What is Speech Therapy?

What is Speech Therapy?

The purpose of children seeing their family dentist in Bloomfield NJ is that the dentist will remove any built-up plaque, which is important in preventing tooth decay.  They also check the progress of your children’s teeth, which is especially critical when they’re losing and growing new teeth.  Another important reason that children have to visit their family dentist in Bloomfield NJ is so that they can evaluate their oral muscles.  If they have any problems with these muscles, they may have to go to speech therapy.


Speech therapy is the assessment and treatment of communication problems and speech disorders.  Speech therapy consists of two factors.  The first one focuses on coordinating the mouth to produce sounds to form words and sentences.  During this phase, the child works on articulation, fluency, and voice volume regulation.  The second phase of this process is concerned with understanding and expressing language.


Aside from verbal communication, there may be other reasons why your child may need speech therapy.  This includes swallowing disorders, in which the child has trouble swallowing.  When this happens, a professional will investigate why this is happening.  Some of the reasons include: problems with prenatal development of the structure in their mouth and throat, dental problems (such as an overbite), cleft lip, and oral sensitivity, to name a few.


It’s crucial that your child’s oral muscles are functioning as they should.  If not, they may face communication problems, swallowing disorders, or even breathing problems.  At Sparkles Dentistry for Children, we will happily make a referral to a Speech and Language Pathologist if your child needs an evaluation of their oral muscles.  If they require an evaluation of their  developmental needs, we also have a speech and language pathologist available.

Tips on How to Wear and Care for your Cloth Mask

Tips on How to Wear and Care for your Cloth Mask

It is crucial to wear a mask in public to help slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. It is required in schools and many business establishments.
These tips below are adapted from the CDC and Mayo Clinic guidance on how to wear and care for a cloth mask:
How to wear cloth face coverings?
Cloth face coverings should:
• Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
• Be secured with ties or ear loops.
• Include multiple layers of fabric.
• Allow for breathing without restriction.
• Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
How often should cloth face coverings be washed or otherwise cleaned?
Cloth face coverings should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use. Mayo Clinic recommends that cloth face coverings be washed after every day of use.
How do I store my cloth mask?
Masks should not be placed in pockets for later use. To store or transport, carefully fold the mask so the contaminated outside is folded inward and against itself. Place in clean or new paper bag, and perform hand hygiene.
How can I safely clean a cloth face covering?
Machine washing or hand washing should suffice to properly wash a cloth face covering with regular laundry detergent. Mayo Clinic recommends a ‘hot’ water temperature for washing face coverings.
How do I safely remove a used cloth face covering?
When removing a cloth face covering, be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth, and perform hand hygiene immediately after removing.
It is important to remember the efficacy of using a cloth face mask. Picking what you wear as a face covering makes a critical difference. Chin visors, T-shirt masks, neck gaiters and bandanas are simply not as effective and offer far less protection for you and others around you. Make the smart choice and pick wisely.
Here at Sparkles Dentistry, we hope that as we hear the latest positive cases in the news (even at the highest levels in our government), that we all take the right steps to make the appropriate mask choices for our public health nd safety.
Fun Toothbrush Ideas

Fun Toothbrush Ideas

As a parent, you should be concerned about helping your child have good hygiene; more specifically, good oral hygiene.  When they’re babies, the responsibility will be in your hands to brush and floss their teeth.  When they get a little older, however, they’ll take over the responsibility.  Although we can explain to our children how important it is to their health to brush their teeth, they may not truly understand how important it really is.

That being said, having good health may not motivate them to brush their teeth.  They may not even understand or want to do it themselves.  That’s why it’s good to give them motives to do so, such as choosing a super cool toothbrush that they’re excited to use.  Here are some of the toothbrushes that they can choose from.  (Related topics: family dentist Clifton NJ, family dentist Bloomfield NJ)


Different Types of Toothbrushes

  • Superheroes – There’s an abundance of kids toothbrushes with the most popular superheroes.
  • Movie Characters – You can easily find toothbrushes with the characters of newly released animated movies. When Frozen was released, for example, there were Elsa toothbrushes in every store.
  • Favorite Color – Some kids may not be interested in any characters, but just want a toothbrush in their favorite color.
  • Singing Toothbrush – Some toothbrushes have a button that will sing while your kid brushes their teeth. Not only is this fun for them, but the song lasts for 2 minutes.  This indicates to them when they can stop brushing their teeth.


These are just a couple of ideas, but let your child have fun with it!  If they don’t find the perfect one at the store, you can always look online for more options.  Our family dentist in Montclair NJ recommends making small changes like this to encourage your children to brush their teeth.  For more tips, call us to schedule an appointment with our family dentist in Montclair NJ.

How to Deal with a Loose Tooth

How to Deal with a Loose Tooth

Kids usually start growing in their first tooth at around 6 months old.  From there, their teeth continue to grow; most kids have a full mouth of teeth by age 3.  The next step that they’ll face is losing their baby teeth, which usually occurs between 5 to 7 years of age.  Don’t worry, though, if your child loses their first tooth at age 4, as it’s completely normal as well.  If this is your first child, or even your third, you may not know what exactly to do when your child’s teeth start to get loose.


For starters, we advise against forcing any teeth out.  We’ve all seen the video of kids tying their teeth to a string and attaching it to the door to yank it out.  It may be a funny joke in the movie, but it’s not good for your child’s teeth.  The best thing to do is to let them get loose naturally. Once they’re loose enough, they’ll come out easily; many times, they even fall out when your child is brushing their teeth.  When this happens, there may be a little blood, but there shouldn’t be a lot.  This process may agitate your child a little; you can ask your family dentist in Bloomfield NJ to recommend a pain-relieving medication.


If their tooth falls out because of an accident or injury, you should take them to your family dentist in Bloomfield NJ as soon as you can.  The family dentist in Clifton NJ will be able to check for any infections, while also examining if the permanent tooth was affected.


Once their first couple of teeth fall out, you’ll be a pro at the process.  Many parents choose to participate in the Tooth Fairy game, but it’s entirely up to you.  By the age of 12 or 13, your child will have 32 permanent teeth in their mouth.


Aside from their regular cleanings, it’s important that your family dentist in Bloomfield NJ checks the progress of your child’s teeth.  The family dentist in Clifton NJ will be able to identify whether or not the teeth are growing in as they should.

Foods That Are Secretly Bad For Your Child’s Teeth

Foods That Are Secretly Bad For Your Child’s Teeth

Tooth decay forms when bacteria breaks down the enamel in your teeth.  Most people have experienced this at some point in their life, especially when they were young.  The reason that kids are vulnerable to tooth decay is because they are not only learning how to maintain their hygiene, but their diet isn’t always the best.  Food and tooth decay are very closely related because acid is produced when the bacteria in their mouth breaks down sugar.  The acid then dissolves the tooth’s surface, beginning the first stage of tooth decay.

All things considered, it’s important that your child has a healthy and balanced diet.  We have all probably heard that we need to maintain their consumption of candy, ice cream, cake, and whatever other sugary foods that they eat.  Although it’s true, there are some other foods that you should be cautious of as well.  (Related topics: family dentist Bloomfield NJ, family dentist Montclair NJ)


Foods that are Bad for Your Child’s Teeth

  • Citrus Fruits – Citrus fruits have a lot of acidity, which is why you should be cautious of your child’s consumption of them. They’re a threat because the acid can erode tooth enamel.
  • Bread, Chips, and Pasta – Your child should brush their teeth after they eat starchy food. If they don’t, it will convert into sugar while it’s stuck in their teeth.
  • Ice – Some kids, and people, enjoy chewing on ice throughout the day. Although it won’t convert into sugar like starch, the hard surface can chip your child’s teeth.
  • Sports Drinks – Many parents get in the habit of giving their children sports drinks after their game or throughout the day. Although it’s considered a “healthy alternative”, these drinks are packed with sugar.
  • Dried Fruits – Dried fruits did a great job at marketing themselves as a healthy snack. When fresh fruits are dried out, though, they lose their water and other healthy nutrients, turning them into sugary, chewy snacks to get stuck in your child’s teeth.


All of the foods listed above are delicious; which is why we’re not expecting you to give them up completely! All we want is for you to recognize that if eaten in excess, they can negatively impact your child’s teeth.  Aside from having a balanced meal, make sure to visit our family dentist in Clifton NJ.  Our family dentist in Clifton NJ will deep clean your child’s teeth and also check for any early signs of tooth decay.

Back to School During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Tips to Keep the Calm at Home

Back to School During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Tips to Keep the Calm at Home

With school starting this week, parents and students will face the challenges of online learning once again. Learning and growing with the “new normal” is very important for both parents and students. It is also important to help children feel safe, keep healthy routines, manage their behavior and build resilience, according to Dr. Natasha Mathias, DMD.

Homeschooling experts and moms have come up with a few tips and tricks to help get this school year off to the best start including:

During online learning, students can add a social element by meeting in smaller groups outdoors (while practicing social distancing and wearing masks) to go over classwork or study new materials. This will allow students to see classmates and friends “in person” safely.
At home, keep children focused on their schoolwork by creating a specific study area. Decorate it together with your child to involve them in what their “office” will look and feel like. Assigning an area reserved for classwork can help prevent children from distractions.

It is important to keep a routine during online learning. Getting dressed, eating and brushing their teeth everyday can help to make it feel more like a school day rather than a day off.

Encouragement can also be a big help especially when dealing with new technology and resources.

Invest in a good headset for yourself and your child.

Expect your students to turn off their phones and put them in a designated place during school hours.Giving your tween and teen students a respite from their phones is also one of the best things you can do to support their ability to focus, according to Dr. Natasha Mathias, DMD, in addition to the following advice:

Organize a plan at the beginning of each day to develop a schedule for who needs dedicated quiet time (and when) as a good strategy.

Parents can try to schedule lunch breaks to coordinate with kids, when possible.

Interacting over a meal is a great way to reduce screen fatigue.

Lastly, she notes that parents’ attitudes will influence those of your children. Adopt a positive outlook in the morning, even if it seems impossible during these uncertain times.

Make building strong family relationships a priority. Reach out to neighbors, friends, and others in your community to check in, offer support, and connect virtually. We will get through this together.

Getting Your Child Excited About Brushing Their Teeth

Getting Your Child Excited About Brushing Their Teeth

Not all kids get super excited about brushing their teeth. There’s different reasons why this may happen: it hurts their teeth to brush them, they don’t like the taste of their toothpaste, or they simply get bored. Although two minutes doesn’t seem like a long time to us, it does to children, which is why they may be trying to skip out on their routine. Even if they don’t want to, though, it’s your responsibility to make sure that they do. Our pediatric dentist in West Orange, NJ has put together a couple of ideas to get your child excited about brushing their teeth. (Related topics: pediatric dentist West Orange, NJ, family dentist Clifton NJ)

Let them Choose Their Toothbrush

This may seem insignificant, but letting them choose the toothbrush with their favorite character can make a huge difference! In today’s world, you can find all kinds of cool toothbrushes. Some of them come with sticker kits, light up, or even play music for two minutes. To make it even more enjoyable, let them choose the flavor of their toothpaste; they come in mint, bubble gum, or even fruity flavors.

Make it Fun

Brushing their teeth needs to be done accurately, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t have some fun as well! You can brush your teeth with them, play their favorite song, and even make funny faces in the mirror together.

Sing Songs

Parents have reported that singing songs to their children have helped them to stay focused on brushing their teeth. To do this, pick a song that lasts around 2 minutes. Next, sing it every day to them while they brush their teeth. This may not make a difference the first couple of times that they brush their teeth, but eventually they’ll get used to it. They’ll even be able to understand how much more time they need to brush their teeth depending on where you’re at in the song.

Brushing your child’s teeth doesn’t have to be boring! At Sparkles Dentistry for Children, our family dentists in Bloomfield NJ want your kid to enjoy brushing their teeth. If you need more advice on how to maintain your child’s oral hygiene, contact our family dentist in Bloomfield NJ.

How to Care for Your Child’s Teeth

How to Care for Your Child’s Teeth

When your children are young, keeping them healthy should be your top priority. One of the ways that you can do so is by maintaining their oral hygiene. This is important, as oral complications can lead to other health issues. Before a person has their first child, they probably don’t think too much into how they need to maintain their child’s oral hygiene. All they have to do is brush their teeth, right? Of course this is a part of it, but they also have to consider how they can keep their teeth clean before they have their permanent teeth. (Related topics: family dentist Clifton NJ, family dentist Bloomfield NJ)

To clean their mouth before they have any teeth, you can sit on a chair or sofa and have your child lay their head in your lap. Once they’re comfortable, place a gauze pad or soft cloth over your fingers. Dip the cloth in water so that it gets damp but not soaking wet. Next, all you have to do is wipe their teeth and gums gently. When you do this, it’s super important that you use a clean gauze. If you don’t, it could lead to an infection.

When your child’s teeth start to come in, you can start using a toothbrush. To prevent any irritation, use a small, soft toothbrush. At this stage, it’s not necessary to use toothpaste, but some people choose to use fluoride toothpaste. When their teeth start to touch, additionally, this is when you’ll know that it’s time to start flossing. This is important because it cleans plaque out of places that their toothbrush can’t reach.

Eventually, your child will start brushing their own teeth. It’s recommended that you monitor their routine until they are at least 8 years old. This way, you can help them make any improvements to their routine.

Another way to take care of their teeth is by seeing a pediatric dentist in West Orange, NJ every 6 months. Not only will the pediatric dentist in West Orange, NJ deep clean their teeth, but they will monitor the growth of their teeth as well. This is important, as the pediatric dentist in West Orange, NJ can identify if their teeth are crowded, growing in sideways, or any other possible complications.

How to Keep Your Child’s Teeth White

How to Keep Your Child’s Teeth White

Everyone knows that first impressions are very important. Although looks aren’t everything, someone can look at another person and instantly be able to know more about their personality. Do they like bright, colorful clothes? Do their shirts have superheroes all over them? Additionally, a smile says a lot about a person. For that reason, you should aim to keep your children’s teeth white. Although they may not care about how white their teeth are right now, they’ll thank you in the future. To better understand how to keep their teeth white, you should know what causes yellow teeth and how to prevent it. (Related topics: pediatric dentist West Orange, NJ, family dentist Bloomfield NJ)


A big part of teeth’s appearance has to do with the enamel. This is the exterior of the tooth, so it’s often stained by too much soda or sweets. This damage isn’t permanent; it can be recovered from whitening treatments and maintaining a good oral hygiene routine. The dentins, on the other hand, is the interior of the tooth and age just like the rest of the body. If the dentin gets discolored, it’s nearly impossible to reverse. The only way to prevent it is by brushing and flossing and seeing your family dentist in Clifton NJ every 6 months. This is why it’s so important to maintain their teeth at a young age.

How to Prevent Premature Yellowing

As mentioned, you can prevent this by maintaining their oral hygiene routine. Your next priority should be protecting the dentin. One way to protect them is by making sure that your child doesn’t grind their teeth, as this can wear down their teeth. In addition, a poor diet, not eating enough, and taking certain medications can speed up the aging of their dentin.

Kids will be kids; they’re going to eat sweet, sticky foods. And that’s totally okay! They can still have a beautiful white smile as long as they have balanced diet, maintain their oral hygiene, and see a family dentist in Clifton NJ every 6 months.

Oral Complications Caused By Teeth Grinding

Oral Complications Caused By Teeth Grinding

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to take care of your child’s health. This is done by getting regular check-ups, maintaining their oral hygiene routine, ad offering them a healthy diet, to name a few.  Even if you’re doing all of these things, though, your child may have habits that aren’t beneficial to their health.  One of those habits could be bruxism, otherwise known as teeth grinding.  This is a bad habit as it can cause oral complications; this article explores why it is damaging and the different reasons why your child might be grinding their teeth.  (Related topics: family dentist in Bloomfield NJ)

Oral Complications

Continuous teeth grinding can cause fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth; or it may wear down the teeth.  When this happens, bridges, crowns, root canals, or even dental implants may be needed.  Although this may seem extreme, it’s important that your child stops this habit as soon as possible, as it can causes these complications when they’re older.

Common Causes

  • Stress – One of the main reasons that people grind their teeth is due to stress or anxiety. If this is the case for your child, you should try to find healthy ways to relieve their stress.  Sometimes it’s as simple as getting your child to exercise more; other times, they may benefit from counseling if their stress levels are very high.
  • Grinding During Sleep – Your child may also be grinding their teeth while they’re sleeping. This could be because they have an abnormal bite or crooked teeth.  If your child is old enough, your family dentist in Clifton NJ may suggest braces.  If they’re not ready for braces, there are also mouth guards that the pediatric dentist in West Orange, NJ can make to fit your child’s teeth perfectly.  This will stop them from grinding their teeth at night.

If your child keeps grinding their teeth, you should visit your pediatric dentist in West Orange, NJ.  Your family dentist in Clifton NJ will be able to offer treatment options and advice.