Skip to main content


10 Fun Ways to Incorporate Halloween into Your Kids’ Brushing and Flossing Routine

By Blog

It’s Halloween season and no doubt, your kids are extra excited about trick-or-treating. But, as a parent, you might be thinking about how to level up your kids’ oral hygiene to tackle all those extra sugar bugs. The Innovative Pediatric Dentistry team loves to make dental care fun so here, 10 spooktacular ideas for incorporating Halloween into brushing and flossing at home.

  1. Toothbrush And Costume Twinsies

The dental care aisle is chock-a-block full of kids’ toothbrushes. Take a look and see if there’s one that matches your kid’s costume: superhero, princess, cartoon character, monster… there might be one that complements what they’ll be wearing.

  1. Candy-Flavored Toothpaste

If they don’t use a sweet-flavored one already, switch up your kids’ toothpaste with a flavor that’s candy-inspired. Try one like this blue raspberry and sparkle fluoride toothpaste which gets its sweetness from xylitol (which is good for teeth) and stevia. 

  1. Creepy Flossers

Kids don’t always have the best flossing habits. Understandable, since flossing can be tricky to get the hang of, especially for younger kids. But this Halloween, your kids just might sink their teeth into flossing with these creepy, black flossers. Flossers are easier to handle than a traditional string of floss and make a great intro to this necessary dental hygiene habit.

By the way, your Naperville pediatric dentists at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry are happy to show your child the best ways to floss. Our comprehensive care includes educating our patients and their families for the best at-home habits between visits. Let us know if you need some pointers from the pros!

  1. Sweet Treat Mouthwash

Surprise your kids with a mouthwash that tastes like a sweet treat: this bubble fruit fluoride mouthwash has a yummy bubble gum flavor that will help clean away lingering bacteria after brushing and flossing.

  1. Halloween Brushing Playlist

Brush and floss to kid-friendly Halloween classics like “Monster Mash” or “Ghostbusters.” Two minutes of brushing will fly by with a spooky soundtrack! 

  1. Haunted Timer

Another way to get kids to brush their teeth for two minutes? A scary sound timer! Ghostly whispers, witch cackles, and creaking doors will make brushing and flossing a new experience.

  1. Spook-tacular Stickers

Stickers? Kids love’em. Reward your kids with halloween stickers to put on a sticker chart when they complete their daily oral hygiene. Or get window clings they can stick to the bathroom mirror where they brush their teeth. Once your kids reach their goals, reward them with non-sugary treats like a small toy or an activity they’ve been wanting to do.

  1. Bewitched Toothbrush Holder

How about a Halloween-themed toothbrush and toothpaste holder? Find a witch’s cauldron to stir up some brushing and flossing excitement. Or a jack-o-lantern-looking cup or container. Or maybe a fun Halloween-themed mug or plastic cup.

  1. A Haunted Setting

Turn the bathroom into a spidery scene! Stretch fake spider webbing across the mirror and lights, hange plastic creepy crawlies from the ceiling, and stick ghoulish window clings to the mirror, window or glass surfaces for haunted house oral hygiene.

  1. Stop By Our Super Mario Bros Spooktacular

We’re joining downtown Naperville’s Halloween Hop! Come down to the Main Street Promenade on Saturday, October 29 from 10:00am – 12:00pm for our Super Mario Bros Spooktacular. Enjoy a meet and greet with Princess Peach and Bowser, strike your best poses for photos and indulge in sweet treats. We’ve got swag bags and candy to take home, too.

Award-Winning Pediatric Dentistry in Naperville, IL

The Innovative Pediatric Dentistry team wants your kids to both enjoy Halloween and maintain great oral health. And after all the extra fun Halloween brushing and flossing, don’t forget to continue that focus on healthy teeth. 

Schedule your child’s next checkup and cleaning with your Naperville pediatric dentist. Our award-winning, advanced and gentle care will bring out the best in your kid’s smile. Naperville families love and trust us — we’re humbled to say we won “Best Dental Practice” again this year from Naperville Magazine’s Best of Naperville.

After-School Snack Ideas for Kids and Teens

Smart Snacking for Strong Teeth: After-School Snack Ideas for Kids and Teens

By Blog

After-School Snack Ideas for Kids and Teens

Ever wonder how to keep your kid’s teeth healthy and strong, while also tackling the afternoon hunger pangs? Well, say goodbye to cavity-causing sugary snacks and hello to nutrient-rich options that support better oral health. Our Naperville pediatric dentists are sharing after-school snack ideas that are full of minerals and vitamins for the teeth and gums. 

Sliced Apples and Peanut Butter

When it comes to foods that are good for teeth, apples always make the list. They’re crunchy and high in water content, which means they naturally clean the teeth as kids eat. Pair them with some peanut butter, which has protein and healthy fats, and you’ve got yourself a winning combo.

Kid-Friendly Snack Plate

Do a play on charcuterie with string cheese or cheese cubes, turkey slices and some grapes. Cheese is rich in calcium, crucial for strong teeth. Plus, turkey’s a lean protein and is high in phosphorus, which teams up with calcium to create the main structural component of the bones and enamel

Smoothie With Greek Yogurt, Frozen Fruit, Almond Milk

Smoothies not only contain vitamins for teeth and gum health, but the liquid also rinses off the teeth easily. Since the longer food sits on the enamel, the more damage it does, this is a big bonus. For a smile-friendly smoothie, blend Greek yogurt, frozen berries, almond milk and an optional scoop of protein powder. 

Greek yogurt is rich in calcium, which we’ve established is important for keeping kids’ teeth strong. It also contains probiotics that balance the good bacteria in the mouth. The berries deliver antioxidants, which have a protective effect on gum tissue, while the protein from the powder fuels growing smiles. 

A Banana and Walnuts

A handful of walnuts and a banana contain a satiating mix of carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein. Walnuts are full of nutrients that are integral for oral health, including phosphorus, iron and omega-3s. The act of eating crunchy walnuts removes a bit of plaque and any lingering banana.

Celery Sticks With Cream Cheese

Think of celery as nature’s dental floss. Its stringy, fibrous texture helps to clean between teeth. Slather on some cream cheese for a smooth and satisfying flavor contrast that isn’t high in sugar.

Carrot Sticks and Hummus

Carrots are one of the best healthy foods for kids’ teeth because they contain enamel-strengthening vitamin A and plaque bacteria-fighting keratin. The crunchy texture stimulates saliva production, which neutralizes acids in the mouth. Dipping the carrots in hummus brings protein and healthy fats into the mix.

Sweet Potato Fries

Oven-baked sweet potato fries are filling and, like carrots, high in vitamin A. This makes them an excellent healthy snack idea for both the teeth and gums. Sprinkle them with a pinch of salt and cinnamon for an after-school treat. 

Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumber Slices and Feta Cheese Balls

Talk about a colorful plate! Cherry tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, cucumbers add saliva-promoting crunch, and feta offers the calcium teeth need. It’s a delicious trifecta of nutrients for dental health.

Hard-Boiled Eggs with a Whole-Grain Mini Bagel

Hard-boiled eggs are a fantastic source of protein and essential nutrients, including smile-friendly phosphorus and vitamins D and K. While starchy foods like bagels are best enjoyed in moderation, choosing a whole grain, snack-sized variety and pairing it with protein offers a good balance. 

Nutrition is One Piece of the Oral Health Puzzle

Incorporating these types of foods into after-school snacks and meals can reduce your child’s risk of cavities and gum disease. When combined with diligent brushing and flossing and routine dental cleanings and exams, healthy eating plays an important role in helping kids maintain healthy teeth. 

Looking for a pediatric dentist in Naperville to round out your preventive care plan? Schedule a visit for your child at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry. Our expert dentists and friendly team will work with you to bring out the best in your kiddo’s smile.

The Creative Way Innovative Pediatric Dentistry Helps Reduce Dental Anxiety in Kids

By Blog

The Creative Way Innovative Pediatric Dentistry Helps Reduce Dental Anxiety in Kids

Naperville, IL – August 28th, 2023: For kids, a fun and welcoming environment goes a long way in making dental visits something to look forward to. That’s why Innovative Pediatric Dentistry invited local mural artist Ken Markiewicz of Crayons Gone Wild to turn their office into a series of vibrant, themed rooms featuring beloved children’s characters.

As a winner of Naperville’s Best Dentist for 15 consecutive years, this beloved pediatric dentistry team knows what the ultimate kid-friendly practice should look and feel like. Leveling up their outstanding service once again, kids and their families who visit will find themselves in awe of four bright and exciting murals.

Super Mario & Friends

The first highlight is an immersive Super Mario World scene featuring Mario, Luigi and other iconic characters from the Mushroom Kingdom. Kids will have such a blast looking for their favorite characters, they’ll be in great spirits once it’s their turn for a check-up.

The Superhero Room

Three treatment rooms have each been transformed with a distinct and dynamic theme geared just for kids. Patients obsessed with superheroes will love the Superhero Room featuring the likes of Spiderman, Batman, and the Incredible Hulk. It’s an inspiration scene to help kids embrace their inner heroes and feel more confident about their visits, even help calm the dental anxiety some kids tend to feel.

The Princess Room

Aspiring princesses will be transported into a world of royalty and enchantment in the Princess themed treatment room. Anna and Elsa from Frozen, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and Cinderella greet patients in a delightful scene designed to empower and uplift patients with the message that they have the magic inside them to do great things, even things they’re nervous about like going to the dentist.

The Adventure Room

The third themed room features the brave and the bold. The Adventure Room sparks curiosity and courage, inviting young explorers to follow the lead of Clifford, Paw Patrol, and Dora the Explorer and have fun doing it.

About Innovative Pediatric Dentistry

At Innovative Pediatric Dentistry, dental treatment is far from boring. Naperville’s award-winning pediatric dentists go the extra mile to make dental care fun, exciting, and anxiety-free. Plus, their warm and inviting office is safe and comfortable, right from the very first visit

As a pediatric dental practice, the team is specially trained to care for children’s developing mouths, with tricks and techniques to guarantee kids visit and leave the dentist with smiles on their faces.


Innovative Pediatric Dentistry

  2. 630-848-7336


My Child’s Teeth are Coming in Crooked! Will They Straighten Out?

By Blog

Crooked Teeth

Your child’s life is full of milestones that you as a parent carefully monitor (and celebrate!) at every turn. Included in those occasions? When those baby and permanent teeth start coming in. But what if your child’s teeth are coming in crooked? Should you be worried? And what should you do about it?

At Innovative Pediatric Dentistry, we want to help you understand your child’s oral development at every step of the way — so you can feel confident you’re making the best decisions for their teeth. So in this post, let’s talk about both baby and adult teeth coming in crooked, find out if they’re a problem, and what you can do about it.

Baby Teeth Coming in Crooked — Are They A Problem?

The good news? In most cases, if your child’s baby’s teeth are coming in crooked, you don’t have to worry too much about it. As you know, kids grow and change really quickly, so when it comes to their oral development, their mouth and jaw changes a lot, especially in their early years between 3-6 years old. 

Will crooked baby teeth straighten out? Slightly crooked baby teeth can straighten out over time, and the permanent teeth that take their places might just erupt perfectly okay, even if the baby teeth were slightly crooked or crowded. 

When Crooked Baby Teeth Might Be A Cause For Concern

We should mention, though, that extremely crooked baby teeth might be problematic. If you notice that your child’s baby teeth look severely overcrowded, misaligned, or out of place, these might contribute to problems like speech issues, trouble chewing properly, or difficulty with cleaning that leads to a higher risk of tooth decay. Missing baby teeth or too many baby teeth may also be cause for concern.

Of course, your Innovative Pediatric Dentistry team will keep a close watch on your child’s oral development when you visit every six months. If there’s anything to worry about over your kids crooked baby teeth, rest assured we’ll spot it sooner than later and provide recommendations for treatment.

What Causes Crooked Baby Teeth?

Baby teeth come in crooked for a number of reasons; the most common include:

Genetics: If you or your partner have crooked teeth, there’s a higher chance your child may also have misaligned teeth. 

Prolonged Baby Habits Like Thumbsucking: Thumb sucking, pacifier use, or other oral habits that carry on too long can impact the alignment of baby teeth. These habits can put pressure on the developing jaw and contribute to your child’s baby teeth coming in crooked — like front teeth that stick out or an underbite. If you notice that your preschool child is still relying on these habits to self soothe, visit your Naperville pediatric dentists at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry. We’ll gently examine your child’s baby teeth and provide habit breaking strategies for helping your little one stop thumbsucking or using their pacifier.

Lack of Space: Sometimes baby teeth come in crooked because of lack of space in your child’s mouth. This can be a result of factors like crowded teeth or a smaller jaw size. In these cases, we again suggest you come in to see your board-certified Naperville pediatric dentist. We can assess your child’s teeth and provide the right guidance, whether that’s a “wait and see” approach, or recommendations for early orthodontic treatment with our expert orthodontists at Innovative Orthodontic Centers.

How About Adult Teeth Coming in Crooked?

Around age six or seven, you’ll notice your child’s baby teeth starting to fall out and their adult teeth coming in. But what if those permanent teeth are coming in crooked? Unlike baby teeth, adult teeth are here to stay, so if they’re crooked, they typically don’t straighten themselves. As a result, your child may experience issues with pronunciation, chewing and biting, or maintaining good oral health. Adult teeth coming in crooked can also affect your child’s self esteem, both when they’re young and when they’re older. Crooked adult teeth may also be a sign that your child’s jaw is too small, which can contribute to mouth breathing or teeth grinding.

Fortunately, orthodontic treatment helps straighten adult teeth and align your child’s bite, setting them up for success when it comes to great oral functioning, dental health, and overall well-being. And for our young patients at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry, coordinating orthodontic care comes easy since our expert, board-certified orthodontists at Innovative Orthodontic Centers are under the same roof.

Checking Up on Crooked Teeth With Your Chicagoland-Area Pediatric Dentist

As mentioned, kids’ crooked teeth can either be nothing to worry about or a cause of concern, depending on if they’re baby teeth, adult teeth, and the severity of your child’s case. When in doubt, come visit us at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry for a comprehensive exam by a compassionate team. And our bright, fun, kid-friendly environment and high tech approach helps kids feel comfortable at every visit.

5 Things to Know About Dental Hypoplasia in Kids

By Blog

We know you want your kids to have the healthiest teeth possible. But even with the best oral hygiene routine and nutritious food, an issue like dental hypoplasia can weaken their teeth, making them more susceptible to damage and tooth decay. In fact, one study found that teeth with enamel issues like hypoplasia are three times more likely to have cavities than teeth without enamel concerns.

But what is dental hypoplasia? 

Simply put, it’s when your children’s tooth enamel is hard but too thin and can’t provide the best protection for the softer dentin underneath. Hyperplasia on teeth can happen to individual teeth, in certain spots on individual teeth, or less common, on all teeth. Sometimes hypoplasia can be confused with hypocalcified teeth, which is not thin enamel but soft and opaque enamel. 

Rest assured, treatment is possible for hypoplastic teeth. But before we get to these, let’s cover 5 things to know about this condition.

  1. Dental hypoplasia can be easy to spot

Hypoplastic teeth are easy to spot by your experienced pediatric dentist at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry. And once we see and diagnose it, we can get right to treating and strengthening your child’s teeth. At home, keep an eye out for the symptoms below, and if you notice any, make an appointment to come into our Naperville office as soon as possible.

  • Teeth that look yellow or brown (the dentin underneath enamel is a yellowish color)
  • White spots on teeth
  • Dips, grooves or striations on the surface of teeth
  • A lot of tooth decay or cavities
  • Misshapen or worn-down teeth

If your child has thin enamel, you might also notice that their teeth stain easily from colorful foods or they complain of sensitivity to cold foods and drinks.

  1. Hypoplastic teeth typically comes from early environmental factors

Dental hypoplasia happens when enamel cells are disrupted during a critical stage in their development. In baby teeth, disruptions can happen when a child is still in utero or after birth. Disruptions that happen later — from infancy through early childhood — can cause dental hypoplasia in adult teeth that have started erupting and developing.

Factors that can increase the likelihood of hypoplasia include:

  • Premature birth or low birth weight
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Gestational diabetes in the mother 
  • Viral and bacterial infections like syphilis passed from mother to child during pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Ingesting too much fluoride
  • Inflammation or dental trauma
  1. Dental hypoplasia can happen at different times 

Enamel on a child’s front baby teeth is usually fully formed by five years old while enamel on their molars isn’t fully developed until about age eight. Plus, adult teeth start erupting around age six. This means that hypoplasia can happen on different teeth at different times.

  1. Treatment for dental hypoplasia depends on severity

The goal of any treatment for hypoplasia is to strengthen your child’s teeth, restore enamel, and maintain a healthier, stronger bite. The type of treatment your Naperville pediatric dentist will recommend depends on the severity of your child’s dental hypoplasia. These include:

Remineralization: Fluoride treatment is often the first line of defense for thin enamel, helping strengthen enamel and reduce tooth sensitivity.

Dental sealants: Painting on a dental sealant is like creating a force field around your child’s teeth for extra protection against tooth decay. Dental sealants are a BPA-free plastic coating that takes a quick 15 minutes to apply and can protect teeth for up to 10 years. 

Fillings: If your child has a hypoplastic tooth and a cavity has formed, we use tooth-colored fillings at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry to fill them and prevent further decay. These fillings blend into your child’s tooth color and help support the structural strength of their tooth.

Dental Crowns: For severe hypoplasia, we might suggest a dental crown to protect a tooth and restore its shape and function. It’s possible to place crowns on both baby and adult teeth, although for molars, we generally wait to place a crown on permanent molars.

  1. Teeth with hypoplasia need extra care even after treatment

If your child has dental dysplasia, we’re happy to provide tips for better at-home oral care and nutrition for teeth. We can also recommend a desensitizing toothpaste that, with regular use, helps alleviate sensitivity. 

And don’t forget to come see us for twice-annual check ups so we can keep tabs on your child’s dental health, catch issues before they become serious, and apply those preventative fluoride treatments and dental sealants mentioned earlier.

Your Naperville pediatric dentist for stronger, healthier teeth

At Innovative Pediatric Dentistry, we want your kids to enjoy healthy, happy smiles. If you’re concerned your child might have dental dysplasia, our doctors are here to help with comprehensive, kid-friendly care. 

Contact us to make an appointment at our fun, bright, and happy Naperville office.

5 Ways Our Technology Makes Kids’ Dental Visits More Sensory Friendly

By Blog


Sensory-Friendly Dental Technology


Any child can feel anxious about going to the dentist, but for children with autism spectrum disorders, high sensitivity and other health care needs, it can be especially challenging. The unfamiliar sounds, smells and sights of a new dental office can be an overwhelming experience.

Luckily, dental visits do not need to be a source of anxiety for kids with autism, high sensitivity, ADHD or any other physical, developmental, emotional or medical conditions. At Innovative Pediatric Dentistry, our board-certified pediatric dentist and team are trained in treating kids with a range of health care needs, and we know how to put them at ease. Plus, as a high-tech practice, we have a variety of tools for quick, comfy visits. 

Looking for a sensory-friendly dentist in Naperville? Here are our five favorite dental technologies that can help make dental care stress-free for kids with special needs:

Sensory-Friendly Dental Technology

1. NOMAD Digital X-Ray Device

With conventional x-ray machines, kids have to sit very still while chomping down on bitewings that dig into their cheeks. Then, the dental assistant has to leave them alone in the room to take the x-rays, which can be scary for kids, especially those with autism or anxiety. 

Our NOMAD device is a handheld x-ray machine with a built-in shield protector, so the operator never has to leave the room. (Not to mention, the NOMAD looks like a Star Wars prop, so it has a dual entertainment value for your little one!) The NOMAD is used with our Gendex™ digital pedo sensors. These small sensors replace traditional bitewings for a more comfortable, squirm-free experience. 

Our favorite perks of the NOMAD digital x-ray device include:

  • It emits significantly less radiation than traditional x-rays
  • Images show up instantly on the computer screen (decreasing appointment times)
  • It takes x-rays twice as fast as a conventional machine
  • The dental assistant stays in the room with your little one

2. Dexis CariVu™

Nobody likes a cavity, however, the faster we diagnose and address decay, the easier and less involved treatment will be. Our DEXIS CariVu cavity detector reveals every suspicious area of a patient’s mouth and gives us a closer view without exposing a patient to any more radiation. Even small areas of decay don’t go undetected, and healthy teeth aren’t misdiagnosed as having cavities.

This handheld device works by shining safe, near-infrared light straight through teeth, which makes the enamel transparent while cracks and decay appear dark. The process is comfortable, quick and completely painless. 

Accurately diagnosing cavities and decay allows us to conservatively treat patients with the least invasive option possible. When it comes to anxiety or autism and dentistry, early detection is ideal. 

Our favorite perks of DEXIS CariVu include:

  • Captures hard-to-see areas for early intervention 
  • Your little one gets to see their teeth on the screen and learn about their oral health
  • Small in size for optimal comfort
  • Emits zero ionizing radiation

3. Diode Laser

Needles can be a cause of anxiety for our younger patients, which is why we are so excited about the diode laser. The laser offers a painless, needle-free alternative for procedures like removing excess gum tissue, lip- and tongue-tie revisions, encouraging tooth eruption and more. 

Our expert dentist applies a topical anesthetic, so the only thing your child will feel is the movement of the laser. This dental technology is really helpful when managing the dental health of special needs kids.

Our favorite perks of the diode laser include:

  • Comfortable and needle-free, making it great for even the youngest patients
  • The precision of the laser means highly accurate procedures that don’t damage the surrounding tissue
  • It can be used for a variety of different treatments

4. iTero® Digital Scanner

Messy, goopy impressions are a thing of the past! With a fancy digital wand, our iTero Digital Scanner snaps images of your kid’s teeth and gums in seconds. The computerized 3D model of their mouth appears on the screen, so your child can see what the inside of their mouth looks like in real-time. 

Unlike regular impressions, there is no weird taste or dealing with the sensation of biting into putty, kids can breathe and swallow normally during the scan and it doesn’t cause gagging. 

Our favorite perks of the iTero Digital Scanner include:

  • No radiation or messy materials
  • We get high-definition images instantly on our screen
  • The scans create a 3D model of the mouth for precise treatment planning
  • The lightweight wand takes more accurate images than old impression methods 

5. Dry Shield

During dental procedures, our dentists need to keep the area we are working on dry. Commonly, a rubber dental dam is used, which is uncomfortable and can leave patients with a sore jaw. Plus, there are a flurry of hands in your child’s mouth because an assistant needs to manage the water and suction, while the dentist works on their smile. This can all lead to sensory overload and make it hard for a child to sit still. 

 Dry Shield is an incredibly effective alternative that we use at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry. 

The all-in-one device includes a bite block, kid-sized mouthpiece, suction, an oral pathway protector and a tongue shield. Not only is it more comfortable for the patient, it also lets us complete procedures more quickly and safely. 

Our favorite perks of Dry Shield include:

  • It has hands-free suction, so the dental assistant can focus on your child while the dentist completes the job
  • The pediatric mouthpieces are made from soft silicone and come in different sizes
  • Bite blocks improve visibility for the dentist and support the patient’s jaw
  • Cheek retractors and tongue and oral pathway shields protect the mouth from any injury during a procedure 

Sensory-friendly Bonus Tip

Did you know that being thirsty or hungry can lead to sensory overload for your child? If their body is preoccupied with these feelings, they cannot manage other sensations and stimuli and will often feel more agitated and stressed. The same goes for if your child has to use the bathroom. A great way to ensure a smooth dental visit is to make sure your child is fed, hydrated and uses the bathroom before their visit. 

Choosing A Dentist For Kids With Autism, Anxiety And Special Healthcare Needs

Looking for an autism-friendly dentist near you? Our pediatric dentist in Naperville is proud to provide a sensory-friendly dental experience for your child. Book an appointment today! Or if you have more questions about how we can help prepare your child for their dental visit, please call or email us

Is Sparkling Water Bad for Kids’ Teeth?

By Blog


We all know that excessive amounts of soda, juice and sports drinks can cause cavities. But what about sparkling water or seltzer? Some parents have a hard time getting their little ones to stay hydrated and wonder if sparkling water is a solution to inspire better hydration habits. 

In the last few years, sparkling water has increased in popularity with an array of brands and flavors to choose from. These brands boast zero calories, zero sugar and zero artificial sweeteners. So why are you seeing headlines that say sparkling water is bad for kids’ teeth? 

The short answer is that any drink with carbonation has a higher acid level. Some dental studies have questioned if the acidity can wear down your tooth enamel (the visible, outermost covering of your teeth). 

In this post, the team at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry is setting the record straight.

Is seltzer water bad for your teeth? 

In moderation, seltzer water is not bad for kids’ teeth and it doesn’t cause cavities. 

When you think of tooth decay, the main culprit that comes to mind is probably sugar. In reality, it is acid that ultimately damages teeth. The bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar and then convert it into a waste product in the form of acid. This acid then sits on the surface of your teeth and eats through enamel, eventually causing cavities. 

With sparkling water, you still expose your teeth to acid but have eliminated the middleman, sugar. Carbonated water has carbonic acid, which like any acid, can be tough on enamel, but it is far less threatening to your child’s oral health than a fizzy drink with both sugar and carbonation. 

Plain sparkling or seltzer water is the best fizzy drink for teeth, because it has no sugar and no extra acidity from flavorings. 

Back to school: Carbonated water and teeth

As noted above, the bubbles in carbonated beverages come from the addition of carbonic acid. Sugary and acidic foods and drinks lower the pH of the mouth, which can erode enamel and cause cavities.

A healthy mouth has an average pH of 7.5. Enamel can start to break down when the mouth’s pH is less than 5.5. For reference:

  • The average pH of sparkling water is about 4.5 
  • The average pH of flavored sparkling water can be as low as 2.5
  • The pH of Coke is 2.4
  • The pH of orange juice is 3.5
  • The pH of regular water is 7

Saliva contains mineral buffers that help keep the mouth’s pH consistent, so it’s not about totally avoiding these drinks; it’s just about balancing them.  

A study: Seltzer and teeth

The American Dental Association (ADA) published an article on the effects of sparkling water. The study used donated teeth soaked in different beverages to see which caused erosion. The teeth were exposed for 24 hours, which was thought to mimic a year of exposure to sparkling drinks. 

Research showed varying degrees of erosion from every beverage aside from the non-carbonated, non-flavored bottled water. That said, the flavored sparkling waters eroded enamel to a lesser degree than regular and sugar-free soda. 

Unsurprisingly, fluoridated, still water remains the number one choice for your oral health.

How do I protect my kids’ teeth?

Now that you know the occasional sparkling water does not cause cavities, here are some steps you can take to minimize any enamel erosion:

Use a straw

Reusable metal or glass straws are a great thing to keep in your family’s household. Both you and your child can reduce the contact that sparkling water has with your teeth by using a straw or rinsing with regular water afterwards.

Drink sparkling water at mealtimes

Another great tip is that if your child is going to drink sparkling water, have them pair it with a meal. The acidity of the seltzer will be diluted by the food they’re eating and the saliva they produce during meals. 

Brush – but not right away

Brushing immediately after having anything acidic, including carbonated drinks, can inadvertently damage your child’s enamel while it’s in a temporarily weakened state. Instead, wait 30 minutes to an hour before brushing to give the pH in the mouth time to return to normal. Be sure to have your child brush their teeth at least two times a day using a fluoride toothpaste. 


Schedule an appointment with your Naperville pediatric dentist

Another proactive way to protect your child’s teeth is to schedule regular dental visits. Our board-certified pediatric dentist, Dr. Kirby Goodwine, will work with your family to create a personalized plan that gives your child their healthiest smile. Regular checkups can also detect early signs of tooth decay and gum disease, preventing more serious dental issues in the future. 

Book your kid’s preventative dental care today

Sparkling water is by no means terrible for kids’ teeth when they have it in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. Keep your child’s smile healthy with preventative care so they can safely enjoy something fizzy.

Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month With Top Tips From Innovative Pediatric Dentistry

By Blog

 February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. So now is a great time for the dental team at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry to highlight the importance of good oral health for kids. 

In addition to ensuring twice-annual checkups and cleanings, a great oral care routine includes effective at-home care. Here are three tips from the award-winning doctors at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry.

  1. Start Early With Baby Oral Hygiene 

Oral hygiene can start even before a child has their first teeth. Naperville’s pediatric dentist recommends wiping baby’s gums with a soft, clean wet washcloth after feeding to prevent bacterial growth. And give baby the chance for a healthy mouth by:

  • Not letting them fall asleep with a bottle of milk or juice
  • Weaning off pacifier use or thumbsucking by the early toddler years
  • Avoiding juice
  • Rinsing with water after sweet medications

Once first teeth erupt, brush teeth and gums with a baby toothbrush and a rice grain-sized amount of kid-friendly fluoride toothpaste twice a day. When teeth start touching, floss once a day.

  1. Make Teeth-Brushing Fun 

Getting kids excited about their at-home dental routine can be challenging. So the experts at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry have put together this handy downloadable kids’ brushing guide for making teeth time a blast. Find tips for choosing a kid-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste, using music to make brushing fly by, and adding apps to make brushing more interactive.

  1. Eat and Drink For Happy, Healthy Teeth

Foods high in vitamins and minerals and low in sugar are the best bet for strong, healthy teeth. A child’s smile will benefit from a daily diet that includes: 

  • Brightly colored veggies and fruits for vitamins A, C, and K
  • Dairy or dairy alternatives for teeth-strengthening calcium, vitamin D, and protein
  • Water for plenty of saliva, building healthy oral tissue, and washing away sugar and food debris

Understandably, enjoying some sugary foods is part of kid life. So after sweet treats, kids can help their oral health by rinsing their mouth with water to wash sticky sugars off their teeth.

About Innovative Pediatric Dentistry

At Innovative Pediatric Dentistry, routine dental visits are far from boring. Naperville’s award-winning pediatric dentists go the extra mile to make dental care fun and exciting, setting children up for lifelong oral health. The warm and inviting office, specifically designed with kids in mind, is safe and comfortable from the very first visit

The doctors at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry are specially trained to care for children’s developing mouths, with tricks and techniques to guarantee kids leave the dentist with a smile on their face.

We’re Super Proud to Announce That Dr. Kirby Goodwine Achieved Board Certification

By Blog

Dr. Kirby Goodwine Achieved Board Certification

Woohoo! Our very own Dr. Kirby Goodwine is now a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. This means he’s officially board certified. And that’s a big accomplishment! We’ll be breaking down the path he took to get there and how it benefits the patients here at our Naperville practice. 

What is a Pediatric Dentist?

Before board certification was even a thought, Dr. Kirby had to first become a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of the tooth world. This dental speciality focuses on the unique oral health needs of infants, children and teens, including those with special health care needs. 

How to Become a Pediatric Dentist

After graduating from a college or university, a pediatric dentist like Dr. Kirby attends four years of dental school, where they obtain their Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DSD) degree. After passing examinations, a dentist can begin practicing general dentistry. 

However, because a pediatric dentist is a specialist, they must attend a two-year residency program where they receive extensive specialty training and hands-on experience in children’s dentistry. Dr. Kirby did his residency at The University of Louisville/Norton’s Children Hospital.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, pediatric dental residents learn:

  • Advanced diagnostics
  • Advanced surgical procedures
  • Child psychology and development
  • Behavior management
  • Oral pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Conscious sedation and general anesthesia
  • Radiology
  • Management of oral and facial trauma
  • Care for patients with special needs

With a successful residency under their belt and all exams passed, residents get their Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Kirby simultaneously achieved his Master of Oral Science degree too. How long does it take to become a pediatric dentist? All said and done, after high school, it takes a minimum of 10 years to become a pediatric dental specialist! 

What Does Board Certified Mean for a Pediatric Dentist?

All pediatric dentists are specialists but not all pediatric dentists are board certified. Achieving board certification is an extra, voluntary step following residency and requires a whole lot of additional preparation.

Here’s what the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry certification process entails:

  • Qualifying Examination – This four-hour test evaluates the pediatric dentist’s understanding of the biology and science of pediatric dentistry, as well as the current literature related to the field. Passing the exam demonstrates an in-depth, well-rounded knowledge of children’s dentistry.
  • Oral Clinical Examination – After applying for board candidacy and passing the qualifying exam, pediatric dentists can then apply for the oral clinical examination. The clinical exam evaluates the pediatric dentist’s ability to solve clinical cases and successfully treat different types of pediatric patients. 

During the exam, examiners present clinical cases to the pediatric dentist for discussion. The dentist then has to demonstrate that they can diagnose and treat the case using evidence-based therapy. 

  • Board Certification – If the pediatric dentist passes both examinations and has their credentials verified, they’ll become board certified and a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. 
  • Renewal – To maintain board certification, Diplomates have to complete an annual renewal process, which includes continuing education and continuous quality improvement modules. And, every 10 years, they have to pass another examination.

Here’s Why This Achievement is Awesome for Our Patients

Becoming American board certified is an intense (and voluntary!) process that comes on top of the extensive education and training Dr. Kirby already completed in order to earn his Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry. It really shows his knowledge and commitment to providing the highest quality pediatric dental care. You’ll have peace of mind knowing your child’s smile is in expert hands. 

And, speaking of intense, have no fear about Dr. Kirby’s ability to face tantrums, fearful toddlers or kids who refuse to cooperate with patience and skill. After all, during his oral clinical exam, he stood in a room with examiners and solved clinical cases on the spot without breaking a sweat. 

Board certification is also an indication of Dr. Kirby’s dedication to lifelong learning. To maintain his Diplomate status, he has to complete annual continuing education and other requirements. This ensures he remains on the leading-edge of the rapidly evolving field and that he constantly adapts his practice in accordance with the most current, proven scientific evidence and technology

While the team here at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry has always thought Dr. Kirby was the best of the best, his achievement shows that the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry does too! 

How Do I Find a Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist Near Me?

If you live in the Chicagoland-area, Dr. Kirby Goodwine has you covered! Schedule a visit for your child at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry in Naperville today. 

Not in the area? Find a board-certified pediatric dentist near you here.

12 Smile-Friendly Stocking Stuffer Ideas Kids Will Actually Like

By Blog



Child and parants with Christmas tree.

As a Naperville pediatric dentist, it’s safe to say we love healthy smiles. Yet, as passionate as we are about kids’ oral health, we know a tube of toothpaste isn’t the most exciting Christmas or Hanukkah gift. 

Well, we’re changing that here at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry. We searched high and low for cute, fun oral hygiene gifts that little ones will actually like – yup, including toothpaste. 

Here are some of our favorite, smile-friendly stocking stuffer ideas for kids:

1. Hum by Colgate Smart Manual Toothbrush for Kids – Getting a colorful, bright kids’ toothbrush is great for encouraging regular brushing without a struggle. Colgate took it to the next level with Hum. The smart toothbrush has an augmented reality connector and phone stand. Attach the connector to the toothbrush, prop up a phone or tablet and open the app to turn brushing into a live, gaming experience. Kids can unlock levels and earn rewards as they defeat monsters. It also gives parents peace of mind by showing exactly where your child brushed and where they missed. 

2. 1-2-3 Grin! Kids Oral Care Set – Grin makes all-natural oral hygiene products for children and adults. Their 1-2-3 Grin! Set is one of our favorite stocking stuffer ideas for kids because it has everything you need to make brushing fun, including a pop-up brushing book with activities to teach kids how to brush and floss and a brushing chart structured like a board game. Have enough toothpaste and toothbrushes? You can also purchase the book and brushing chart separately. 

3. CocoflossNormally, kids’ dental floss would be low on the list of exciting oral hygiene oral gifts. Cocofloss is the exception! The dentist-favorite brand makes truly effective floss for kids and adults that’s free of parabens, SLS and PFAs. And it comes in fantastic flavors, including confetti cake! To make your life easier, you may want to opt for the refillable flosser too, which is designed for parents to use on kids ages 4 and under. 

4.Tooth Fairy Mouse – Maileg has the world’s most adorable and whimsical plush mice. The Tooth Fairy Little Mouse is incredibly sweet and includes a cloth bag to hold lost teeth. The brand also sells tin tooth boxes

5. Toy Monster + Kids’ Toothpaste Bundle If you’re going to give your child toothpaste as a Hanukkah or Christmas gift, make it fun with this limited-edition bundle from RiseWell. You’ll get the brand’s kid-friendly, cake batter-flavored toothpaste and a stuffed monster. 

6.Chomps the Dino Toothbrush and Book – Maisonette’s Brushies collection includes finger puppet toothbrushes for babies and toddlers and coordinating books. We love the Chomps the Dino version but they have pig, monkey and whale versions too. 

7. Oral-B Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush for Kids – This is probably the best electric toothbrush for kids because it has a small, child-sized brush head and a bigger handle that gives little hands a good grip. Some kids find that ultrasonic toothbrushes tickle, but this brush’s rotating head works well without feeling weird. Plus, it has a gentle mode especially designed for children’s teeth and gums. And you can use it with Oral-B’s Disney Magic Timer App, allowing kids to brush along with their favorite characters. 

8. A Book About Oral Hygiene – When it comes to stocking stuffer ideas, you can never go wrong with a book. To stick with the oral hygiene theme, encourage a love of reading and taking care of teeth and gums with a book about brushing and flossing. If you want to shop local, Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville has an excellent selection

9.Xylitol Candy – Instead of giving kids regular candy, gift them some xylitol candy instead. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that may help to prevent cavities by targeting cavity-causing bacteria and lowering the pH in the mouth. Xylitol gum will work for older kids who won’t swallow it or get it stuck in their hair. For younger kids, try a product like Zollipops, which are xylitol lollipops.

10. A Cute Toothbrushing Timer – A cute, little two-minute timer for brushing teeth can make kids more enthusiastic about their oral hygiene routine. Uncommon Goods sells a water-resistant turtle timer. Or go for this dual-purpose one with a two-minute toothbrushing timer and a 20-second hand washing timer.

11.Tooth Fairy Kit – This Tooth Fairy Kit from Bonjour Fête will make the process of losing baby teeth a positive one. The kit includes an official record of lost teeth, little envelopes to hold Tooth Fairy payments, receipts and a muslin bag for kids to leave their tooth under their pillow.

12.Montessori Brushing Teeth Model The Montessori Brushing Teeth Model looks just like a real mouth. It gives toddlers and preschoolers a chance to practice proper brushing technique and learn the importance of good oral hygiene. 


Give your child the gift of a healthy smile!

Now that you have plenty of oral hygiene-related, stocking stuffer ideas for kids, what about a gift that will last your child a lifetime? We’re talking about amazing oral health! To keep your child’s smile healthy and bright this holiday season – and year-round – schedule a visit at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry in Naperville today!