and under the gum line.


If you care for your child's smile consistently, it will be easier for them to cooperate with having their teeth brushed and flossed. This practice will also make dental appointments easier for your child.

Transitioning to Children Flossing Their Teeth

Allow your child to practice flossing in a supervised setting. Ensure that your child flosses gently to avoid sore gums. Most children can begin flossing on their own when they are about six years old, but even after this age, children will need close supervision to ensure they do a good job. 


Monitor your child's entire oral care routine until you are satisfied that they comply with their dentist's instructions.

Call Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis

Sometimes parents feel too busy to floss their children's teeth daily, but flossing is a key element of healthy oral care. Children who floss consistently starting in early childhood will have fewer cavities, less gum disease, and better oral health well into adulthood.

Call one of our two Memphis, TN, offices for oral health guidance and to schedule a dental appointment for your child.

How Long Does a Cavity Filling Take?

Your child may be nervous about getting a filling for the first time. While everything is sure to go smoothly and peacefully throughout the procedure, taking steps to prepare for the aftercare ahead of time can be beneficial. That way, once the cavity is filled, you can simply take your little one home to rest. 


Of course, knowing how long the procedure is going to last will help you clear up any other obligations, too. 


What is a Cavity? 

A cavity is a hole in a tooth that results from tooth decay. When all the bacteria and acids in the mouth sit along the surface of the tooth, they can begin to wear down the enamel. Over time, this outer layer gets weaker and weaker as decay begins to set in. 


With time, toothaches and discolorations can signal that a tooth may be ailing and in need of some attention. But, with routine dental visits, your child’s dentist will be able to catch issues early - including cavities. 


In fact, the best way to avoid cavities altogether is to make sure that your child is brushing well at least twice per day, flossing, and making it to the dentist every six months for a routine cleaning and examination. 


What to Expect with a Cavity Filling

A cavity filling is an in-office procedure that uses local anesthesia to numb the area around your child’s teeth and gums. Keep in mind that whether or not sedation is used will depend greatly on the patient and the extent of the procedure needed. 


Once it is numb, the dentist will begin using a tooth washer (dental handpiece) and spin brush (slower dental handpiece) to remove decay from the tooth. The open area will then be filled.


There are different types of materials used for the filling. One of the most common options used today includes a combination of ceramic and plastic known as composite resin. This material will leave the tooth appearing like the others, looking natural and healthy. It will also have a lot of strength and durability, too. So whether it is a front tooth or a back tooth, it can handle the bite force.


Ultraviolet light is held over the tooth and is used to cure the filling material. 


Throughout the entire procedure, you can rest easy knowing that your child’s dental team will age-appropriately explain what is happening as they move through the steps. 


How Long Does a Cavity Filling Take?

You can expect a cavity filling appointment to last about 45 min (this does not include sedation if needed). However, if there is a significant amount of decay or if multiple fillings are needed, then this could take a little longer. 


Dental Fillings at Pediatric Dental Care

If your child has a cavity that needs a filling, find comfort in the high-quality treatment and skills they will encounter at Pediatric Dental Care. We provide the most personalized treatment so that your child gets the best filling - and long-lasting results. 


To learn more, contact us today at 901-363-8192. Or, request an appointment online. 

How We Partner with Parents

In pediatric dentistry, patients and parents are equally important. While your child is always the primary focus, we include parents in every aspect of their dental care. When parents play an active role in their child’s dental care, it promotes healthy habits and increases the chances that children will develop and maintain lifelong dental and oral health. 

We carry out our philosophy of partnering with parents in a variety of ways. 


Parents Stay With Their Children at All Times 

We believe it is in the best interest of the child and the parent for you to stay together throughout the dental appointment. You’ll never have to sit nervously in the waiting room while we lead your child off to receive dental care in a separate room. This helps both children and parents feel more comfortable, especially for our youngest patients. A parent can offer reassurance to an anxious child while they receive dental care. Babies and toddlers often sit on a parent's lap while receiving care. We even invite parents into the operatory during dental procedures like fillings, extractions, and all other types of treatment. 


Parents Teach Good Oral Hygiene Habits 

Parents are a child’s first teachers in all things, including dental self-care. By teaching and modeling proper brushing and flossing habits, your child will learn the importance of taking care of their teeth and how to do so correctly. We partner with parents to educate you and your children on good oral hygiene techniques and how to keep your teeth and mouth healthy. You only get one set of permanent teeth to last for your lifetime. It's up to you to take care of them so that they last. The responsibility of dental hygiene starts with parents and gradually transfers to the child as they grow and mature, eventually taking ownership of their own dental health. 


Providing a Better Understanding of Dental Care 

One of the biggest benefits of partnering with parents is that we can better explain dental problems and the procedures required to correct them. We can use X-rays and other images to show cavities, places where plaque forms, and spots that are getting missed by brushing and flossing. We can point out orthodontic issues that may need to be addressed or other potential dental or oral health concerns. Any treatment or procedure we recommend can be carefully explained to both children and parents so that everyone understands what needs to be done. 


Establishing a Positive View of Dentistry 

Parents play an important role in helping children establish a positive view of going to the dentist. We have seen both positive and negative effects of parents’ influence on children’s opinions regarding dental care, and those opinions can become ingrained. If parents have a good attitude, children are more likely to develop the same good attitude. If parents are negative or use the dentist as a threat to get them to brush their teeth, it can have the opposite effect. When you talk to your child about going to the dentist, don’t talk about pain or anything that conjures fear. Use positive words to reassure your child that the dentist is there to help. 


Why Choose Pediatric Dental Care?

If the way we partner with parents sounds good to you, we welcome your children as new patients to our practice. Our doctors and staff establish a good rapport with children and their parents in order to build a solid foundation for a lifetime of dental health. 


To learn more, call 901-363-8192 today to schedule or request an appointment