What do your teeth say about you?

Thank you to our guest blogger, Monica Gomez, for this blog!

Developing Good Dental Habits from an Early Age

We have greatly enjoyed developing our practice serving younger patients and those with special needs. It is exciting that so many new techniques and procedures allow us to make such a difference in the lives of our patients. In our practice, we stress the importance of good habits when it comes to great dental health and beautiful smiles.

The reality is that there is an increased social expectation for people today to have great smiles and healthy teeth. Starting good dental habits from an early age will have lifelong positive effects in children. The following infographic compiled by Carrington.edu illustrates some of the reasons why proper dental hygiene is so important.

dental-care-chartMore Than Pretty Smiles

Your dental health, and that of your children, is a very important factor in your overall physical health. In fact, the Mayo Clinic stresses just how important regular dental visits are as a part of your child’s preventative health program.

The information outlined by the infographic shows us that at least 51 million school hours are invested in the dental needs of children each year. It also shows that adults spend another 164 million hours in the dental chair annually. Dental professionals often speculate on how many of those hours could be reduced if good dental hygiene habits were instilled in more people at an early age.

Simple Steps with Important Benefits

While most people understand the importance of brushing, flossing, and regular exams, they may not full appreciate how their drinking and eating habits can affect their smile. The infographic, for example, shows how certain foods and beverages can rob you of that beautiful smile.

Proven villains to a brilliant smile include:

  • Coffee
  • Colas
  • Wine
  • Candy
  • Berries

While you don’t need to avoid these items altogether, you can mitigate their damage on your teeth by swallowing rapidly and quickly rinsing your mouth with water. Another useful trick is using a straw whenever possible. One counterintuitive point is to avoid damage from the acids in these foods by not brushing for at least 30 to 60 minutes after eating.

When Treatment Is Necessary

The costs for ignoring these important habits can be significant. The analysis provided by Carrington shows that important dental procedures are not inexpensive. The average national costs for some of the more important treatments include:

  • Dental implants – $2,000 to $4,000
  • Veneers – $ 10,000 to $30,000
  • Braces – $5,000

We are always concerned about keeping appropriate dental care affordable. It is important to note, though, that dental procedures are an investment that generates an attractive return for a lifetime. Numerous surveys underline how important a good smile is to overall appearance and your child’s self-esteem, as well as general physical health. Develop the right dental health habits early and it will likely save a great deal of time and investment in the future.

Appointments Available

Dear Patients and Parents:

I am excited to announce that I will be seeing patients by appointment 1 weekend per month at the Tribeca location.  Check back here for updates.



November 21, 22:  booked – no longer available

December 19, 20 – booked – no longer available


January 30, 31 – booked – no longer available

March 20, 21 – tentative 


Appointments can be scheduled at 212-561-5303.

Looking forward to seeing you soon!



Big Hero 6

If you saw the Disney movie Big Hero 6 then you know its only a matter of time before robots may be guiding our children through anxious medical and dental treatments.  We already utilize technology in the dental office in the form of cartoons and movies as distraction.  A new robot has been designed specifically to help children manage pain and painful medical treatments.


Dr. Tanya Beran, Chief Scientific Officer for RxRobots™ and Professor in Community Health
Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine,
University of Calgary observed an experiment of a teenage boy interacting with a robot. Not only did he show empathy, but he also tried to help the robot.
Not knowing why and with little in the research to explain this behavior, she started her own. Dr. Beran was shocked to find that children tend to think that robots are alive.
While working in hospitals, Dr. Beran was alarmed to see children screaming, struggling, and pleading not to have a needle. She realized these procedures need to be easier, faster, and far less painful.

“MEDi will become an essential part of the dental team of every dental office”

Results from a randomized trial, published in the June 2013 issue of the Vaccine journal, showed that MEDi helped calm children and reduce their pain by 50 percent during medical procedures, such as vaccinations, using cognitive-behavioral intervention. Comparable results are now being gathered by a dental office in New Jersey.

The dental team has been utilizing MEDi for about five months now and reports overall positive experiences. MEDi is constantly in the active mode allowing children to interact with him immediately and continually upon entering the dental operatory. MEDi distracts the children, reducing their initial anxiety and fear. They listen to the MEDi’s instructions, which allows the rest of the dental team to move forward faster and more seamlessly with their work with a more compliant patient.






Thank you New York


Dear Parents and Patients,

It has been my pleasure to serve as your pediatric dentist in New York.  It is with a heavy heart that I announce I am leaving the state.  I have family obligations that I need to tend to out West.  It is my hope to someday return to New York and the city that I love.  Thank you to all the families that have sent me well-wishes and photographs in the past few weeks.  I cannot properly describe my gratitude.  I will miss you dearly.  Each of you has touched my life in a special way.  Your records will be maintained in Tribeca and several new pediatric dentists have joined the team in my absence.  You may reach me at any time now or in the future:  hensondds@gmail.com.

Thank you,

Dr. G



Juice vs. Soda?


If you’re a parent, you’re probably already wary of giving your kids sugary soda—but what about such popular kids’ favorites dubiously labeled “fruit drinks”?

With more added sugar on average than any other beverage, soda is no doubt deserving of its public health enemy No. 1 status. It’s a prime source of the sort of empty calories that have been linked to the epidemic of childhood obesity and related ills. In the past few months, news broke that Burger King had become the last of the big three burger chains to drop soda from its kids’ meals.

when it comes to other popular kids’ drinks, studies find that parents are often deceived into believing they are healthier than soda—or just healthy in general

In an online survey of nearly 1,000 parents, researchers at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut found that while 62 percent of parents said they had given their kids soda at least once in the past month, nearly 80 percent had provided ‘fruit drinks’ a category that excludes beverages made from 100 percent fruit juice. That’s despite well over half of the respondents saying they were either somewhat or very concerned about the amount of sugar their kids consume.

How to explain the discrepancy? As one of the study’s authors put it, “Although most parents know that soda is not good for children, many still believe that other drinks are healthy. The labeling and marketing for these products imply that they are nutritious, and these misperceptions may explain why so many parents buy them.”

Think about it: If Sunny D touted the 11 grams of sugar in each 6.75-ounce bottle instead of “100% Vitamin C,” you’d probably think twice about buying it for your kids. Ditto for those Hi-C juice boxes, which likewise give top billing to the vitamin C content while burying that they contain a whopping 25 grams of sugar per box.  But what about organic?  Remember, its the sugar that is organic (without pesticides) which does not mean there is less sugar per serving.

There is, rather amazingly, more sugar in every ounce of Hi-C fruit punch than regular Coke, while a single pouch of Capri Sun fruit punch packs as much sugar as the American Heart Association recommends preschoolers consume in an entire day.

Kid-sports-drinkWorse yet are sports drinks. And while parents of toddlers probably aren’t packing their kids off to daycare with a pouch of Gatorade, plenty of parents of adolescents seem to think their budding athletes will perform that much better on the field if they’re hopped up on electrolytes. But any extra energy is likely to come from another source: Sports drinks often contain even more sugar per ounce than soda. A single 4-ounce pouch of Gatorade Prime (marketed as an energy booster) contains 23 grams of sugar, even as the AHA recommends teenagers limit their sugar intake to just 21–33 grams per day. Not to mention the artificial colors!

So what should kids be drinking instead? Echoing the advice of public health advocates, pediatric dentists recommend sticking to WATER and low-fat/skim milk. The more health messages on the front of the package, the less healthy the product is!  Despite its good protein content, check the sugar content of Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry milk too.  You’ll be surprised that ounce per ounce, there is as much sugar in a popular “kids vanilla milk” as there is in a can of soda.

We want children to value the taste of water, not become addicted to sweet drinks.  Save your money on juice boxes, pouches and drinks.  Tap water is best for the body and the mind!

The take home message?

Eat your fruits, don’t drink them!  

To chew or not to chew…

Chewing Gum Eliminates about 100 Million Bacteria in 10 Minutes


Chewing gum can help improve oral health, latest research suggests.

 A team of researchers from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands found that chewing of gum trapped bacteria. They expected that regular use of chewing gum can help lower bacterial load in oral cavity. Chewing gum helped eliminate about 100 million oral bacteria in ten minutes.

“Assuming a volume of saliva of around 1ml in the oral cavity, our results indicate that chewing of one piece of gum removes around 10% of the oral microbial load in saliva,” the authors concluded.

As part of the study, five people – one man and four women – aged between 27 and 56, from the department of biomedical engineering were asked to chew two types of spearmint chewing gum once in a day for different durations – 0.5, 1, 3, 5 and 10 minutes. The gum was then dipped in 10ml sterile water and placed in Teflon mold.

Scanning-electron-microscopy was used to view the bacteria trapped inside the gums. Different methods were used to calculate the total number of bacteria trapped in the gums.

However, don’t get carried away!  Chewing gum is an adjunct not a replacement for good hygiene practices.


Breaking the Habit

Cold Turkey: How to Convince Toddlers It’s Time to Part from the Pacifier

Tips on weaning your child from the pacifier, including different approaches that can reduce stress for both kids and parents when trying to “ban the binky!”

By AAPD President Dr. Ed Moody

Many parents are thankful for the invention of pacifiers that can help calm and soothe fussy babies. Infants often use a pacifier or suck on a thumb for comfort, security or simply as a method to make contact with the world. In fact, some babies begin to suck on their fingers or thumbs even before they are born! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends a pacifier over a thumb to comfort new babies since a pacifier habit is easier to break at an earlier age.

Why does this matter?AAPD_PacifierWeaning_10.24

The sucking reflex is completely normal and many children will stop sucking on thumbs, pacifiers or other objects on their own between 2 and 4 years of age.  Frequent pacifier use over a longer period of time can affect the way a child’s teeth bite together and the growth of the jaw. The upper teeth may tip outward or become crooked and other changes in tooth position or jaw alignment could occur. Intervention may be recommended for children beyond 3 years of age. The earlier a child can stop a sucking habit, the less chance there is that it will lead to orthodontic problems down the road.

My child won’t give up their pacifier – what do I do?

Some parents swear by cold turkey, while others have gradually weaned their children off pacifiers. Below are some techniques that will help your infant give up the Binky for good. But no matter which route you take, remember that as the experts in little teeth, pediatric dentists will be an invaluable resource for guidance and recommendations on the best approach to quit the pacifier.

Ask your pediatric dentist

A pediatric dentist can assist in encouraging children to stop a sucking habit and discuss each child’s particular situation. This, along with support from parents and caregivers, helps many children quit their pacifier and thumb-sucking habits. If your child needs further encouragement, pediatric dentists can also recommend behavior modification techniques to persuade children to quit the pacifier for good.

Offer an alternative

What causes your child to cry out for their beloved Binky? Once you’ve identified which situations trigger your child’s desire for a pacifier, be ready to replace it with comfort and reassurance. It can be helpful to swap out the pacifier with a transitional object such as a cuddly doll or stuffed toy. Additionally, distracting your child with a fun activity can help take their mind off the desired Binky. Be sure to offer positive reinforcement and praise when your child sleeps through the night or self-soothes without his pacifier.

Time to get creative

If you’re still running into roadblocks, it’s time to put a creative spin on the “bye-bye Binky” process. One idea is to take your child and pacifier to the store to pick out a new toy to replace their pacifier. There are many experienced store clerks who are used to this trick and are willing to play along when your child “trades in” the pacifier for a new toy of her choosing. Other parents have thrown a “Goodbye Binky” party, set out the pacifier for the Binky Fairy or donated the Binky to children who need it.

Use a countdown

If your child is resisting the idea of losing his or her pacifier, try making the process into a game. Similar to the graphic shown on this page, create a countdown game where you tell the child that over the next three to four weeks Binky will be shrinking. The first week, cut a very small hole in the top of the pacifier. Be careful to make clean cuts that do not leave any part of the pacifier hanging which could break off in your child’s mouth. Continue to cut a portion of Binky off each week until there is no longer anything left for your child to suck on. This is a great way to separate your child’s association from someone taking the pacifier away to the pacifier just breaking on its own. At the end, you can tell your child it’s time to bid Binky bye-bye.

Timing is key

Whether you decide to gradually wean or go cold turkey, make sure to time it right. Try not to take away the pacifier during life changes, major transitions or traveling so as not to put further stress on the process. Once you’ve made the plan to ditch the pacifier, make sure all caregivers are on board and stick with it! If you choose to gradually remove the pacifier, try limiting use to nap time and bed time at first. Or, let your child use the pacifier for short periods of time if you feel he particularly needs it, and gradually shorten the frequency and length of time the pacifier is used.

If you decide to go cold turkey, be sure to collect all pacifiers around the house – the last thing you need is your little one finding a pacifier the week after she gave it up and going back to square one! If you need additional ideas on how to wean your child off the pacifier be sure to ask your pediatric dentist or visit mychildrensteeth.org for further tips and a pediatric dentist locator to find a pediatric dentist near you.

Making dentistry affordable

Many of my patients are fortunate enough to have dental insurance coverage or the ability to pay for necessary dental check-ups and treatment.  But what about the children without this option?  As the Director of Pediatric Dentistry for an inner-city hospital, I see the impact of affordable programs such as CHIP.  Keeping dental insurance affordable for families changes lives, but these programs are at risk of loosing funding.

CHIP provides affordable coverage to families

The fate of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) hangs in the balance and with it so does access to dental coverage for millions of children. As CDHP has previously reported, funding for CHIP runs out on September 30, 2015 unless Congress takes action. If CHIP funding is not extended, many families will be offered coverage through the new health insurance marketplaces, which present a number of challenges for children’s dental benefits. A new report suggests that families currently in CHIP may face dramatic increases in health costs if the program were discontinued.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released an analysis that provides more insight into the differences in affordability between CHIP and marketplace coverage. The report, developed by Wakely Consulting Group, focuses on the actuarial value of CHIP benefits compared to marketplace qualified health plans (QHPs) across 35 states. Families would face a significant increase in cost-sharing if their children’s medical/dental coverage were moved from CHIP into a QHP today.

The analysis estimates that families’ cost-sharing could increase by up to 10 times what they pay out-of-pocket under CHIP. In fact, at this time, no CHIP program comes close to imposing the level of cost-sharing that families can experience in marketplace plans.

Marketplace insurance plans are more likely to require co-pays and other cost-sharing for dental services compared to CHIP coverage.

The report also separately analyzes how the two coverage options compare with regard to pediatric dental benefits. About 40% of the QHPs analyzed include dental coverage for children. The remaining 60% would require families to purchase pediatric dental coverage independent of their QHP — at an average of more than $30 per child, per month. The report further found that marketplace plans are more likely to require cost-sharing for dental services (copays, coinsurance and deductibles) compared to CHIP coverage, which caps child health expenses at 5% of family income.

CDHP remains committed to working with Congress to extend funding for CHIP until marketplace coverage becomes comparably affordable for low-income families. We will continue to share updates on our activities and the movement in Congress on the future of CHIP funding.


Impact Of Sugar On Tooth Decay Remains A Major Health Concern http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-sugar-image18751962

Sugar intake has effects on diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, but according to the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK), it is important that the effect of sugar intake on tooth decay is also considered. Earlier this year, a 60-year period systematic review undertaken on behalf of the WHO [World Health Organization] has shown an association between the amount of sugar consumed and the development of dental cavities.

Sugar acts like a drug when trying to quit it. It causes withdrawals and cravings like a drug.  That’s sugar in all its forms: Sucrose-refined white sugar; brown sugar; organic evaporated cane juice; and many others. It definitely includes high fructose corn syrup.

The FGDP has joined hands with other organizations concerned with the effects of sugar on health. Their aim is to see added sugar to contribute to only 5% of total energy intake which is in line with the advice given by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. One major aim is to reach a consensus among food and drink manufacturers to slowly decrease the amount of added sugars in beverages and processed foods. Processed foods and beverages being a part of modern diet, steps to reduce the amount of sugars in such foods will bring overall benefits not limited to teeth alone.