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Say No to Soda: Healthy Drinks for Kids

February 29, 2020 

Today's most popular carbonated drinks contain two ingredients that put you and your children at a greater risk for cavities: sugar and acid. The sugar in soda mixes with bacteria in your mouth, creating even stronger germs that wear away teeth over time. Even sugar-free sodas contain enough acid on their own to cause tooth problems, too. So, it's no wonder that drinking soda is one of the leading causes of tooth decay.

Luckily, soda isn't the only delicious beverage out there for your family. Healthy drinks for kids can satisfy their thirst and promote better dental health at the same time:

Tap Water

As a matter of fact, the best beverage you can give your children is tap water. Why? It usually has added fluoride, which helps ward off tooth decay by strengthening the enamel on their teeth. Water's zero-sugar content also makes it one of the healthiest drinks for kids available. It promotes neither tooth decay nor acid erosion.

Not every city or municipality adds fluoride to its tap, and tap water isn't great to drink everywhere you go. If the tap water in your area doesn't have added fluoride, or you think it doesn't taste very good, give your kids bottled water instead. Bottled water that contains between 0.6mg and 1.0 mg of fluoride per liter often lets you know with the message, "Drinking fluoridated water may reduce the risk of tooth decay," printed on its label. If the label doesn't provide any clues, we recommend calling the manufacturer and asking about its fluoride content.


Milk is another healthy drink option for kids that promotes good oral health. High in calcium and protein, milk is a good source of phosphorus, which helps to strengthen the enamel in your growing child's teeth just like fluoride. If your child won't drink plain milk, you can try adding a small amount of chocolate to it to enhance its flavor. Or, make a compromise by letting your child drink four ounces of chocolate milk and four ounces of plain milk at mealtime. If he is allergic or lactose intolerant, you can also serve no-sugar-added soy milk, fortified with calcium. The added calcium and lack of sugar can provide the same benefit to your family's dental well-being.


You might be surprised to see tea on the list of healthy drinks for kids. Although black tea can stain teeth and sugary iced teas facilitate tooth decay, plain and unsweetened tea can actually benefit your children's mouth. Tea contains polyphenols that help fight bacteria. It's definitely an acquired taste, so your child might not warm up to it at first. But if your child does enjoy the taste of (sugar-free) green or black tea, it's a good option for warming up on a chilly day. Using fluoridated tap water to make it is even better.

Fruit Juice

Juice, particularly 100-percent fruit juice, can have a healthy glow. When it comes to your family's teeth, however, it's best to treat juice as you would soda, and only offer it in moderation. We recommend no more than four to six ounces of 100-percent juice per day, and we also recommend only giving it to kids at mealtime. Keep in mind that whole fruits are usually a better option than juice.

Good beverage habits start at a young age. Water is always the most tooth-friendly pick, so encourage your kids to drink it as soon as they let you know they're thirsty.


Your Child Has Loose Baby Teeth: What Should You Do?

February 26, 2020

If your child has a loose baby tooth that is bothering him, you may wonder if you should try to pull it out or just wait for it to come out on its own. It may be tempting to simply pull the tooth from your child's mouth, but this is not always the best course of action. Here are some things to think about before you pull a loose tooth.

Why is it Loose?

A loose tooth doesn't always mean a permanent tooth is coming up. Kids sometimes knock their teeth out when playing or falling. If your child's tooth is knocked loose, you should make an appointment with Dr. Saggio or Dr. Polymeris to get it checked out because there can be a risk of infection or damage to the permanent tooth.

First in, First Out

Kids usually lose teeth in about the same order they get them. The front teeth go first, usually around age six or seven. When a permanent tooth starts coming in, the roots of the baby tooth dissolve until it is loose enough to fall out painlessly and with very little blood.

If the loose tooth in your child's mouth is not one that is ready to come out naturally, attempts to extract it may tug on its sensitive roots and cause unnecessary pain. If you're not sure why one particular tooth is loose, and it seems too early or out of sequence for your child, you may wish to contact one of our great dentists at Massapequa Family Dentistry.

Consider the Natural Way

The process of losing baby teeth is completely natural, so once you notice your child's baby teeth are loose and wiggly, let it happen. If the teeth are at the front of the mouth and your child is around the age of 6 or 7, there's probably nothing to worry about.

It’s fine to let your child wiggle a loose tooth. When the tooth is ready to go, it should fall out easily and with little bleeding. If your child is desperate to lose the tooth and it just won't come out, Drs. Saggio & Polymeris advise parents to fold a piece of clean tissue over the tooth and gently squeeze. The tooth should pop out right away.

However, if the tooth doesn't come out with a gentle squeeze, don't reach for string and stay away from doorknobs. Losing a baby tooth too early can affect the position of the permanent teeth. When a baby tooth is lost prematurely, a permanent tooth that's already erupted can shift into the empty space and become crooked.

Oral Care After a Baby Tooth Falls Out

If your child's baby tooth comes out cleanly, you can usually just wrap it up in a tissue and put it in a safe place for the tooth fairy. However, if your child has excessive bleeding or a blood condition, we recommend moistening a tea bag or a piece of gauze and asking your child to bite down on it. Tell your child not to pick at the affected area of gum and avoid the spot when brushing for the next two days. In addition, give them soft foods to eat, or mash up their food with a fork. If the bleeding continues for more than two hours, contact us immediately. 

Tips on Easing Your Child's Fears

As a parent, you may be excited that your child has arrived at the milestone of losing their first tooth, but for the child, it can sometimes be a scary experience. If your child is upset about a wiggly tooth or a gap where a tooth fell out, offer reassurance that nothing is wrong and that everyone loses their baby teeth. Remind your child that the tooth fairy loves baby teeth and gives out rewards for them. Additionally, if a tooth looks like it's about to come out, consider giving your child a small box and a tissue or a similar "tooth kit" to take to school to avoid losing the precious item. Losing baby teeth doesn't have to be scary. By following these tips, you can maintain smiles all around!
If you have any remaining questions or concerns about your child’s loose baby tooth, the best course of action is to contact us at (516) 735-6358 to schedule a consultation.

Teaching Your Children How To Brush And Floss

February 24, 2020

It is important to start oral care at an early age. Learning good oral hygiene habits at a young age is important for long-term oral health. Parents can teach their children how to brush and how to floss by taking some key steps.

When to Start Brushing

Good oral hygiene should begin at an early age. An infant's mouth can be cleaned after each feeding. Begin by cradling the head with one hand while using your free hand to wipe the baby's mouth with a clean wet gauze, wet cloth or xylitol wipe. A child's teeth should be brushed as soon as the first tooth erupts.

General Brushing Tips

  • Brush an infant's teeth by wetting a soft-bristled, age-appropriate toothbrush with water. If fluoride toothpaste is considered before the child's first birthday, it is best to first ask a dentist or pediatrician.
  • If fluoride toothpaste is used for children who have a moderate or high risk for tooth decay, apply a smear which is smaller amount of toothpaste than a pea-sized amount (less than 2 years old) and a pea-size amount (ages 2–5) to the toothbrush. Parents should brush the toddler's teeth in the bathroom while the child is watching the parent.
  • Children 6–8 years of age may be capable of brushing by themselves. Parents should inspect their child's teeth if they are unsure whether their child is missing certain areas in the mouth.
  • Encourage your child to brush at least twice a day, morning and night, with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Harder bristles may be too abrasive for young children.
  • Battery-powered toothbrushes can also be used to gently remove the sticky film, called plaque, from the teeth and gums. 
  • Your child's toothbrush should be replaced every three to four months, or sooner if it is worn out or frayed. It is also a good idea to replace the toothbrush after a cold or flu to avoid reintroducing germs associated with those conditions.
  • Toddler's (less than 2 years of age) should spit the toothpaste out as best they can after toothbrushing with parental guidance due to the fact that they are learning the expectoration (spitting out) process at this age and the additional of the fluoride will enhance tooth enamel to become stronger. Children (ages 2 to 5) can rinse with a small amount of water after toothbrushing.

Steps to Brushing and Flossing

Since young children may not know how to properly brush their teeth, parents should provide assistance. Parents can teach their children how to brush and floss by following these important steps:

How to Brush

  • Step 1: To properly brush children's teeth, the parent or child should angle a soft-bristled toothbrush at 45 degrees towards the gums of the upper and lower teeth.
  • Step 2: The toothbrush should be moved gently in a back-and-forth motion with short strokes along the teeth and gums. This technique should be continued along every tooth's interior and exterior surface in a similar way.
  • Step 3: The tip of the brush should be placed in an upright position to reach behind the front teeth on the top and bottom.
  • Step 4: Brush the tongue to remove bacteria on the surface.

When Children Should Floss

Children should start flossing when tooth surfaces are next to each other. It is important to floss at least once a day. Bacterial plaque and food can settle between the teeth, which can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and halitosis. The tongue should also be brushed to remove bacterial plaque.

How to Floss

  • Step 1: Hold a short length of floss between the thumb and index finger, twining it around one finger at each end to gain better control. Be careful not to apply too much pressure when inserting the floss between the child's teeth.
  • Step 2: Adjust the floss into a 'C' shape curve around each tooth and slide it up and down gently along the side of the tooth and under the gumline.
  • Step 3: A new section of floss should be used for each tooth to avoid reinsertion of food and plaque.
  • Step 4: An interdental brush can be used to clean between tooth surfaces that have space.

Life-Long Continuation

Regular dental visits can and should begin as early as six months after the first tooth erupts or after the child's first birthday. When a child is taught a new skill at an early age, he is likely to continue this behavior throughout adulthood. Teaching proper brushing and flossing techniques is important for developing good oral hygiene habits.


Why Do We Celebrate Valentine's Day Anyways?

February 14, 2020

We all know how much Valentine’s Day means to us in our personal lives and as a society, but so few of us think of the man to whom the holiday owes its origins: St. Valentine. Who was he and why don’t we talk about him nearly as much as we should?

Part of it has to do with the unfortunately dark origins of Valentine’s Day, all centered around St. Valentine’s acts of love that ran contrary to the official policies of the Roman Empire around the year 270 A.D. During the reign of Claudius II, also known as Claudius the Cruel, Rome had engaged in many unpopular military campaigns that resulted in numerous casualties. As Enlistments in the Roman legions declined, Emperor Claudius II concluded that it was because Roman men had become too attached to their wives and families to join the army. To combat the problem, the emperor banned all marriages and engagements in Rome.

However, an early Christian priest named Valentine married couples in secret in direct defiance of the emperor’s orders. When Emperor Claudius learned of Valentine’s secret weddings, he sentenced Valentine to be clubbed to death and beheaded. According to legend, prior to his execution, Valentine had left a note to the jailer’s daughter, signing it “From your Valentine”, which is the direct inspiration for Valentine’s Day cards today. After his death, Valentine was officially declared a saint by the Catholic Church.

While St. Valentine’s story is tragic and influential, it should be mentioned that, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of 14 February.” As has happened with many historical figures from antiquity that have achieved legendary status, it’s possible that elements of all three St. Valentines became intertwined over the centuries as the holiday that we know today came into existence.

But just how did the holiday itself form? In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius I officially declared that February 14 become Valentine’s Day, thus merging with and putting an end to the original pagan holiday known as Feast of Lupercalia, celebrated at around the same time of year. This was a common practice in the early centuries of Christianity; as the faith spread across Europe, religious observances were set to occur at the same time as preestablished pagan holidays to better integrate Christianity into the consciousness of early pre-Christian Europeans.

It wasn’t until the 1300s that people started to associate February 14th as a romantic holiday, possibly because it marked the beginning of mating season for birds. The tradition of exchanging cards and gifts caught on in Great Britain in the 1700s and soon spread to America. Today, it is estimated that 1 billion cards, 35 million chocolates and 220 million roses will be exchanged on Valentine’s Day. It’s also estimated that 6 million couples will get engaged.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your loved ones from all of us here at Massapequa Family Dentistry!

7 Signs You Need a Dental Checkup

In General  * February 1, 2020

It was inventor Benjamin Franklin who wisely stated, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” This quote applies to almost every field and area of interest, including dentistry. People avoid a dental checkup for a variety of reasons and increase the risk of causing more damage to their teeth. Here are seven reasons why you may be due for a checkup...


You Are Experiencing Toothaches

The American Dental Association, ADA, explains that toothaches can involve pain in the mouth or jaw that will “usually indicate a cavity," but, "can also signal gum disease.” A toothache is a symptom of various dental diseases and means that one should get his or her teeth looked at by a professional dentist. An individual experiencing a toothache for more than a day will want to seek dental treatment as soon as possible. Since a toothache has a variety of causes, it can be difficult to treat without a professional consultation first by Dr. Saggio or Dr. Polymeris.

You Have Sensitive Teeth

As with many of the signs and symptoms on this list, if the symptoms only last for a day or less, then it may not be serious. Sensitive teeth occur when an individual has trouble consuming hot or cold beverages. The ADA explains that sensitive teeth can result in “tooth decay, fractured teeth, worn down fillings, gum disease, worn down tooth enamel or an exposed tooth root due to gum recession.” Sensitive teeth can make it difficult to continue a regular schedule as even the simple action of drinking cold water can cause pain.

Bleeding Gums

If the gums bleed on a regular basis, seek a professional dental checkup as soon as possible. The ADA explains that this can be a sign of gingivitis. However, in other cases, a patient can also cause bleeding gums by brushing too hard. A dentist or hygienist can help to determine the cause of the bleeding gums and offer the best treatment.

Sores in the Mouth

The ADA states that oral sores can include “canker sores, cold sores, leukoplakia and candidiasis.” A dentist can help figure out the cause of the sore and offer the best treatment method. If a sore lasts more than a week, schedule an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible.

It Has Been More Than 6 Months Since The Last Visit

Has it been over six months since the last dental checkup? If this is the case, then a dentist appointment at our office is even more critical. A dentist can clean between the teeth and discover the signs of infection before it can spread.

You Have Chronic Bad Breath

Bad breath once in a while is normal since there are numerous causes of bad breath from certain foods to poor dental hygiene. However, with the cases in which a patient has bad breath for several days despite proper hygiene, the patient will need professional dental care.

Previous Dental Work Failing or Broken Teeth

A patient, who had any form of dental work done in the past, from a filling to a dental implant, will want to keep an eye on that area if he or she feels pain where the work was done. People believe that once they get dental work, they will not have to worry about their teeth ever again. While any sort of dental work will allow the patient to eat what he or she likes, there is still a chance the restoration can come loose or the tooth can break if the patient is not careful. When this happens, a patient should schedule a dental appointment immediately to take care of the problem and prevent it from getting worse!

If you believe that you have a dental issue or would like to schedule a checkup and cleaning at Massapequa Family Dentistry, call us today at (516) 735-6358.


When Was The Last Time You Visited The Dentist?

In General  * January 27, 2020

Some people go to the dentist religiously while for others life can get in the way and time just passes us by.  If it’s been more than 6 months since your last visit, now is the time to make an appointment.  Regardless of why you haven’t been to the dentist, we can help. 




Following are the top 4 reasons we typically hear from patients in regards to why they avoid dental visits.  Do any of these sound familiar?

Anxiety or Fear of the Dentist:  Some of us have had bad childhood experiences or even a dental procedure that’s gone wrong that has led to our dental anxiety or dental phobia.  Regardless of the reason there are a number of us who just don’t like going to the dentist.

We Can Help.  Prior to coming into the office we’ll do a phone consultation to understand your specific concern, anxiety or fear.  There are many things we can do for you, including but not limited to:

(1)  Visiting the office just to meet the team and discuss your options with Dr. Saggio or Dr. Polymeris, our Nassau County, NY dentists.    

(2)  Prescribing an anti-anxiety drug for the night before to ensure you get a good night sleep.                             

(3)  Providing pain-free dentistry using the latest techniques and technologies.                                                     

(4)  Providing nitrous oxide sedation, literally feeling like you are on cloud nine throughout the visit.

Cost:  Many people put off their appointments because they have no insurance or they are in no position to take on an additional expense.  The truth is, putting off your cleaning or any potential dental work typically increases your financial risk not to mention your health.

We Can Help.  Each person’s situation is different, we have a number of financial options we can review with you.  In addition, you will always be provided with a treatment plan (regardless if it’s for a filling or just a continuation of your cleanings) and the options associated with that plan.  We will work with you to accommodate the challenges that life sometimes throws at us.

Too Busy:  We do live differently in New York; things move at a much more rapid pace and there is a constant competition between our work and family obligations.  Because of the pace and demands, we often put taking care of ourselves at the bottom of the list.

We Can Help.  Our office is known not only for the quality of care but for keeping on schedule. We have flexible hours and depending upon your treatment needs we will always find a way to accommodate your busy schedule. 

Being Lectured:  Nobody likes to be lectured!  For a lot of us, we know what to do and when we don’t do it, we have our reasons.  The last thing we want to hear is about the importance of flossing or about how if we don’t take better care of our teeth we run a greater risk of gum disease.  We don’t need to take time out of our day and pay someone to lecture us.

We Can Help.  We do not lecture.  We do however spend time to educate you about what’s important to your oral health and lay out your various options.  For those patients who aren’t as vigilant with their flossing or overall home care we can help accommodate those lifestyles by increasing the number of professional cleanings.

If you haven’t been to the dentist in the last 6 months, please give us a call today at (516) 735-6358, we can help!


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