The Effects of Soda on Children’s Teeth | Hoboken Pediatric Dentist

Making sure that your child brushes and flosses his or her teeth every day are all good, but all of that goes to waste if you can’t keep them off the soda and other sugary, acidic drinks.

From sports drinks to energy drinks, and artificial fruit juices, as well as sodas, all these aren’t good for your child’s mouth.

Sugar + Acid = Bad For Teeth

The ever-present bacteria found in our mouth love to feast on sugar as much as we do. And, sugary, acidic drinks contain lots of them. The more we drink soda and other sugary drinks, the more the bacteria have to eat, which creates an acid byproduct that’s strong enough to erode teeth.

Keep in mind, no one is really completely free of harmful oral bacteria. It doesn’t matter how often you brush your teeth, it’s always going to be there. However, maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in the mouth is key to minimizing decay and oral problems.

The best way to do that is to avoid soda and other sugary, acidic drinks.

What Acid Does To The Teeth

The sugar, though, is just one part of the equation. What makes these drinks even worse is that they’re loaded with acid! The acid in soda is worse than sugar in that it can erode teeth without the help of oral bacteria. The attack lasts for around 20 minutes each and each time your child takes another sip, it starts all over again.

For this very reason, diet and “sugar-free” sodas are just as harmful to your child’s teeth as regular soda.

Is One Glass A Day Okay?

Of course, being that sodas are so ingrained in our daily lives, it’s hard to say completely no to them. So, you may wonder, just how often is it okay to drink soda?

There aren’t really enough studies to show just how much is okay. However, there are studies that show that there are cases where it’s okay to drink soda. For example, when you have a tummy ache, drinking soda can actually help. But, other than that, most studies agree on how harmful it is for your teeth and overall health and how you should avoid it entirely.

Is one glass a day, okay? Not really. Although just how much you let your child drink is completely up to you. But, just imagine how much you or your child’s teeth and health would be better off if you replaced soda and other sugary, acidic drinks with milk or water.

Early Dental Care Goes A Long Way

Curbing the soda isn’t just about cavities. For example, enamel erosion can lead to tooth sensitivity, while excess sugar can cause gum disease. The latter is the biggest cause of tooth loss among adults.

As hard as it is, teaching your child to take care of his or her smile early on and steering them away from sugary, acidic drinks, puts them on a path that lets them enjoy healthy and beautiful teeth later on in their lives.

Don’t forget to take you child in for regular checkups and cleanings. Call for an appointment today at 201-795-2111 or visit the website at

Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces | Hoboken Dentist

Traditional orthodontics, better known as metal braces, have long been the go-to option for getting teeth straightened. However, over the years, newer methods have been developed, and one of these is Invisalign.

What Makes Them Different? 

When patients follow the dentist’s advice, both Invisalign and traditional braces have the same end results. However, they vastly differ from each other when it comes to how they straighten teeth. Traditional braces use brackets, wires, and rubber and need to be adjusted every once in a while. Meanwhile, Invisalign uses a set of clear aligners that are worn one after the other in a very particular order over two years. More importantly, with Invisalign, patients don’t have to visit the dentist as often as if they had traditional braces.

How Does Invisalign Exactly Work? 

Invisalign was first manufactured by Align Technology in San Jose, California, and began sale in the United States in 1999. Since then, the technology has been used by dentists in more than 45 countries to straighten teeth.

The process starts with a consultation with an orthodontist and general dentist. The first thing they do is take photos and X-rays of the teeth. Then, they take impressions of the mouth. Also, if necessary, they will recommend removal any problem tooth or teeth so treatment can begin.

After preparing everything, the clear aligners are fabricated as a set. The patient will then have to wear each aligner in a particular order to straighten teeth. The average treatment time is around 13 to 14 months.

Are They Better Than Traditional Braces? 

The main difference is that unlike traditional braces, the clear aligners can be removed at any time. Patients are recommended to wear the aligner for 21-22 hours every day. However, it’s also recommended to remove when eating, brushing and flossing teeth.

Being removable makes clear aligners extremely convenient for a lot of reasons. For one, patients don’t have to worry about what they eat. All they have to remember is to put them back on after. Plus, patients don’t have to worry about having to change their usual brushing and flossing habits. This is unlike with traditional braces, where patients have to learn more elaborate methods just to take proper care of them.

Is Invisalign Treatment Expensive? 

The initial costs of Invisalign treatment are higher than traditional orthodontics. However, the actual costs may end up more or less the same. This is after factoring in the costs of frequent visits to the dentist with traditional braces for repairs and adjustments. Also, you’ll have to remember that most patients end up getting retainers anyway after the initial treatment.

It doesn’t matter whether you go with traditional braces or with the newer Invisalign treatment. What’s important is that you get your teeth straightened. Not only will this help improve your smile, but it will also help improve your overall health!

Schedule an appointment  today to know more about Invisalign and whether they are a better option for you or not. Call Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111 or


What Will Happen At My Child’s First Dental Visit?

As your child’s baby teeth slowly start erupting one by one, it’s time that you start thinking about taking him to his or her first visit to the dentist. Although this has more to do about you, the parent, being informed than your child’s actual dental care, visiting the dentist as early as a child’s first birthday or first tooth, whichever comes first, helps establish an oral care routine that can last a lifetime.

How To Prepare

Of course, you can’t just go to the dentist without really planning for it. Doing so will only end up doing more harm than good, and your child might even end up dreading visits to the dentist if it doesn’t go well. So, what you should do is first make sure that your child has eaten and rested well enough around the time of the appointment. Do prepare a list of questions you want to ask the dentist, as well as a list of your child’s current medications.

It’s not surprising for the first visit for extremely young child to not involve any examination at all. Some dentists may actually just let you and your child look around the place and allow the baby to associate the dentist’s office as something positive to make future visits much easier. However, older children may experience some anxiety over a dental appointment. In such cases, try easing his or her worries by showing him television shows that depict dentists positively to help the child visualize what the actual visit will be like. Reading books about dentists may also help.

What To Expect

The first visit will typically involve a discussion between the parents and dentists on proper gum and tooth care for infants and toddlers. The dentist will also likely teach you about proper pacifier use, and the importance of proper nutrition. Dentists may also tell you how important it is for you to NOT let your child fall asleep while bottlefeeding, especially at night. Other things that the dentist might teach you about during the visit are proper brushing techniques, as well as what toothbrush and toothpaste to use.

At the end of the appointment, your dentist should give you a chance to ask any questions you might have. Do make sure that you take this time to clarify any confusion you might have regarding your child’s oral care.


Do remember that you, the parents, are your child’s first line of defense against oral problems. And, the more informed you are about how to take proper care of your child’s teeth, the better the chances that your child ends up enjoying a healthy and beautiful smile for the rest of his or her life.

Make an appointment today with Hoboken Pediatric Dentistry by calling 201-795-2111 or make an appointment through the website at

Can Children Get Gum Disease?

Most people know that bleeding gums aren’t a good sign in adults. But, most don’t know that it’s just as bad of a sign in children. In fact, children are just as prone to gun infection and inflammation as adults are. Even worse, gum disease in children carries very serious consequences down the line.

So, for the parents out there, do know that your child is at a very real risk of gum disease.

Are Bleeding Gums Always A Bad Sign?

While it’s definitely not a good thing, bleeding gums is not always a sign that your son or daughter has gum disease. Case in point, he or she may just be brushing or flossing too aggressively, causing the gums to bleed. This is why it’s recommended for parents to supervise and assist their children until they are old enough. Do remember that gently brushing teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing slowly is more than enough. Also, if your child flosses every day and then suddenly skips for a few days, a bit of bleeding is to be expected as soon as he or she starts flossing again.

What Causes Gum Disease In Children?

Gum disease affects children for the same reason it affects adults and the elderly. This means that lack of proper oral hygiene is still the main culprit. Of course, genetics also play a key role, as some people are just genetically more susceptible to gum disease, despite practicing aggressive oral care habits.

Keep in mind that children are a special case in that gum disease doesn’t just cause pain and infection in them. It also affects their growth and can have serious consequences on their speech and jaw development, especially if left to progress and not treated immediately.

Symptoms To Watch Out For

The earliest symptoms of gum disease are puffy, swollen or reddish gums. Such gums are much more sensitive and often bleed quite easily during brushing and flossing. Do also watch out for chronic bad breath that doesn’t go away with regular brushing or flossing. If not caught early enough, your child’s teeth may to wiggle and become loose, and around the same time, the gums may develop pockets that make for ideal breeding grounds for bacteria such as plaque.

Prevention and Treatment

Ideally, you’ll want to prevent your child from getting gum disease, and the best way to do so is to encourage good dental hygiene. You should always remind our child to brush his or her teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once. You should also make it a point to visit the dentist every six months for cleanings and checkups. By establishing a habit early on and setting an example, you will have put your child on the right path to enjoying a lifetime of good oral health.

Unfortunately, you can’t always prevent gum disease, so the next best thing you can do is to make sure that it’s caught as early as possible. Frequent dental checkups and cleaning increase the likelihood of gum disease being caught early on. Also, as soon as you notice your child’s gums becoming puffy, swollen o reddish, and/or notice any signs of bleeding, don’t hesitate to visit your dentist immediately.

Ultimately, you are your child’s first line of defense against gum disease. And, by teaching your child how to take care of his or her teeth right now, you make sure that your child gets to enjoy having a healthy set of pearly whites for years to come.

For more information on children’s oral health call Dr. Flynne Weingarten at Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. Also visit the website at

Why Are My Teeth So Sensitive? | Hoboken Dentist

If you find yourself constantly avoiding hot or cold food and beverages because it is painful, then it may be time to do something about it.

What Is Dentin Hypersensitivity?

Dentin, which contains microscopic tubules filled with tiny nerve endings, make up most of the insides of your teeth. Protecting it is a hard outer layer of enamel and cementum.

Dentin hypersensitivity or nerve irritation is a sharp dental pain that often occurs whenever the dentin loses much of the enamel or cementum. Without its natural protective coating, the tiny nerve endings become vulnerable to being exposed to hot, cold, acidic or sticky foods, which can make for quite the painful experience.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

Many things can cause tooth sensitivity, such as:

  • Using a hard toothbrush can wear the enamel out and cause tooth sensitivity. So too can aggressively brushing teeth. This is why many dental experts recommend using a soft-bristled tooth.
  • Regularly drinking highly acidic foods and beverages, such as soda and juices, can also cause tooth erosion and lead to sensitive teeth.
  • Tooth decay, broken teeth and worn leaky fillings can also cause the dentin of your tooth to be exposed.
  • Tooth grinding can wear the teeth enamel out and lead to tooth sensitivity.
  • It is also very common for patients who recently received dental treatment, especially with procedures such as crowns, fillings, and tooth bleaching to have sensitive teeth. This, however, is temporary, and will usually go away in a few days’ time.

Visiting the Dentist

The best way to find relief from your pain and discomfort is to visit the dentist. Be sure to tell your dentist when you started noticing the pain and let the dentist know if you’ve done something to make yourself feel better, such as applying warm compresses or anything else.

After a couple of questions and doing preliminary examination, the dentist will then treat the underlying cause. Treatment can vary from something as simple as fixing a cavity or applying an in-office fluoride gel to strengthen the tooth enamel. Treatment can also be much worse and require surgery from a periodontist to fix gum loss that has led to your teeth’s root surfaces to become exposed.

What You Can Do About It

Other than in-office procedures and treatment, there are a few things that you can do yourself to help alleviate the pain. Case in point, using desensitizing toothpastes can help block off the nerve endings in the exposed dentin and reduce pain. You can also try to avoid acidic foods and drinks to see if it helps with the pain.

Of course, prevention is always better than cure, and the best way to prevent tooth sensitivity is to brush properly twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush every day and floss at least once daily. Also, if you grind your teeth, you may want to bring up the issue with your dentist as soon as you can well before it causes other problems, such as tooth sensitivity.

In any case, if you’ve been staying away from certain types of food and beverages for quite a while know to avoid pain, be sure to set an appointment with with Dr. Musarra. Call today at 201-795-2111 or visit our website at


Why Do Baby Teeth Need Fillings If They Are Going To Fall Out Anyways?


Most parents aren’t usually alarmed when they find cavities in their children’s baby teeth. Often, they just leave it alone. After all, they’re not permanent and will eventually fall out, so why bother? While it is true that baby teeth will eventually just fall out on their own, leaving cavities in baby teeth untreated will lead to serious consequences down the line.

The Importance of Primary Teeth

Your child’s primary baby teeth are extremely important. Not only do they help your child chew food, but the baby teeth also play a significant role in helping your child form good speaking habits and pronounce words properly. More importantly, they serve as placeholders and guides for when the permanent teeth start to erupt. Not to mention the effect of having a complete smile and healthy-looking teeth on your child’s self-esteem.

Why Baby Teeth Need To Be Filled

If cavities are found in baby teeth and they’re not treated, the decay can affect the permanent teeth underneath. In some cases, the decay can even spread to the permanent teeth.

You may ask then, wouldn’t it be better to just pull out the tooth instead of filling it? Well, while pulling out the tooth is actually possible, it’s not exactly in the best interest of the child. Remember, both children and adults need a complete set of teeth to speak and chew properly. Just missing a single tooth can significantly affect the way we chew or speak. This is especially important in children, as they’re still growing and any negative experiences that might make them much more self-conscious than necessary can have a significant impact on their self-esteem.

There’s also the fact that pulling teeth out can cause the other teeth to shift to “compensate” for the gap left by the missing tooth. If baby teeth are pulled out much earlier than necessary, this can lead to alignment problems once the permanent tooth starts to erupt.  However, when the decay is too expensive, dentists will have no choice but to pull the teeth out. But, this is only a last resort option. If this happens, the dentist will also usually recommend inserting an appliance into the space left by the pulled tooth to protect it until the permanent tooth is ready to come in.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

The key to making sure that your child grows up with a healthy and beautiful smile is to practice proper hygiene as early as their first baby tooth erupts. As toddlers, instill in them the importance of brushing and flossing correctly. Limit their consumption of sugary snacks too. It might also be a good idea to take them to the dentist at an early age as well.

Remember, your child’s primary teeth are extremely important to his or her growth and development. You should never think lightly of any problems with them just because they’ll eventually fall out anyway.

If you have any concerns regarding your child’s teeth, be sure to schedule an appointment today to know more about how you can take better care of your child’s teeth. Call 201-795-2111 or visit the website at


Type of Dental Issues Porcelain Veneers Can Fix | Hoboken Cosmetic Dentist

 As much as people with beautiful looking smiles love to show off their pearly whites, those who aren’t so fortunate may not like to smile as often. For those with less-than-perfect teeth, smiling can be a painful, if not potentially embarrassing experience.

Thankfully, there are plenty of options to help fix a variety of dental problems, and one of treatment options gaining popularity in recent years is porcelain dental veneers.

What Are Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers are one of the most versatile dental solutions designed to fix a number of oral problems. Although considered a cosmetic procedure, porcelain veneers can also be used to correct other dental issues to help improve the overall health of your teeth. Because they can be used to treat both cosmetic and functional problems, porcelain veneers have quickly become one of the more popular choices for dental choices today.

Another particular benefit that makes porcelain veneers such a popular option is their ability to provide immediate results. This is in contrast to other procedures that might otherwise take months or years to do so.

The many types of dental issues porcelain veneers can be used to effectively fix and mask include:

  • Discolored or stained teeth
  • Slightly crooked or misaligned teeth
  • Chipped, cracked or broken teeth
  • Tooth gaps
  • Misshaped teeth

Although not considered as a main treatment option, porcelain veneers can also be used to treat severe teeth alignment problems, or malocclusions.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Of course, the main advantage is that porcelain veneers can help give you the smile you’ve always wanted. But, it’s also worth taking note that the treatment uses very little tooth structure, and that the procedure itself often requires less anesthesia, if at all. Also, the materials used to make porcelain veneers make them very resistant against coffee stains, as well as other types of stains that naturally teeth don’t really offer much protection against.

Unfortunately, because the procedure involves removing part of the enamel, it’s considered irreversible. Also, as a result, it’s no longer possible to correct or change the color once the veneer has been cemented. It’s also possible to experience temperature sensitivity for a few days after the procedure. Lastly, veneers can be damaged by biting or chewing on something hard regularly, such as ice or finger nails.

Are They The Right Choice For Me?

The beauty of porcelain veneers goes beyond just correcting aesthetic imperfections. Sure, porcelain veneers can indeed help give you the smile you have always wanted. However, they can also be used to help improve the overall health of your teeth. This includes helping realign your bite, stabilization cracked or broken teeth, preventing tooth decay, and strengthening weak or loose teeth, just to name a few.

If you’re interested, be sure to schedule a personal consultation and exam with Dr. Musarra to see if you are a good fit for porcelain veneers. Call today at 201-795-2111 or visit our website at


Can Children Wear Invisalign?


Almost everybody knows what metal braces are and just how effective they can be when it comes to correcting a variety of dental problems. But, as much as they’ve been proven to work, braces aren’t exactly the only option available these days. Invisalign, for example, uses clear aligners that can straighten teeth just as effectively as braces can. The only difference is that it doesn’t suffer from all the notable drawbacks, such as the ‘unsightly’ appearance of having metal braces on your mouth, making changes to your usual brushing and flossing routine, and having to avoid certain types of food, among many other things.

That being said, it’s no secret that Invisalign has become a popular alternative to metal braces these days. And, if you’re a parent, you might be wondering, can my child wear Invisalign? Better yet, is it safe for children?

Children and Invisalign

The answer? A resounding yes. Invisalign is just as safe and as effective in adults as it is in children. The problem here, though, is that Invisalign’s advantages could end up working against its favor if it’s not worn by a responsible and mature adult.

Why so? For starters, the main advantage of wearing Invisalign retainers over traditional braces is that you can remove them anytime. But, for the treatment to be effective, you’ll need to wear the retainers for at least 20 hours a day. This means you’ll have to wear them wear them pretty much the whole day, removing them only when you’re eating, brushing your teeth and flossing, or for the occasional night out, meetings, and so on. However, when it comes to kids, it’s not unusual nor unheard of for them to remove it every now and then out of curiosity. They may sometimes forget to put it back on, or forget where they put it, or take it off for far too long. Either one of those scenarios can greatly affect the treatment process, potentially making it even more expensive and in worse cases, completely undermine it.

It’s also a well-known fact that kids just aren’t as vain as adults, and that most kids often wear traditional braces. Unlike adults who opt for Invisalign mostly because it’s “low key” and that it doesn’t make them look different, it’s not exactly that hard to convince a child to wear traditional braces since other kids are probably wearing them too.

Should Your Child Wear Invisalign?

Both traditional metal braces and Invisalign clear aligners are equally effective when it comes to correct a variety of dental issues. This means that you should base your decision on how you feel and how much you trust your child. After all, everyone is different, including children. Your child may be more mature and responsible compared to others, and can be trusted with Invisalign.

Regardless of whether you choose Invisalign or not, what’s important is that you are there for your child. Encourage your child, take the time to listen to his or her fears and anxiety, especially if it’s about the treatment. Try to do your research and familiarize yourself with the treatment as well to make it easier for you to explain things to your child.

For more information on Invisalign or other questions about your child’s oral health, call Dr. Flynne Weingarten at Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. Also visit the website at


The Effects of Thumb Sucking On Children’s Mouths | Hoboken Pediatric Dentist

thumb sucking

 Thumb sucking is something many parents worry about as their babies grow up and become toddlers. Parents often wonder whether to let the habit be, or if they should do something to stop it.

Is It Normal?

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), thumb sucking or finger sucking is a natural reflex that’s seen even during an infant’s development in the womb. This said reflex can be soothing and may help your child feel secure and happy. The habit may also help to induce sleep. As such, it’s not unusual for toddlers and infants to suck their thumbs in the evening before going to sleep.

Until When Is It Considered Normal?

The ADA recommends that the best time to start discouraging thumb sucking behavior in children is by the age of four. Around this time, prolonged sucking could affect your child’s developing jaw and teeth, and cause permanent teeth to become misaligned.

If the habit continues well beyond the age of five or six, the constant pressure of the sucking motion will begin to have an effect on the mouth and teeth. The front teeth, for example, may protrude, leading to what’s commonly known as ‘buck teeth’. The child’s bite may also become open, a dental disorder where the upper and lower front teeth cannot touch. Even worse, thumb sucking will begin to have an effect on the alignment of not only the permanent teeth, but also the secondary ones.

In these cases, a general dentist will usually provide a referral to an orthodontist or pediatric dentist. If necessary, the dental professional may prescribe a crib, which is a dental appliance placed in the roof of the mouth to help discourage thumb sucking. The bite will then eventually correct itself if the habit is stopped in time.

Discouraging The Habit

More often than not, the best way to discourage thumb sucking is to ignore the behavior. Once they’re exposed to various social situations, children eventually figure out on their own that this behavior is not ‘normal’.

If, however, the habit persists beyond kindergarten or the age of four, it’s time to intervene.

  • Have your child use a pacifier instead. Sucking on pacifiers is easier to discourage and are also easier to take away.
  • Create a chart and reward system to help keep track of your child’s progress for quitting.
  • Encourage and praise your child once you see them make an effort to stop.
  • You may also want to schedule a consultation with your child’s dentist.

Whatever you choose to do to discourage thumb sucking in your child, always remember to use positive reinforcement. It’s been proven that children are more likely to respond to positivity, praise and encouragement. Resorting to criticism and nagging may cause your child to become anxious and worsen the problem.

For more information on thumb sucking or to make an appointment for your child contact Dr. Flynee Weingarten at Hoboken Pediatric Dentistry. Call 201-795-2111 or visit the website at

What Problems Can Invisalign Correct?

Invisalign aligners

With Invisalign having become a much more popular treatment of choice by many over the recent years, it’s no surprise that more and more people want to know about it. In particular, what most are interested in are the dental problems Invisalign can fix.

Below are some of the main dental issues that Invisalign can effectively treat.

  • Gapped teeth. Gaps in between teeth can occur for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, they’re caused by the abnormal continued growth of the jawbone. Other times, leaving missing teeth can cause the surrounding teeth to shift to adjust to the empty space, which creates gaps. Regardless of the cause, spacing issues or gaps in between teeth will all eventually lead to a variety of gum problems, as well as an increased risk of periodontal disease.
  • Overbites happen when the upper teeth bite over the lower teeth. Although genetics are the main cause for most overbite cases, it can sometimes also occur due to bad oral habits, or the over development of the bone supporting the teeth. Much like teeth gaps or spaces, overbites can eventually lead to gum problems if not addressed. Even worse, overbites add unnecessary stress on the lower teeth, as well as cause painful jaw and joint problems.
  • The opposite of overbites, an underbite occurs when the lower teeth protrude past the upper teeth. It can be caused by a variety of things, from undergrowth of the upper jaw, or overgrowth of the lower jaw – or both, in some cases – and it can also be caused by missing upper teeth. Having an underbite causes unnecessary tooth wear, in addition to causing pain and other issues in the jaw joints.
  • Open bite. Open bites occur when some of the teeth can’t make physical contact with the opposite teeth. This can either be caused by genetics, or excessive thumb-sucking as a baby, toddler or child. Those with open bites often have a hard time chewing and some even experience pain. Open bites have also been proven to cause speech impairment, as well as increased risk of TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorders.
  • Crowding of the teeth occurs when there’s just not enough room in the jaws for teeth to fit normally as they would. Crowding will only get worse the longer it is left untreated and will eventually result into severely crooked teeth, which causes various dental issues, such as plaque accumulation, tooth decay and an increased risk for gum disease.
  • When both the upper and lower jaws are misaligned, that’s what you call a crossbite. This causes the upper teeth to bite on the inside of the lower teeth, causing unnecessary additional wear on the teeth, gum disease and in worse cases, bone loss.

As you can see, from mild cases of gaps in teeth into much more complicated dental problems such as overbites and underbites, Invisalign is an effective dental treatment.

Contact Dental Associates of Hoboken today for more information on Invisalign and to schedule an appointment. Call 201-795-2111 or visit the website at