Is It OK For Children To Use Teeth Whitening Toothpaste?

a little girl brushing her teeth

Have you ever wondered if it’s OK to use a teeth-whitening toothpaste on your child? It is effective and useful? And most importantly, is it safe? The first thing to check when using any toothpaste on a child is the label; make sure the toothpaste is age-appropriate (most will say they can be used on children aged two and up). Consider also that children’s teeth are not permanent, and whitening can be more of a concern as their permanent teeth erupt and their orthodontics have been taken care of.

Most dentists agree that regular toothpaste with whitening ingredients are okay for children to use, but only in small (pea-sized) amounts and when they learn to brush properly, i.e. not too hard! Additionally, whitening toothpaste will only help with surface stains, not deeper stains that come from injuries, medications, or foods. Sometimes too much fluoride can also cause dental fluorosis, so check with the dentist on the right toothpaste for your child.

You may also want to consider some of these tips to get your child to brush his or her teeth to keep them pearly white.

A fun toothbrush

Kids like superheroes, cartoons, and sparkly things in general, so if you let your child pick out a toothbrush he or she loves, perhaps it will get used a bit more!

A musical toothbrush

Yes, these are a thing. And very reasonably priced! When your child can activate fun tunes by brushing, who would say no to that? You may even want to get one for yourself.

An electric toothbrush

They do make kid-friendly versions of these, and while a pricier toothbrush may seem silly when your child is only learning to brush, electric toothbrushes are proven to keep teeth and gums healthier by applying a more appropriate amount of pressure and moving in the right direction.

Fun flavors of toothpaste

Even though the thought of brushing with bubble gum grosses a lot of adults out, it seems to be the flavor they pick at the ice cream store, so why not let them choose a toothpaste flavor, too?

The most important thing to remember when you have any questions about your child’s oral hygiene is to schedule an appointment with us. Our pediatric dentists at Hines Little Smiles are happy to help. As some of the best pediatric dentists in Columbus, Ohio; Dr. Hines, Dr Anderson, Dr. Vollmar, and Dr. pagé work hard to keep your kids happy with a healthy white smile!

The Ultimate Guide to Toothpaste

A toothbrush with toothpaste
Have you been looking for the right toothpaste for your child?  The best brand that will aid in maintaining healthy teeth and gums? How do you select the right toothpaste? At Hines Little Smiles, we want only the best for our patient’s oral health. This is why we have compiled this short little guide discussing some of the best known brand toothpastes and how they help with oral health.  Here are some things to consider when buying toothpaste:

  • Anti-cavity: Toothpaste with this feature contain fluoride. Fluoride is designed to prevent decay and improve the strength of the enamel of the teeth.
  • Tartar-control: Toothpaste with tartar-control will prevent the buildup and hardening of plaque.
  • Whitening: The whitening toothpaste is designed to remove stains from the surface of the tooth. Whitening toothpaste can aid in helping teeth to look whiter and not as yellow or brownish in color.  

Dr. Bronner’s All One Toothpaste

Organic toothpastes are created with several natural ingredients. Dr. Bronner’s All One Toothpaste is made with 70% organic ingredients. Dr. Bronner’s toothpaste does not include synthetic detergent foaming detergents. This toothpaste is designed to properly clean your teeth, gums, and mouth without causing burning pain that is common with other toothpastes. This can be a great option if your child has sensitive teeth. 

Happy Teeth Toothpaste

Another organic toothpaste made without fluoride is Happy Teeth toothpaste. This toothpaste is designed to clean your mouth to remove bacteria without leaving behind harmful agents that increase the likelihood of cavities and gum disease.

Crest Toothpaste

One of the most common brands of toothpaste on the market is Crest. Most types of Crest toothpastes on the market include fluoride, but there are some new organic toothpastes on the market that only use natural ingredients to remove plaque and bacteria from the mouth. Crest does have multiple types of toothpaste targeted at different oral health needs from teeth whitening to gingivitis.

Colgate Toothpaste

In close competition with Crest is Colgate. Colgate brand toothpaste has been on the market since 1873 and remains a billion-dollar toothpaste brand. Colgate toothpaste has several versions available including toothpaste for sensitive teeth and others for teeth whitening. Colgate has also created all-natural toothpaste for individuals that do not want toothpaste with fluoride and other chemicals.  

Arm and Hammer Toothpaste

Using baking soda as one of the main ingredients, Arm and Hammer toothpaste is one of the leading brands for its multi-specialty toothpaste. The combination of baking soda and peroxide in the toothpaste aids in fighting bacteria that causes canker sores, gum disease, and a handful of other oral health issues.

We hope this small guide will help you find the right toothpaste for your child’s oral health needs. If you have more specific questions about toothpaste, or are looking for a Pediatric Dentist in Columbus, OH then contact us to schedule an appointment.

Oral Health Awareness Month at Hines Little Smiles

At Hines Little Smiles, our goal is to be one of the best pediatric dental offices in Columbus, OH. No matter the month or the season we want to make sure that our patients are aware of the best ways to keep their oral hygiene consistent and taken care of.

While we are concerned with our patients’ oral health care every day of the year, April is of particular note to us in the pediatric dentistry community as it is Oral Health Awareness Month. This makes April a great time for us at Hines Little Smiles to remind you of the importance of good oral health practices and how to make sure you are keeping yourself, and your children, safe and healthy.

Importance of Screenings

We pride ourselves on being there to educate the community on good oral health practices and how to incorporate smart choices into you and your families’ daily routines. Part of Oral Health Awareness Month is awareness and education about oral cancer. Oral cancer can be a dangerous disease that can cause serious harm and even death to individuals. But, luckily, it is a very preventable cancer.

The best way to prevent and treat oral cancer is by catching it early. This is done through regular visits to your dentist. Oral health care is particularly important to teach to children at a young age, so they can get in the habit of making oral health care a part of their lives.

We encourage children, teens, and adults to make a visit to the dentist once every six months. During these checkups and exams, the team at Hines Little Smiles will make sure oral hygiene is in order and screen for any bigger problems. Of course, it is important to incorporate daily routines that keep oral hygiene a regular part of your life. It’s also essential to teach your children these things.

Remember to:

  • Brush teeth twice daily.
  • Floss daily.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Replace toothbrushes every 3-4 months.

Also, if you notice anything strange related to your child’s oral health or if they are complaining about pain, schedule an appointment with us to ensure that everything is in order.

As an engaged provider of pediatric dentistry in Columbus, Ohio, we are here to help our patients learn about the importance of oral health practices and help you get the best care possible for your family. We are friendly and professional and here to answer any questions you have about oral hygiene for your and your family.

The Top 5 Questions About Sedation Dentistry

All of us have underlying fears. Whether it is a fear of heights, or a fear of the dark, or another one of the most common fears, which is going to the dentist. For our children we know that is no different, especially if they have not gone to the dentist before. Dr. Hines and all of our staff want you and your children to feel at ease in our office, and if there is need for a procedure such as filling a cavity or dental sealants, or needing some crowns we offer sedation dentistry as an option for less stress and worry.

Look of a child sucking her thumb.

But of course we understand that you have questions about sedation dentistry and that is why we have compiled the top 5 questions typically asked below:

1. Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?
Absolutely! Under the care of our trained doctors and staff, sedation dentistry is both safe and effective. Our pediatric dentists have advanced medical education in the most innovative relaxation techniques and prioritize every patient’s care above anything else.

2. What Types of Sedation Dentistry is Available?
Hines Little Smiles offers all forms of sedation dentistry. The treatments below are listed in order of increasing strength and potency:
Inhalation Sedation – Nitrous Oxide or “laughing gas,” is a sweet tasting gas that the is received through an inhaler placed over the nose. Simply breathe in, and the medication takes effect.
Oral Sedation – In this method, patients take a small pill by mouth before they come to the office for their appointment, and another small dose once they arrive.
IM Sedation – Intramuscular sedation (IM) is a technique where the relaxant medications are given through an injection to the muscle of the upper arm or thigh.
IV Sedation – With this treatment, sedative medications are given to our patients intravenously. You won’t be completely asleep, but you most likely won’t remember your dental treatment because you’ll be so relaxed.

3. How Long Will It Last?
The length of the effects of the medication will differ depending on the sedation method used:
Inhalation Sedation – Nitrous oxide wears off within a few minutes after the gas has stopped being used. Patients can return to school without any “dizzy” effect.
Oral Sedation – The medication effect will linger for a few hours after the treatment is over. You should schedule an appointment for your child in the afternoon and take half a day off of school.
IM Sedation – This can last – at most – up to 24 hours. Monitor your child after their dental work has completed, Keep an eye on them while the sedative wears off.
IV Sedation – Intravenous sedation will wear off within a day at most. You’ll also need to arrange for someone to keep an eye on your child as they rest at home after their procedure.

4. What Does Being Sedated Feel Like?
Most patients report being happy and relaxed. Some state they feel a warm, slightly euphoric feeling, and many say they don’t remember having their dental treatment because they are so at ease. It’s also very common to fall asleep while under sedation.

5. Will I Be Aware and In Control?
For many patients with dental anxiety, being in control of their environment is crucial. With inhalation, oral, and IM sedation, you will be completely relaxed, yet able to respond to requests and you’ll be in control.
There are different levels of sedation with IV treatment. With moderate sedation, you’ll be relaxed yet aware, but with deep sedation, you’ll be completely “under.” Either way, our staff will keep your child safe and sound.

We hope this gives you the additional information you are looking for, and brings you more at ease. If of course you have any other additional questions please do give us a call. We are happy to answer any other questions you have, and can help you schedule an appointment for your child.

Valentine’s Candy and Healthy Smiles

Keeping your child's teeth healthy this Valentine's DayValentine’s Day is here once again with its celebration of love, friendship, and chocolate. If your kids are still in elementary school, chances are they will come home with nearly as much sweets as they did last Halloween. They might also have an exciting class party that will include cookies, candies, and more sugary treats. This extra sugar can lead to cavities and other oral health problems.

It is important to teach your kids proper brushing and flossing habits so that they can prevent cavities regardless of the additional sugar. Here are some tips and tricks that you can teach your children to help them properly brush their teeth and to make tooth brushing more fun.

  • Brush your teeth for two whole minutes. It may be helpful to download a tooth brushing app that will keep track of the time for you.
  • Teach your kids to brush their teeth twice a day and after eating.
  • Remember to brush the tongue, too.
  • If you don’t have a toothbrush handy, rinse your mouth with water or chew sugar free gum to help loosen food particles.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day, or anytime you feel you have something stuck between your teeth.
  • Only use floss to remove food particles from your teeth—do not use toothpicks, hair, string, fingernails, etc.
  • Tooth brushing should never be a race. It is more important to thoroughly brush your teeth than to beat a sibling or a parent.
  • Healthy dental habits are just like eating healthy or exercising regularly. It is important to follow them from an early age!
  • Turn brushing into a game by letting your child take turns brushing your teeth or the teeth of a beloved stuff animal or doll as well as their own.
  • Go to the store together and pick a toothbrush with their favorite character.
  • Find a kid friendly toothpaste that is a flavor your kids enjoy, so they will be more likely to brush their teeth.

If you would prefer to have a dental health professional teach your child how to brush your teeth, set up an appointment with Dr. Hines today. During your scheduled appointment with your Columbus pediatric dentist, we will review proper brushing and flossing techniques for healthy teeth at any time during the year but especially around Valentine’s Day.

National Children’s Dental Health Month

February is all about focusing on protecting our children’s smiles, which is why we celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month. The rates of early childhood dental decay are always increasing, signaling to parents everywhere how important it is to take better care of your little one’s teeth. Many children worldwide struggle with undiagnosed dental decay, living with teeth that are painful, unsightly, and dangerous to their overall health. Fortunately, there is a lot that parents can do to ward off early childhood dental decay. Here are a few ways you can help your child’s teeth to stay healthy.

Tips for Early Childhood Dental Care

National Children's Dental Health Month

  • Give Your Child Enough FluorideFluoride, a naturally occurring element, helps to strengthen dental enamel on a microscopic level so that dental decay is less likely to occur. To help your child’s teeth stay healthy and strong, check to see if your local water supply is fluoridated, and then offer your child tap water. If your local water isn’t fluoridated, talk with your child’s dentist about offering fluoride drops.
  • Focus on Daily RoutinesThe longer plaque sits on your children’s teeth, the more likely it is to turn into tartar, which can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease. To prevent these problems, focus on your child’s daily dental hygiene routine by helping them to brush and floss carefully.
  • Don’t Miss Regular Dental CheckupsFinding dental problems early is crucial to protecting your child’s smile, which is why you should never miss dental checkups. Schedule regular dental checkups every six months and focus on attending these essential appointments. By seeking preventive dental care, you can proactively treat early dental cavities, saving time and money.
  • Consider Dental SealantsDental sealants, which are clear plastic shields that are painted onto the teeth, help to protect the teeth from bacterial acids and cavities. Effective for as long as ten years, dental sealants can help your child’s teeth to stay healthy and strong.

Make An Appointment for Your Child Today

To keep your child’s teeth clean and healthy, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends bringing your child in for a well check by the time they are one or whenever their first tooth breaks through, whichever occurs first. If you know that your children are due for a dental visit, schedule an appointment with your favorite pediatric dentistry office in Columbus, Ohio. At Hines Little Smiles, we are completely dedicated to keeping your child comfortable and happy during appointments. Schedule your child’s appointment today!

One Year Older: Proper Dental Care Throughout Childhood

happy new year from Hines Little smiles

It’s a New Year, and all of us at Hines Little Smiles would like to challenge our patients and their parents to make 2017 all about better oral healthcare. A daily focus on good oral hygiene is essential for keeping your teeth and your body healthy, which is why we want to talk about each stage of your child’s dental development and how you can encourage better oral hygiene practices.  Here is a brief guide for how to help your child to avoid cavities and keep their smile shiny and bright.

Infant’s Mouths

Good dental care begins before your little one develops their first teeth. Because oral bacteria and milk residue can accumulate in the mouth, the gums should be wiped down with a clean, moist piece of gauze daily.

Children Younger Than 3

Your child should meet with their dentist when they break their first tooth, or by the time they turn one year old—whichever comes first. After your child develops teeth, you should brush their teeth twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush and a dallop of fluoride toothpaste that is about the size of a grain of rice. Make sure that your child understands the importance of proper rinsing and always keep toothpaste out of reach.

Kids Older than 3

Teach your child how to floss as soon as they have two teeth that touch. Brush your child’s teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste twice a day until you feel that they can brush safely without swallowing the toothpaste. When they are old enough to take care of their own teeth, talk with your child regularly about proper oral hygiene and the importance of avoiding cavities. Bring your child in for regular dental appointments every six months to protect their dental health.

Dental Care for Teens

Proper orthodontic care is essential for helping your teen to stay confident and avoid gingivitis. Talk with the clinicians at Hines Little Smiles to see if your teen needs orthodontic care. Continue encouraging proper oral hygiene and bringing your teen in for regular checkups.  

Schedule Your Child’s Next Checkup Today

If it has been awhile since your child’s last checkup or if you simply want to brush up on proper dental hygiene practices, call Hines Little Smiles today to schedule an appointment. Our Columbus pediatric dentistry office is dedicated to making parents and children alike feel comfortable and welcome, all while addressing complex oral hygiene issues with the latest technologies. We look forward to meeting your family.

Happy New Year From Hines Little Smiles

Happy New Year from Hines Little Smiles

Happy New Year to you and your kids from Hines Little Smiles! Our family of pediatric dentists and staff look forward to serving you in the coming year. With each New Year, your child’s smile is dependent on a consistent preventive routine. Here are some ways you can help your kids have a healthy and happy smile in the coming months.


If you haven’t yet, now is always a good time to begin teaching your kids the habits of a healthy smile. Not only will it help them maintain good dental health, but allow them to get into the habit of preventive dental care as they grow older.  

First, brush twice a day. With smaller children still developing motor skills, you will need to assist them with this or even demonstrate. Children usually need help until about 6-7 years old. A toothbrush appropriate to their age is used to remove bits of food that may have become lodged between teeth. Brushing will also help loosen and remove plaque and tartar buildup. Be sure that your child is brushing in the morning and the evening before going to bed using light circular motions. Spend two minutes brushing, with particular attention on the back molars. Replace the toothbrush every 3-4 months or when it starts to show signs of wear.


You should start flossing your child’s teeth once per day between the ages of 2-6, or as soon as their teeth start fitting together. Even when they still have their primary teeth, flossing is vital to keeping cavities at bay.

Go Light on the Candy

Certain candies and foods are particularly harmful to teeth. Sticky or chewy candies can rip out fillings. Hard candies can create problems because they keep sugar in the mouth for a long time. Sour candies can also be harmful because of the large amount of acid they contain, which can wear down tooth enamel. Sugary drinks like sodas and fruit juices are loaded with sugars and can cause tooth decay. If your child does consume any of these things (which they are certainly likely to do!) don’t fret. Daily brushing and flossing will help remove the sugar and acid buildup. But remember, moderation is key.

Regular Dentist Visits

Bi annual dental office visits play an important role in keeping teeth healthy. Not only do they give the dentist and hygienist a chance to clean and polish the teeth, they can also give your dentist a heads up if there are any potential problems.  To get your kid’s dental health on track this year, reach out to our pediatric dental practice in Columbus, OH. To arrange a dental visit and cleaning, call us at (614) 423-6857 or schedule an appointment here. We look forward to partnering with you to give your child the best dental care possible. From your friends at Hines Little Smiles, may you have a joyous start to the New Year!

Happy Holidays from Hines Little Smiles!

We at Hines Little Smiles would like to wish you and your children happy holidays, and to thank you and our wonderful staff for a great year.  We appreciate everything you do to help make dentistry fun for kids, and to keep Hines Little Smiles running! We’re also glad to have had the chance to give back this holiday season through our annual Angel Tree Program. We’ve collected donations to help children who might not otherwise have a Christmas this year, and will be wrapping up tomorrow, December 16th, in order to get the gifts to these families in time for the holiday.

As you enjoy your own holiday traditions, remember that you need to care for your teeth, even on vacation. Make sure that you are giving your teeth the care they need to prevent cavities, broken teeth, and more.  Here are a few tips to keep your teeth in tip top shape this Christmas season:

  • Continue to brush and floss your teeth twice a day
  • Remember to bring your toothbrush with you when traveling
  • If you are at a party or event where you cannot brush your teeth after eating, rinse your mouth with water or chew sugar free gum to clean food residue off of your teeth
  • Limit sugary snacks, and replace them with tooth-healthy treats
  • Consider giving your children an electric toothbrush with their favorite character as a stocking stuffer
  • Be careful when eating candy canes and other hard candies as you can accidentally chip a tooth
  • Remember that teeth are not multitools, and use scissors to open packages instead of your teeth
  • Have the contact information of your pediatric dentist in Columbus, Ohio on hand, just in case you have a tooth emergency

Thank you again for choosing Hines Little Smiles. We wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season, and a happy new year!

Mitzi L. Hines, DDS
Ashley E. Anderson, DDS
Christy A. Vollmar, DDS

What Do Sealants Do for My Child?

Preventing tooth decay is absolutely essential, especially for kids. Because children can have a hard time explaining a toothache, tooth decay is often left untreated—which can make it hard for your child to eat and talk properly. Fortunately, you can help protect your child from tooth decay by having dental sealants applied to their teeth.

Dental sealants are made from non-toxic plastic that is painted directly onto the molars. Sealants are completely clear and not noticeable, allowing your child to smile with confidence. Sealants are designed to act as a barrier between your child’s natural tooth surface and the food particles and acids in their mouth, protecting their teeth from decay.

Getting Dental Sealants is Easy

If you are worried about subjecting your child to a difficult dental procedure, you shouldn’t be. Dental sealants are easy to apply and well tolerated by children. After the teeth are treated for underlying problems, they are cleaned, flossed, and polished carefully. Next, a mild etching solution is painted onto the teeth to improve adhesion between the tooth and the sealant. After about 15 seconds, this compound is cleaned off of the teeth, and the sealant is dropped or painted onto the teeth. Sealants cure in seconds with a gentle handheld UV light, and children can eat and talk normally immediately following the procedure.

Proven Benefits of Dental Sealants

There is a reason that Hines Little Smiles and other Columbus pediatric dentistry practices swear by dental sealants for children.  In addition to reducing the risk of cavities in molars by a staggering 80%, dental sealants are also capable of lasting as long as 10 years. Sealant material also helps to smooth out biting surfaces, making brushing and flossing easier and preventing plaque and tartar accumulation. Also, since most dental insurance companies cover the cost of dental sealants as a preventive care measure, they are incredibly affordable and cost effective.

For more information about scheduling an appointment for your child to receive dental sealants, make an appointment with Hines Little Smiles today. Our entire office is dedicated to making dentistry a fun, happy place for kids of all ages. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your little one.