Skip to main content


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!

Kid having pain in teeth due to cavity

Here’s Why Some Kids Get Cavities Even If They Brush Their Teeth

By Blog
Kid having pain in teeth due to cavity

“My child brushes and flosses their teeth every day, how could they possibly have cavities?” 

It can come as a big – and unwelcome – surprise when you find out your child has a cavity in spite of their diligent oral hygiene routine. And, yup, brushing and flossing and regular preventative dental care are the most well-known ways to keep kids’ teeth and gums healthy. 

But, nutrition is an unsung hero. What and how often kids eat directly impacts their oral health. And, when kids are deficient in certain key vitamins and minerals, it can also result in issues, ranging from an increased risk of tooth decay to bleeding gums. 

Innovative Pediatric Dentistry is here to break it all down. In this post, our Naperville pediatric dentists will talk about nutrition for healthy teeth and gums, as well as the vitamins and minerals needed to support children’s oral health. 


Diet and Oral Health

Foods that cause cavities

While genetics, medications and other factors can make children more prone to oral health issues, when tooth decay isn’t the result of a lack of brushing and flossing, it often boils down to what kids are eating. 

Even some seemingly healthy(ish) foods — we’re looking at you, crackers – are notorious cavity causers. This is because the two factors behind tooth decay are carbohydrates and time. When kids drink or eat something with sugar or starches in it, the bacteria in the mouth feed on the carbohydrates and release acids that erode the enamel. 

The acid attacks last for about 30 minutes after eating or drinking. Then, saliva swoops in and saves the days by neutralizing the acids and depositing the lost minerals back into the teeth. 

So, as long as kids are having sugars and simple carbohydrates in moderation and regularly removing food debris and plaque from their teeth, they can avoid tooth decay and keep their enamel strong. 

However, there is also a time component. The longer the carbohydrates sit on the teeth, the longer the acid attacks go on. Saliva isn’t able to remineralize the teeth enough to balance out the mineral loss, leading to tooth decay and, eventually, cavities. 

Foods that get stuck in the teeth like gummy candy, crackers, white bread and dried fruit, prolong the acid attacks and are more likely to contribute to tooth decay than things that rinse off the teeth easily like ice cream or yogurt, though they also contain sugar. 

Slowly snacking or sipping on a drink over a long period of time makes the acid attacks go on and on as well, increasing the risk of cavities. 


Nutrition for Cavity Prevention

Nutrition for Cavity Prevention

The good news is, knowing how tooth decay in children occurs, means you can take measures to prevent it. To keep cavities at bay:

  • Have kids enjoy sugars, simple carbohydrates and sticky foods in moderation. 
  • Limit snacking to once or twice a day. Stick with foods that help to remineralize the teeth or that won’t cause cavities like cheese, nuts and seeds, carrot and celery sticks, firm fruits, etc.  
  • Encourage kids to eat or drink sugary and starchy treats in one sitting. Serve them with a larger meal when saliva production is at its peak, and have kids brush their teeth afterwards or rinse their mouth out really well with water.
  • Aim for a well-rounded diet consisting of lean proteins, fresh fruit and vegetables in a variety of colors, healthy fats, dairy (or dairy alternatives) and complex carbohydrates. 
  • Choose fresh whole foods when possible. These foods tend to stick in the teeth less than their processed or dried counterparts and are usually eaten more quickly. For example, kids typically eat fresh grapes in one sitting and they don’t end up packed in between their teeth. Raisins, on the other hand, do stick in the teeth and last at room temperature for a long time, so people often eat them slowly.


Vitamins and Minerals for Kids’ Teeth and Gums

Having sugars and starches in moderation and minimizing the amount of time kids’ teeth are exposed to carbohydrates will go a long way in preventing cavities and gingivitis. 

But, it’s also important for children to get an adequate amount of the key minerals and vitamins for strong teeth and gums. These nutritional building blocks create a foundation for a lifelong healthy smile:



Calcium is a mineral that helps strengthen tooth enamel and the jawbone. It makes teeth more resistant to acid erosion and tooth decay. The body is pretty talented at storing extra calcium in your teeth and bones, meaning it can make up for the calcium that’s lost due to normal wear and tear and cavity-causing acids. 

When a child doesn’t get enough calcium in their diet, however, it makes it more difficult for the body to replace the lost minerals. The teeth then become susceptible to decay and breakage. 

Thankfully, kids can get enough calcium to keep their teeth strong through a variety of sources. To maximize the oral health benefits, choose calcium-rich foods and beverages that don’t have a lot of added sugar. We’d recommend milk, yogurt, cheese, seeds, sardines, beans, tofu, lentils, almonds, leafy greens and fortified foods and drinks, such as non-dairy milk, cereal and orange juice. 



Phosphorus joins forces with calcium to create the main structural component of tooth enamel and bones. It also works with calcium and vitamin D to rebuild and maintain enamel and tooth-supporting bone. Similar to calcium, a phosphorous deficiency makes kids more prone to cavities and tooth breakage. 

The best sources of phosphorus include meat, poultry, milk, yogurt, cheese, beans, legumes, cashews, brown rice, potatoes, whole wheat bread, pumpkin seeds and seafood like sardines, tuna, salmon and scallops.


Vitamin A

One of the best vitamins for teeth and gums is vitamin A. It helps with saliva production, and saliva is crucial for washing away food debris and plaque, neutralizing acids in the mouth and remineralizing the teeth, making them strong and cavity resistant. Vitamin A also boosts immunity and fights inflammation, thanks to its antioxidant properties. This keeps the gums and oral tissues healthy, reducing the risk of gingivitis and mouth sores, and ensuring the mouth heals quickly.

A review published in the Indian Journal of Applied Research found that a vitamin A deficiency is linked to gum disease, enamel defects and dry mouth.

Kids can get vitamin A through their diet by eating foods such as carrots, red and orange peppers, sweet potatoes, mango, cantaloupe, apricots, leafy greens, fish, liver and egg yolks.


Vitamin C

Vitamin C plays a part in maintaining the jawbone and teeth. But, its biggest contribution in the mouth is in promoting healthy gums and oral soft tissues. Vitamin C aids in healing and keeps the connective tissues that hold the teeth in place strong. A lack of vitamin C may cause bleeding gums and gingivitis. 

Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, sweet potatoes, green, orange and red peppers, leafy greens, cauliflower, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, papaya, watermelon, kiwi and mango. 

There is one caveat though: Acidic sources of vitamin C like citrus fruits, while amazing for periodontal (gum) health, can hasten enamel erosion. To avoid this, mix up the foods and drinks your child is getting vitamin C from. And, have them brush their teeth before eating something acidic or wait an hour after eating or drinking it to brush. Brushing immediately afterwards can damage the temporarily weakened enamel. 


Vitamin D

Another of the vitamins for strong teeth and bones is vitamin D. It enhances bone density and helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus to harden enamel and remineralize the teeth. It also has anti-inflammatory properties for a decreased risk of gingivitis in kids. 

A study determined that a severe vitamin D deficiency in early childhood can cause enamel defects that increase the risk of tooth decay. The researchers also found that people with a vitamin deficiency had a higher prevalence of gum inflammation and periodontitis (severe gum disease). 

Kids can get vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, as well as through their diet with fatty fish, mushrooms and foods fortified with vitamin D, including cereal, milk and orange juice. 


Other Nutrients Kids Need for Oral Health

While those listed above are the primary minerals and vitamins for healthy teeth and gums, a well-rounded diet is still essential. Iron, magnesium, potassium and B vitamins all work to create a healthy body and mouth too. Brown rice, leafy greens, bananas, nuts, seeds, beans, meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products will give your child the right balance for excellent oral health


Schedule a Visit With a Naperville Pediatric Dentist

For more cavity prevention tips and a full array of preventative care, schedule an appointment for your child at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry in Naperville. Once we’ve examined your child and chatted with you about their lifestyle and needs, an expert dentist will work with you to create a personalized plan to give your child their healthiest smile. 

Cute African American Girl Brushing Teeth And Looking In Mirror

Why Are My Child’s Teeth Yellow?

By Blog

Brushing and Flossing

At our Naperville pediatric dentistry practice, concerned parents often ask us, “Why are my child’s teeth yellow despite brushing and flossing?” Many times, especially if it’s your child’s newly erupted permanent teeth, it’s not a cause for concern, however, there are instances where treatment could be needed. To give you a better idea of what’s normal and what’s not, here are some of the causes of yellow teeth in kids:

  • Erupting Permanent Teeth

If it seems like your child’s permanent teeth are coming in yellow, this is actually completely normal. 

Compared to baby teeth, the permanent teeth have larger nerve canals and more dentin, which is the yellowish protective layer underneath the enamel. When the permanent teeth erupt, the enamel is a bit more transparent at first too, so the yellow can show through. 

Plus, since the permanent teeth erupt right next to those stark white baby teeth, the contrast makes the difference more dramatic. As the enamel calcifies over time, the permanent teeth will look whiter. Once all of the permanent teeth are in, your child’s smile will be nice and uniform. 

  • Poor Oral Hygiene

When kids don’t thoroughly brush and floss their teeth, plaque builds up on the enamel. This can lead to a dull or yellow appearance. Having kids floss once daily and brush at least twice a day will prevent plaque from sticking. 

Once plaque hardens into tartar, it can’t be removed at home, so your child’s teeth will still be yellow despite brushing. Tartar has to be eliminated during a professional dental cleaning using special tools. If plaque and tartar are the cause of tooth discoloration, your child’s teeth should be whiter after their cleaning. 

  • Foods and Drinks That Stain Teeth

Highly pigmented foods like blueberries and tomato sauce and beverages, such as soda, energy drinks and fruit juice can stain kids’ teeth, making them look yellow. 

To avoid this, have kids rinse their mouth out with water after eating or drinking anything pigmented and be diligent about brushing. Try to serve pigmented foods in moderation and encourage kids to drink water and milk instead of sugary drinks.

If discoloration has already occurred and you’re wondering how to remove the yellow stains from your child’s teeth, talk to your pediatric dentist. We can generally buff away these surface stains during a cleaning.

Why Are My Child’s Teeth Yellow?

  • Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is another culprit, though only the affected teeth will be discolored. As decay progresses into a cavity, there may be a visible hole or pit in the tooth and brown or black spots. Schedule a visit with your pediatric dentist as soon as possible. The earlier a cavity is treated, the easier, quicker and less expensive treatment will be. 

  • Thin or Weak Enamel 

The enamel starts to form on a child’s baby teeth when they’re in the womb. Enamel formation on permanent teeth begins in infancy and continues through early childhood. When the process is disrupted during either period, it can cause enamel defects, such as enamel hypoplasia. With enamel hypoplasia, the enamel is too thin, which exposes more of the dentin and causes teeth to look yellow.

Which teeth are affected by enamel hypoplasia depends on the cause of the disturbance in enamel formation and the timing, so you may notice your child’s baby teeth coming in yellow or it may only occur on a permanent tooth. Usually, only some of the teeth are affected.

The location and severity will determine whether treatment is needed. If the thin enamel is causing sensitivity or putting your child at risk for tooth decay, we may recommend professional fluoride treatment, dental sealants and other measures. In extreme cases, the affected permanent teeth will need to be covered with dental crowns to protect them when your child is older. 

  • Certain Antibiotics

Yellow baby teeth from antibiotics is pretty rare these days. However, some antibiotics, namely tetracycline, can stain kids’ teeth if the mother takes them while pregnant or the child takes them before the age of 8. The teeth may start by looking yellow and then, eventually, turn brown. This effect is widely known, so most doctors don’t prescribe these types of antibiotics to young children or pregnant women anymore. 

Can I Whiten My Child’s Teeth?

We don’t usually recommend whitening kids’ teeth. Whitening toothpaste can be too abrasive on their developing enamel and over-the-counter whitening treatments can cause sensitivity and irritate their gum tissue. 

As we mentioned above, many times, a child’s permanent teeth coming in yellow is normal and their teeth will brighten in time. For causes like tooth decay, whitening won’t help either. Instead, bring up any concerns with your Naperville pediatric dentist


Book an Appointment With a Naperville Kids’ Dentist

If your child is embarrassed by the color of their teeth or you’re worried that discoloration is a sign of a problem, schedule an appointment for your child at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry in Naperville, IL. We’ll perform an exam and find out what’s causing their teeth to look yellow. We can then create a personalized treatment plan and, if needed, discuss safe ways to brighten your child’s smile.

We also want to remind parents that Illinois law requires kids entering kindergarten, second, sixth and ninth grades in public, private and parochial schools to have a dental exam performed by a licensed dentist. Book your back-to-school check-up to have your forms ready for the new school year!

Innovative Pediatric Dentistry


By Blog

Updated 7/1/2022

At Innovative Pediatric Dentistry, we are still committed to the safety of our patients and staff. We continue to have advanced protocols to make your visit safe. Please read below for a quick introduction to these steps, and do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.


All patients, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear face coverings per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the American Dental Association (ADA).


A quick health questionnaire should be completed 24 to 48 hours prior to the in-office appointment.


As always, we will continue our high-level disinfection between patients, hospital grade sterilization of instruments, and appropriate use of personal protective equipment.


Please reschedule your appointment if anyone in your household has been sick in the last 14 days.


Each member of our team has completed additional awareness and prevention programs to enhance their knowledge to provide safe dental care. Each day, we complete health checks for our team with no-touch temperature checks and a quick set of questions.

Thank you for your understanding as we work together to achieve your best smile! As guidance for COVID-19 prevention changes, we’ll keep you updated on what’s happening in the office. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions! We are looking forward to seeing you soon!

Laughing Baby With Mouthguard In Mouth For Bite Alignment. Crooked

Is it Normal for Kids to Grind Their Teeth?

By Blog

Kids to Grind Their Teeth

You made it through a few years of teething and things are smooth sailing until you hear a squeaking, grating noise and realize your child is grinding their teeth. Isn’t teeth grinding only for stressed out adults? No, believe it or not, teeth grinding and clenching can strike at any age. In fact, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, an estimated 3 out of 10 kids grind their teeth before the age of 5. 

Though the habit is common, is it okay? The team at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry in Naperville will be tackling the subject in this post. 

What is Bruxism?

Repetitive teeth grinding, gnashing and/or clenching is known as bruxism. Awake bruxism happens when a child is awake, while sleep bruxism occurs when your child is sleeping. Sleep bruxism is harder to identify than awake bruxism. This is because most kids don’t know they’re grinding their teeth in sleep, so it might not be until they experience symptoms that you realize anything is going on. 

Why Do Kids Grind Their Teeth?

As for why kids grind their teeth, it depends on your child’s age. In very young kids, teeth grinding is normal and not usually a cause for concern. Toddlers may grind their teeth to combat the discomfort of teething or as a way to explore their mouth. By around age 6, most little ones will stop grinding their teeth on their own. 

Awake bruxism, even in children who are school-aged or older, might not warrant any treatment or cause any issues, though it can be a sign that your child is stressed or anxious. 

But what about sleep bruxism? Why do kids grind their teeth at night? It’s not always possible to pinpoint an exact cause. It seems to run in families, indicating a potential genetic component. Other risk factors for sleep bruxism in kids include:

  • Stress and anxiety 
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Other health conditions, including ADHD and migraines
  • Certain medications
  • Exposure to second-hand smoke
  • Sleep disturbances, such as sleep apnea, snoring and night terrors
  • Allergies (a study found evidence suggesting children with allergies are more likely to grind their teeth at night, perhaps as a way to cope with a middle ear disturbance from congestion)

Should I Be Concerned About My Child’s Teeth Grinding?

As we said, teeth grinding in young kids isn’t usually a concern. Unless it’s resulting in other issues, there’s a good chance they’ll grow out of it. If teeth grinding is habitual and your child doesn’t stop around age 6, or they’re experiencing complications from it, then you’ll want to talk with your Naperville pediatric dentist about it. 

Chronic sleep bruxism in children can be an indication that something else is going on that will require treatment. For example, there might be an issue with the development of your child’s teeth, jaw and facial structure that restricts the airway or is causing misaligned teeth that, in turn, leads to grinding and clenching.  

Signs of Bruxism in Kids

Awake bruxism is easy to spot. You’ll hear and see your child clenching and grinding their teeth. They may do it unconsciously, such as when they’re concentrating really hard or feeling frustrated, or they could be aware of it. 

Sleep bruxism in children is harder to pinpoint. Signs that your child is grinding their teeth at night include:

  • Grinding Noises – You or someone else in your household might hear squeaking, grinding, gnashing or chewing noises while your child is sleeping. If you suspect your kiddo is grinding their teeth, but you’re not sure, you can check on them in the middle of the night or use a baby monitor to confirm it. 
  • Jaw Pain – If your child has a sore jaw in the morning, they’re likely grinding their teeth. The pressure from grinding and clenching puts strain on the jaw and temporomandibular joints (TMJ), potentially leading to pain and clicking and popping noises.
  • Teeth Damage – Aggressive or chronic bruxism can damage the teeth and gums. In extreme cases, you may notice that some of your child’s teeth are wearing down. They might also have receding gums, tooth fractures, chips or cracks on the teeth or damaged fillings.
  • Sensitive Teeth – Tooth sensitivity is also common in kids who grind their teeth. They can have sensitivity or discomfort while chewing or when enjoying hot or cold foods and drinks. 
  • Headaches – When kids grind their teeth at night, that same pressure that causes jaw pain often leads to headaches too. Pain can also radiate to the ear and neck. 

Complications of Teeth Grinding in Kids

Complications of Teeth Grinding in Kids

Teeth grinding in toddlers or preschoolers, as well as mild awake bruxism at any age, is unlikely to cause complications unless it’s really severe. Chronic sleep bruxism, on the other hand, can cause problems, including:

  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Fractured or chipped teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Jaw pain and headaches
  • Damaged dental restorations, such as fillings or pediatric dental crowns
  • TMJ dysfunction
  • Sleep problems 

How to Stop Kids From Grinding Teeth

If your toddler is grinding their teeth, unless you think it’s stress- or anxiety-related, making a concerted effort to get them to stop can often backfire and cause them to do it more frequently as a way to get attention. So, these tips are geared towards children who habitually engage in grinding while sleeping and have symptoms like a sore jaw or headaches:

  • Try to Find the Source – Try to find the source of your child’s teeth grinding. If it’s something obvious like allergies that make breathing out of their nose difficult, managing the allergies will go a long way in helping to stop teeth grinding in their sleep. If you can’t pinpoint the cause, talk with your child. Maybe they’re stressed about a test or being teased at school. Once you have an idea of what’s causing it, you and your child can work on a solution together. 
  • Teach Your Child Ways to Manage Stress – Stress and teeth grinding go hand in hand. If your child is anxious and stressed, help them find ways to manage it. Things like doing kids’ yoga, getting plenty of exercise, talking about concerns, prioritizing school tasks so they’re not overwhelmed and practicing deep breathing can help reduce your child’s stress. If necessary, reach out to a professional for support. 
  • Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine – A bedtime routine can help reduce sleep disturbances, which are tied to teeth grinding in kids, and relieve anxiety and stress by making kids’ feel safe and secure. You may have to experiment with what works for your child, but an example could include, taking a warm bath, brushing and flossing their teeth and then reading a book together. 
  • Set the Stage for Quality Sleep – Sleep hygiene is a term for healthy sleep habits. Having good sleep hygiene will increase your child’s quality of sleep and like that relaxing bedtime routine, minimize sleep disturbances and bruxism. Some good rules of thumb include:
  • Have your child go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
  • Encourage your little one to only use their bed for sleeping and not other activities like homework or playing on a tablet. This helps their brain associate getting in bed with falling asleep.
  • Create a comfy, cozy room by making sure it’s cool, dark, quiet and has appropriate bedding for the season. 
  • Limit the amount of time spent on electronic devices, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime. 
  • Try to get kids to exercise earlier in the day and eat a nutritious diet. 
  • Talk to Your Pediatric Dentist – If the above tips don’t help and your child is still grinding in their teeth, schedule a visit with your pediatric dentist. 

Bruxism Treatment for Children

If your child is grinding their teeth in sleep and experiencing complications, treatment could be necessary. While it will depend on the cause of your child’s bruxism and other factors, treatment could include:

  • An Oral Device – A custom kids’ mouthguard for grinding teeth, sometimes called a nightguard, fits over your child’s top teeth and cushions against the grinding forces. While a nightguard won’t necessarily stop the behavior, it will prevent the dental issues and jaw pain that can occur. There are boil-and-bite varieties and ones you can order online, however, a custom kids’ mouthguard for teeth grinding created by your dentist will offer the best fit, protection and comfort. 

If your kiddo is having TMJ dysfunction in addition to their teeth grinding, a custom TMJ splint that helps reposition the jaw and prevent friction might be recommended instead. 

  • Orthodontic Treatment – For an older child who grinds their teeth because of misalignment, braces or Invisalign® Teen can help to align the teeth and bite and may improve grinding. 

In younger children, if teeth grinding is related to a problem with their craniofacial development, phase 1 orthodontic treatment could be the better route. This is when an orthodontist uses certain appliances to guide jaw growth while your child is still developing. It can be beneficial for opening the airway and making room for the permanent teeth to come in, which will alleviate future misalignment, sleep-disordered breathing problems and the subsequent teeth grinding. 

If that’s the case, as part of the Innovative Dental Partners family, we’re under the same roof as Innovative Orthodontic Centers. Your Naperville pediatric dentist can coordinate care with the board-certified orthodontists at Innovative Orthodontic Centers to help your child get the most comprehensive care. 

  • Treatment for Other Underlying Causes – When teeth grinding is because of another health condition or an issue like anxiety that’s interfering with your child’s daily life, schedule a visit with their pediatrician. Treating the underlying problem will often help with bruxism.


Looking for the Best Pediatric Dentist in Naperville, IL?

Whether your child is grinding their teeth and you’d like guidance or you’re just in need of a pediatric dentist, Innovative Pediatric Dentistry can help! Our bright, fun practice uses modern technology for safer, more comfortable care. And, we’ve been named best pediatric dentist in Naperville by Naperville Magazine every year since 2008! Schedule your child’s appointment with us today.