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Smile from Commerce Park Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics

September 6th, 2018

As a Pediatric Dentist, Orthodontist and Mom of three children, I am passionate about educating families about the importance of maintaining a healthy, straight, beautiful smile.

New parents often ask me, “When should my child first see a dentist?” According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, every child should visit a dentist by their first birthday. This first visit is important to establish a dental home for the child early — a place where a patient can go for familiar, comfortable and compassionate dental care, especially in the case of a dental emergency. Pediatric dentists have completed two additional years beyond dental school training to care for issues unique to young patients. They are experts in guiding parents in the early stages of oral care for their child. At Commerce Park Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics, we offer a complimentary first visit to all children under two years of age. Our goal is to establish a fun and positive relationship with the child and parent in a dental setting. Some of the topics we review in that first visit – how to properly care for an infant or toddler’s mouth, oral habits, pacifier use, finger or thumb sucking, teething, fluoride, diet, prevention of oral disease and more tips to raising a cavity-free child.

Let’s face it, some kids are afraid of going to the dentist. Starting their visits early, though, does help reduce anxiety. We also started a therapy dog program at our office, knowing that animals can help to reduce patient anxiety. We have had great success bringing this to the pediatric dental setting. Our parents can request a special therapy dog session during their child’s dental care. The calming effect of these dogs has done wonders to make our littlest patients more comfortable during their dental visits.

Regular cleanings at the dentist is important in maintaining a health smile but brushing and flossing at home is key. A wet toothbrush does the job for infants. Once a child is two years old, use a training (non-fluoride containing) toothpaste. Young children tend to swallow toothpaste when brushing, rather than spitting it out. Only use fluoride toothpaste once the child has learned to spit out and not swallow it.

As soon as two teeth touch each other, floss between them once a day. Either regular floss or special plastic floss holders will work well. Parents should encourage young children to brush and praise them for doing so, but understand that a young child’s dexterity is not fully developed. For this reason, it is always best for a caregiver to brush the child’s teeth until the child is at least seven years old.

Children these days, more than ever before, can have a cavity-free life with advances in dental care such as sealants and improved education. Cavities occur when sugar-containing foods stay in the mouth for a long time. The bacteria in the mouth convert the food into acid that destroys tooth enamel. Saliva helps to wash away the acid between meals, but if your child is always eating, there may not be time for this acid to get washed away. Encourage brushing at least twice a day and limit snacking, especially the sticky snacks that linger on the teeth.

As a Pediatric Dentist and Orthodontist, I have the opportunity to meet our youngest patients and get them comfortable at the dentist from the very first visit. I get the privilege to monitor their growth and development, and if they need future braces, help ease them through that process that culminates in a beautiful, cavity-free smile. It really is a joy to see how our patients grow and develop into exceptional young adults.

Mary Ritter, DMD is pediatric dentist and orthodontist at Commerce Park Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics. She and her husband Tim have three children and a dog named Teddy. When she is not at work, you can find her reading or with her family. They have fun together no matter what they are doing; they love biking, walking the dog, and just being together.

February Is National Children's Dental Health Month

February 15th, 2016

National Children's Dental Health Month

February is one of our favorite months here at Commerce Park Children's Dentistry & Orthodontics, and it's not just because of Valentine's Day! February is National Children's Dental Health Month (NCDHM), and this is a truly important cause that we're extremely passionate about. We believe that everyone deserves a beautiful, healthy smile - and that means starting early!

The Importance of Pediatric Dental Health

While baby teeth eventually fall out, that doesn't mean taking care of those teeth isn't important. Deciduous (baby) teeth play a lot of important roles in dental development, helping a child learn to chew, swallow, speak, and breathe, and they serve as guides for the permanent teeth once they erupt. In addition, children learn their dental habits with their baby teeth - so teaching them to brush and floss every day at a young age is crucial to their lifelong smile.

Ways to Celebrate

To take full advantage of this important holiday, try celebrating it with your child in ways that make dental hygiene fun and easy. If you don't already, turn brushing and flossing into a twice daily ritual - think of it as family time with you and your child. You can even turn it into a game: if they brush their teeth for 2 minutes twice a day for the whole month, they might get a special prize or family trip. Additionally, the American Dental Association has created a wealth of fun posters, maps, and games centered around the month - they're free to download, so check them out!

Contact Your Bridgeport & Huntington Pediatric Dentist

Have more questions about NCDHM? We're here to help. Feel free to call us at (203) 371-8282, reach out to us at our contact page, or use our easy online form to schedule an appointment at our Huntington or Bridgeport, CT office. We can't wait to hear from you, and we hope to see you back at this blog for more tips and info on keeping your child's teeth healthy and strong!

When Should I Take My Child For Their First Pediatric Dental Visit

February 5th, 2016

Baby Brushing Teeth

When Should I Take My Child For Their First Pediatric Dental Visit?

Commerce Park Children's Dentistry & Orthodontics is proud to offer exceptional pediatric dental and orthodontic care to children in the Bridgeport & Huntington areas in our warm, safe and comfortable environment. We understand that mothers with young children lead very busy lives and are working around the clock to meet your child's many needs. We also know that you typically have lots on your mind, as there are so many things to do and plan when caring for newborns and toddlers including scheduling important doctor visits.

Our Bridgeport & Huntington pediatric dentists and staff are here for you moms to give you support and the information you need about caring for your children's oral health. Below is some information we hope you find helpful including information about when to schedule your child's first visit with a pediatric dentist.

The First Dental Visit Should Be Around Your Child's First Birthday

Your child's first visit with a pediatric dentist should take place at around the age of 1. When a child sees the dentist at this early age, he or she is much more likely to feel secure and comfortable going to the dentist which can help set the stage for a lifetime of healthy teeth.

In addition to evaluating your child's dental health, the focus of this first visit is to establish a positive relationship with your child while discussing how to keep their smile healthy.

About Our Child-Friendly Environment

We have gone to great lengths to create a kid-friendly environment that makes our younger patients feel comfortable and relaxed. From the moment your child walks in our door, he or she will be warmly welcomed by our friendly and highly trained staff. Our hygienists and doctors use terms kids understand, give step-by-step directions and offer great advice to parents and kids for improving oral health. Children actually look forward to their visits with us as our office looks more like a play space than a dental office. We strive to make dentistry fun and our entire staff knows how to interact with kids to put them at ease.

Schedule Regular Checkups Every 6 Months

We recommend scheduling regular dental checkups every six months to help keep cavities and other dental diseases at bay. These regular visits also allow our pediatric dentists to monitor your child's growth and development wherein we may have recommendations for improving your child's oral health such as the need for braces.

Sedation Dentistry In Bridgeport & Huntington, CT

We understand that visiting the dentist can be a frightening and intimidating concept for young children. Therefore, our pediatric dentists will consider the use of sedatives during certain pediatric dental treatments for apprehensive children. To put your mind at ease, you should know that sedation dentistry is endorsed by the American Dental Association (ADA) and is a very safe and effective way to make your child feel comfortable while at the dentist.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact us as we are always here for you. Our goal is to help you meet your child's oral health needs by giving you the information and support you need while providing your child with the best quality pediatric dental care in Fairfield County. Feel free to contact us at (203) 371-8282 or send us an email at We look forward to hearing from you soon!

October is National Orthodontic Health Month

October 28th, 2015

Most people think of Halloween when they think about October, but Commerce Park is excited because October is also National Orthodontic Health Month. Sponsored by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), Orthodontic Health Month is designed to raise awareness on the importance of good orthodontic health habits. It is also the time of the year when the hard work and dedication put forth by the country's orthodontists and dentists is recognized.

During Orthodontic Health Month, we want to stress the importance of brushing and flossing your teeth well. Aim for brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day at the least, or after every meal if you can. Regular brushing and flossing is the key to maintaining optimal oral health and we encourage you to make oral hygiene a top priority!

Make Wise Halloween Treat Choices

There are many unhealthy Halloween candies and treats kids consume during this time of the year ranging from gooey, sticky candy bars to sugary taffies, caramels and everything in between. But there are also many healthy Halloween treats to enjoy for those wearing braces and those who aren’t. Here are a few wise Halloween treat choices to consider instead of all the sugar-laden Halloween candy.

  • Chex mix
  • Yogurt including frozen yogurt
  • Applesauce
  • Fruits
  • Low fat pudding cups
  • Bran cookies
  • Smoothies
  • Spiced apple cider
  • Dark chocolate-dipped soft fruit (clementines, apricots, papaya, mango)
  • Sherbet

Keep Your Smile Healthy This Halloween

The best way to keep your smile healthy is to take good care of your teeth and gums. Eating a well-balanced diet is also important in maintaining a healthy smile so strive to put nutritious foods in your body and stay away from eating too many sweets. The doctors and staff at Commerce Park Children's Dentistry & Orthodontics would like to wish all our patients and their families a happy and safe Halloween!