Is Mouthwash Safe for Children?

Mouthwash can be a great tool in helping you and your child get clean teeth and gums. Different types of mouthwash have different benefits. Some benefits can include preventing tooth decay, reducing plaque. But there are just so many products on the market right now and it can be so hard to know what to look for in a mouthwash. It’s also hard to know what is safe and effective for your littles ones. We’ve taken some of the work out for you and outlined some of the things to look for when trying to find the right mouthwash.

  • What are your dental goals? Are you looking to clear up bad breath? Do you want to reduce tooth decay? If you know what you want from a mouthwash then you’ll be better prepared to choose the right one for you and your family.
  • Does Fluoride help? Mouthwash with fluoride is designed to reduce tooth decay and makes teeth more resistant to cavities but it doesn’t remove plaque and shouldn’t be used as a replacement for brushing or flossing. According to the dental group you can start brushing your child’s teeth with a pea shaped size of toothpaste containing fluoride between the ages of 3-6. So mouthwash with fluoride in it is okay for children as long as you follow the instructions on the bottle and ask your dentist if you have any questions.
  • Is your mouthwash kid friendly? There are a number of mouthwashes out there that are specifically designed for children. They are usually alcohol free and come in flavors that kids enjoy. Mouthwash for kids usually helps prevent cavities. Because it contains no alcohol it is easier on the mouth than cosmetic mouthwash. As a general rule, mouthwash should not be used by children under the age of six. However, in some cases a dentist may prescribe mouthwash for a children younger than six.
  • Does your mouthwash have the ADA seal of approval? The American Dental Association, or ADA, tests oral products for safety and effectiveness. To attain the seal of approval, a product must prove to be safe and effective. We suggest always looking for products that have the ADA seal. This will give you comfort in knowing the mouthwash you choose for your child is safe and benefits their oral health.

At Hines Little Smiles we care about the questions that you may have like “Is mouthwash safe for my child?” It is important to us that you and your child are comfortable and find a pediatric dental home you can trust. Our Pediatric Dentists put kids first. We listen, educate and care about the kids. We hope you will choose Hines Little Smiles and look forward to meeting you!

Pediatric Dental Care Tips for New Parents

Being a new parent is an overwhelming and beautiful thing. You can be so excited and so scared all at once. It’s quite the feeling. At the beginning there seems like there is so much information to take in and you worry that you may not be able to remember it all. Don’t worry. It will all come in time and all you need to worry about is how to take care and love that precious baby. One thing that you should not have to worry about is your child’s dental care needs. Here are some simple tips for new parents on how to keep your child’s smile as healthy as can be from an early age.

Begin an Oral Health Care Routine
You may wonder if you need to clean a baby’s mouth if they have no teeth yet. Well wonder no more because the answer is Yes! Baby’s first tooth usually will not come in until they are 8 months or older but it’s still so important to keep their mouth clean. You can do this by using a damp cloth and gently rubbing it over their gums. You may also choose to use a very soft, baby toothbrush. This choice is fine just remember to use very low amount of pressure and avoid upsetting their sensitive gums.

Establish Healthy Habits
If your child takes a bottle make sure you don’t let them go to sleep with it. This can cause baby bottle tooth decay. If you are worried about this please give our office a call and we can help. Once your child moves in to beginning solid foods introduce them to some mouth-healthy food that will help their body and smile. Soft foods like bananas, cooked sweet potatoes and avocado are a wonderful choice.

Find a Dental Home
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises parents to establish a dental home for their children before their first birthday. This is a perfect time to choose a comfortable dental home for your child. A pediatric dentist office like ours is the perfect place for your little one. We will be able to diagnose any issues that your child may have specific for their little mouths. Our friendly and child-centered office will make your child feels right at home which is the perfect way to introduce them into the dental world. While parenting can be overwhelming choosing a dentist should not be. Take comfort in knowing that at Hines Little Smiles we put the needs of your child first. Call our office today to schedule an appointment.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Prevention

Did you know that childhood cavities are the most common, chronic childhood disease? But, on the bright side, they are also almost entirely preventable. The first place to start is with your child’s baby bottle.

What is baby bottle tooth decay?

This sort of decay happens during infancy as you can tell by the name “baby bottle tooth decay.” It is usually noticed on the upper and lower front teeth, though other teeth may also get affected. This is caused due to prolonged contact with sugary substances or fluids including candy and chocolates, milk or formula given using bottes. There are high chances of tooth decay if your baby sleeps with a bottle in his or her mouth or if a bottle is used as a pacifier regularly. Tooth decay can also be caused due to lack of water intake by your baby (older than 6 months of age).

Keeping your infant cavity free!

Follow the recommendations below and you will be on your way to help keeping your infant cavity-free!

Don’t put sugary drinks in your child’s baby bottle

Putting fruit juice or sports drinks in your infant’s bottles is not recommended. High amounts of sugar can lead to tooth decay and cause more dental problems as their teeth begin to appear. Cavities in baby teeth can also lead to complications in adult teeth later on.

Wipe out their mouth after meals

With damp, clean cloth, wipe out your child’s mouth after each meal, liquid or solid. Doing this keeps their mouth free of sugar and other bacteria that can lead to cavities.

Do not send them to bed with a bottle

While a bottle may comfort your child it can be very damaging for their gums and developing teeth. When left in their mouth, sugar from breast milk, formula or milk can lead to infection and pain. Try to establish a bedtime routine that doesn’t involve a bottle. And let them have a drink of water before bed.

Don’t let them walk around with their baby bottle

As your child begins walking, they’ll also begin falling which is why you shouldn’t let newly mobile children walk with their bottle. Children fall easily, especially when they are learning how to walk. You can avoid this by not letting them walk around with a bottle and having them sit while they drink.

Regular checkups every six months

Establish a dental home early for your child before their first birthday. Familiarizing them with a pediatric dentist early on will help them get more comfortable visiting the dentist and keeping their teeth clean. Columbus Pediatric Dentist Dr. Hines and the Hines Little Smiles teams is a comfortable, friendly place to take your little ones. We are experienced and look forward to helping you find the best treatment needed. Contact us today!

Preparing for Dental Emergencies

Preparing for emergencies can be tough because they happen out of nowhere and have to be taken care of immediately. Having a plan for what you can do in case of an dental emergency may just make the difference between keeping or losing a tooth. If you as a parent or guardian are prepared and stay calm so will your children or those you are caring for. We have some basic steps that will help you to be prepared in case of a dental emergency.

Know Your Dental Home

The first step in being prepared for a dental emergency is to have a pediatric dentist office you can call home. Whether it’s a dental injury on the playground or at home, having a place you can call and be comfortable with is a good start. At Hines Little Smiles, we can be your dental home. We will help you feel cared for and supported during these emergencies if they ever come up.

The Most Common Dental Emergencies and What to Do When They Happen

● When a baby tooth is knocked out – Contact us immediately. Do not try and replant it, this could do damage to permanent teeth.

● When a permanent tooth is knocked out – Find it and carefully rinse the tooth with cool water. Do not use soap or try to scrub it. Next replace the tooth in the socket and hold it there with gauze or a clean washcloth. If doing this is not an option put the tooth in clean cup of milk, saliva or cool water. Contact our office immediately. The faster the treatment, the greater likelihood you have of saving the tooth.

● When you have a damaged or chipped tooth – Contact us immediately. Find any tooth fragments and place them into cold milk or water. Rinse the mouth with water and apply a cold compress to to reduce swelling (in the lip was injured). Prompt treatment is so important for preventing any infection and avoiding potential complications.

Take Preventative Measures

● If your child participates in sports they should always wear a mouthguard
● Always use a seat belt and car seats
● Childproof your home wherever possible
● Schedule regular dental check-ups

Planning for a dental emergency doesn’t need to be scary. With the right knowledge and preparation there is no need to worry. We at Hines Little Smiles are always here to help and are ready for your emergency calls. We can answer any questions you may have. Contact us today!

Managing Pediatric Dental Anxiety

The dentist can be a scary place for anyone. Especially for a child with anxiety. Some children enjoy going to the dentist office but for others it can truly be a terrifying thing that can cause actual physical responses and emotions.

As a parent it is important for you to know that dental anxiety is very common and is nothing to be ashamed of. Your child’s dental health is very important and their experience can impact the rest of their life. It can be hard as their parent to know what to do, but it is important to remember that pushing a stressed child to go to the dentist is not the best solution and will only make it worse. Here are some ideas that may help ease the burden of dental anxiety for you and your child experiencing it.

Start at a Young Age

Fear of the unknown can be one of the main reasons children feel so anxious about dental visits. The younger kids are when they have their first dental appointment, the calmer they usually are in the future. Getting a regular checkup schedule planned out is an excellent idea so they will know what to expect and be more at peace for their future cleanings.

Quality Time

Spending some quality time with your child and role playing scenarios that may take place at the dentist can help them to look at it as a fun and exciting experience. Also finding dental storybooks to read together is a wonderful way to prepare your child. Through colorful pictures and language that is easy for them to understand and having the main character go through a happy dental experience can also set their minds at ease about their upcoming visit.


Talk to your child about an upcoming dental visit. Telling them last minute will only make anxiety worse. Often telling them a little bit in advance will help you and them prepare together. However each child is different and it’s important to do what you feel is best for them. Talking to them about dental hygiene and making sure they brush their teeth on a regular basis is also a good way for them to be more comfortable in a dentist office environment. Brushing and flossing with them is a good way to lead by example.

It is important to find a friendly dental environment to take your children to, especially those little ones who have some anxiety about it. Hines Little Smiles is the place to go. With our friendly staff and vibrant office we are here waiting with our own smiles to help make your child’s dental visit a pleasant one and a place you will want to come back to over and over again. Contact us if you have any questions or request an appointment online!

Tips for Helping Your Child Stay Cavity Free

No child likes cavities, and getting a cavity filled has never been on their “favorite memory” list. Even though cavities are quite common in childhood, they are almost totally preventable! Here at Hines Little Smiles, we strive to make each visit pleasant, but working to prevent childhood cavities is definitely the best course of action for your child’s teeth. Here are some tips to keep your visits to our office simply about a check-up:

Build Strong Bones

Adding more dairy to young children’s’ diets help their bones become strong as they develop. Dairy also helps protect the enamel of young teeth by neutralizing acids that can cause damage. Choose simple and healthy dairy products to add to your meals, like milk and greek yogurt.

Start Early

Even though your baby may not have teeth, you can aid the teeth that will erupt by cleaning excess food off of the gums with a soft damp cloth.

Set a Good Example

When your child sees you care for your teeth, they’ll want to do the same “grown-up” thing. Brush and floss together, make a game of it, and keep it in the routine, even on busy nights. Helping them understand that oral hygiene is paramount to good health will help them their whole life.

Sugars and Starches

We don’t often think of sugar and starch doing the same thing, but when it comes to getting caught in the crevices of teeth, they act the same. Both will aid in the growth of bacteria and the formation of cavities, so try to avoid sugary treats and drinks, as well as foods high in starch.

It’s never too early…

…to find the right dentist. Pediatric dentists are specially trained to care for kids’ teeth, and we love what we do. We know it’s important to establish a relationship of trust with each child so that they feel safe and cared for at our office. Our doctors are experienced in caring for teeth in babies to adolescents, and we hope you’ll come experience how much fun the dentist’s office can be.
Schedule an appointment today to let us help your children learn to care for their teeth. Regular 6-month check-ups are a great way to keep cavities at bay!

Why See a Pediatric Dentist?

At Hines Little Smiles, we provide pediatric dentistry services, and we strive to create a fun, welcoming environment where children and families feel at ease. As your pediatric dentist in Columbus, we are committed to providing high-quality care and working with each child to help them have a healthy, happy smile.

There are many benefits for your children when they see a dentist who specializes in pediatric dentistry.

Our office is fun and colorful. We make sure to build a practice around kids and what they like. Our office is child-friendly. By taking your child to see a pediatric dentist, dental phobias are less likely to occur as the environment is created to be safe and comfortable for kids.

What’s different about a pediatric dentist?

Pediatric dentists are able to take care of the dental needs of infants, toddlers, elementary age children, and teenagers. Pediatric dentists take an extra two or three years of training after dental school. Along with dental training specifically about children’s oral health, pediatric dentists also study child psychology. This enables the professionals at our office to create an environment that is gentle and non-threatening for kids.

Pediatric dentistry is one of nine specialty areas that is recognized by the American Dental Association. Hines Little Smiles works with kids each day. This gives us the expertise to handle situations that arise when children become scared or have difficulties with dental procedures. We can provide individualized, specialized care as we are trained and experienced in working with children.

When should children start seeing a pediatric dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children go for their first appointment before they turn one, or about six months after their first primary tooth comes in. By taking your child in to the dentist at an early age, preventive care can begin. Also, children will become more accustomed to the dentist and be less stressed if they are use to regular appointments from such a young age.

Why should you take your child to see a pediatric dentist?

  • To ask questions about issues you’ve noticed with your child’s dental health.
  • To help foster a kid-centered, oral health routine at home.
  • To see if your child is at risk for cavities.
  • To receive preventive treatments such as fluoride.
  • To receive care and information on how your child’s teeth and jaw are growing.

Schedule an Appointment

Our staff is happy to help schedule an appointment time that works well with your schedule. Come see what sets our pediatric practice apart!

Halloween Candy & Cavities

Halloween Candy

Halloween trick-or-treating is a joy for many children, but it often comes with several concerns for parents. What type of candy are they going to come home with? Are they going to eat too much candy and cause irreparable damage to their teeth? Fortunately for parents our Pediatric dentist in Columbus has several ideas to keep cavities away after enjoying the candy.


Use Halloween and all the extra candy as one of those teaching moments for kids. Teach kids about the importance of brushing and flossing. Children need to learn about the amount of sugar in the candy and how it can lead to cavities and other problems for their oral health.

Keep the Treats at Bay

Another thing you can do is help kids to reduce the amount of treats they consume. Set a rule on how many treats they should be able to eat in a day. Once they have reached a certain number of treats, have them put the treats away for the day. Another way to help with limiting the treats is to have a small jar for each child and place only the allotted number of treats in each jar, keeping the large amounts of treats from being eaten all at once.

Brush Away the Sweets

When you are dealing with candy, it’s natural for children to want to eat them day and night. Candy can leave behind too much sugar, which can be breeding grounds for bacteria and plaque. One way to help your child with the brushing problems is by letting them select their own toothbrush. You might even try getting a Halloween themed toothbrush to remind them to brush frequently when they are eating candy. If your child does indulge in some sweets, you need to make sure they understand how to brush and floss their teeth. Candy can easily become lodged between teeth, making it easy for bacteria to start eating away at the enamel of the teeth.

Healthy Snacks

Children learn by example. If you want to help your kids, teach them the importance of a healthy, balanced diet. When kids become used to eating carrots as a snack, they may not have a strong desire to indulge on candy as much. Another option is to replace their candy with healthier snacks they enjoy.

The truth is, when it comes to candy, kids are always excited. If you teach your child how to brush and floss daily, it will aid in limiting the risk of cavities and other oral health concerns. Visit your Pediatric dentist, Hines Little Smiles, in Columbus, OH by scheduling an appointment for your child.

Back To School Dental Tips

Back to School is great to start creating better dental habits
At Hines Little Smiles, we are committed to providing high-quality care to each and every one of our patients. We understand that children might get nervous when coming to the dentist, and we realize that providing dental care to children is different than providing dental care to adults. Kids need a little extra attention and assurance to be put at ease. We provide a comfortable, kid-friendly environment so you can trust your child is getting treated by a team that is committed to helping kids have a good dentist experience.

Back to school time is the perfect time to focus on helping kids make healthy, oral hygiene choices.

Now that school is back in session, it is a great time to think about health and establishing good habits for the school year. This includes getting back into a good oral hygiene routine. Teaching children to brush and floss each day before they go to school and to brush and floss before bed is a great habit to teach. This will help them establish and keep an oral hygiene regime as they grow older.

Also, back to school is a great time to think about scheduling an appointment for a check-up. Summertime is busy and full of many fun-filled activities. With school back in session and fall beginning, it’s a great time to come in and make sure your children’s teeth are still healthy after all of those summer treats.

We provide a kid-friendly, dentist office.

At Hines Little Smiles, we can provide check-ups, x-rays, fillings, and much more to children of all ages. It’s also a good idea to think about diet and how what your child eats can impact their oral hygiene. Making sure to pack healthy lunches with foods like carrots and not too many sweets can impact their oral health for the better. Thinking about packing lunches ahead of time as opposed to throwing together snacks last minute can lead to a better diet that has positive impacts on oral hygiene.

Now is a great time to schedule a back to school dentist appointment.

Hines Little Smiles provides pediatric dentistry services in Columbus, Ohio. Please give us a call to schedule an appointment. Our friendly, professional staff are also happy to answer any questions you might have about our practice and our dentists!

Healthy Snacks for Healthy Teeth

Healthy Snacks for Healthy Teeth from Hines Little Smiles in Columbus, OH
Dental care is important for your child’s overall health and wellness, which is why you might be concerned about packing tooth-friendly foods with their daily lunch. Although it might seem difficult to find foods that are just as healthy for their dental enamel and gums as they are for their body, the packing process doesn’t have to be intimidating—especially if you know what to look for. Here are a few great lunch ideas to protect your child’s dental health, along with some ideas for those after school snacks.   

Great Lunch Ideas

Whole Wheat Bread Sandwich with Lean Chicken

For a tasty meal that will fill up your child, pack a toasted whole wheat bread sandwich finished with mustard, mayonnaise, and lean chicken. Meals high in protein give your little one energy throughout the day, in addition to helping their body to rebuild cells and develop muscle. Additionally, whole grains act as a natural abrasive, rubbing away plaque and food particles.

Crisp Salads with Grilled Chicken

Salad is rich in Vitamin C, Calcium, folic acid, and Vitamin B, helping your child’s body to remineralize areas of dental enamel that have been damaged by bacterial acids. Adding protein like grilled chicken gives your child energy and helps their body to stay strong and healthy, and toppings like cheese, light dressings, and veggies help to keep the teeth clean and strong.

Turkey Roll-Ups

To combine the taste of delicious meats with the health benefits of leafy greens, make turkey roll-ups to put in your child’s lunch. By scrunching up some lettuce and veggies, wrapping a slice of turkey around it, and securing the entire bundle with a thin slice of carrot, you can create a fun-to-eat lunch that is incredibly healthy for your child’s teeth.

Healthy Snack Ideas

Carrots and Celery

Carrots and celery are naturally fibrous, allowing them to act like a miniature toothbrush as your child munches away. Offer carrots and celery sticks after school, or keep some fresh sticks in a plastic bag for a quick snack on the go.


Eating apples has been shown to increase your saliva levels, while simultaneously scrubbing away plaque and food particles. Although apples are naturally sweet and refreshing, they are much lower in sugar than other fruits, helping to ward off dental decay.

Schedule A Dental Checkup Before School Starts

Is your child or teen due for a routine dental exam? Hines Little Smiles specializes in offering comprehensive dental checkups to kids of all ages, creating a warm and welcoming environment, and providing top-notch dental care. Schedule your child’s next exam with a pediatric dentist in Columbus today to help them to start the school year off right