Summer is Here!

With summer here, New Orleans Childrens Dental Center always has your child’s oral health in mind.  During their summer break over the next couple of months, we know our patients are excited to ditch the school books and have fun in the sun.  However, whether we are in the swimming in the pool or jumping on the trampoline, it is always beneficial to keep our teeth in mind.  Especially if your child is on a summer sports team, a mouth guard is highly encouraged to reduce risk of trauma or injury to the oral cavity.  We understand that your child is still growing and tooth development is changing, where a custom mouth guard would not be indicated. Inexpensive boil and bite guards can be purchased at your local sporting goods store to ensure safe habits to our permanent teeth. Mouth guards also decrease the risk of concussion, so invest in your child’s safety today!

In addition to protective mouth wear while playing sports, Dr. Kellie Axelrad and Dr. Claudia Cavallino would also like to make our patients aware of the high acidic content in sports drinks like Powerade or Gatorade.  Tooth enamel begins to demineralize at a pH of 5.5 and for 30 minutes after just one sip.  Both Gatorade and Powerade have a pH level BELOW 3.0.  Even when purchasing Powerade Zero or Gatorade G2 with low to no sugar, the drinks often have added acid to add flavor.  Instead of sports drinks throughout the game, a sports drink can be consumed after the game and then rinsed with water after.  If electrolytes are a concern, water with electrolytes can be purchased without the added sugars decreasing performance on the field.

Because the kids are home or at camp, we often tend to allow them to snack more frequently during the summer.  We want you to be aware of the sugar and acidic value of your favorite cool summer treats, like popsicles and snowballs.  When on the go and snacking, xylitol mints or gums can be valuable in caries or cavity prevention. Xylitol is a sugar substitute beneficial for dental health by reducing cavities to assist in remineralization.  Because cavity causing bacteria in the mouth are unable to digest xylitol, their growth is greatly impacted. Xylitol comes in a variety of forms and flavors and can be purchased online or in local health stores.

These summer tips will help for a great dental report card! And don’t forget to continue a healthy summer routine of brushing and flossing! Have a wonderful and safe summer!

4 Must-Know Facts about Dental X-Rays


Dental x-rays are a vital diagnostic tool for pediatric dentists, but many parents worry about the radiation that their children are being exposed to. The truth is, exposure to radiation from dental x-rays is minimal. In fact, compared to undetected and untreated dental problems, dental x-rays represent a far lower health risk. 

To ease your mind further, here are some other positive facts about dental x-rays: 

Fact #1 – Dental x-rays are for more than just cavities. Essentially, dental x-rays gives the dentist a more comprehensive look at the overall structure of the teeth. This is very helpful in locating and treating certain cavities, but x-ray films are also used to identify erupting teeth, detect bone diseases, evaluate the results of injuries, and treat conditions that are not easily detected in normal clinical exams. 

Fact #2 – Dental x-rays are especially important for children. X-rays are crucial for children because their teeth are growing and changing so rapidly. Plus, children are more susceptible to tooth decay than adults. For children prone to tooth decay, the American Pediatric Dental Association recommends x-rays be taken every 6 months to catch the tooth decay early. Other children need them less frequently.  

Fact #3 – Dental x-rays are only taken when necessary. Every child is unique and the needs for dental x-rays varies from child to child. Pediatric dentists will only take films after reviewing your child’s medical and dental history and performing a clinical exam. If the dentist believes they need information that the visual exam did not provide, they will take x-rays, but only with the proper precautions in place.  

Fact #4 – Dental x-rays are much safer than ever before. Contemporary safeguards have lessened the amount of radiation from dental x-rays more than ever before. Children are given lead body aprons and shields to wear. X-rays are taken more quickly with high speed film and digital imaging. Last but not least, the x-ray beam is restricted to the area of interest with other x-rays being filtered out. 

One final way to reduce radiation? Avoid getting a new set of x-rays when you change to a new dentist. Ask your previous dentist to send copies of your child’s films to your new dentist. Since children switch to new providers all the time, sharing x-rays is a courtesy that pediatric dentists extend to one another.  

The Real Truth about Sports Drinks and Tooth Decay


Did you know that 30-50% of Americans teens consume energy drinks daily and up to 62% consume sports drinks daily? You might think this is a “harmless and healthy” choice, but for your children’s teeth, it can be a total disaster. It’s basically like drinking a soda and can quickly destroy tooth enamel if you’re not careful.

Scientists are proving the problem. According to a study published in General Dentistry, energy and sports drinks contain so much acid that they can start destroying teeth after five days. To be fair, the scientists placed teeth into these sports drinks for 15 minutes every day and no child would hold the liquid in their mouth that long. However, it shows conclusively that these drinks destroy enamel.

The quickest route to tooth decay. Acidic drinks are even worse than sugary foods or drinks because they attack teeth directly. “Bacteria converts sugar to acid and it’s the acid bath that damages the enamel, not the sugar directly,” says Dr. David Katz, Director of the Yale Prevention Center. “So by incorporating a high acid load into a drink, we are cutting out the middleman on the way to tooth decay.”

What should you do about these drinks? First, it’s important to limit their usage, even if your child is an athlete. If your child must drink one of these drinks, have them swirl water in their mouth and spit it out right after drinking. Don’t have them brush their teeth immediately because the enamel will be soft at that point and the abrasiveness of the toothpaste could take it off. Instead, wait 45 minutes to an hour. Their saliva will have re-mineralized the enamel and your child should brush then.

These drinks are everywhere and their dental dangers aren’t widely known, so it might be impossible to prevent your children from drinking them completely. Just do the best you can and make sure your child gets their dental check-up every six months. That’s the best way to uncover and treat any early stages of enamel erosion.

5 Neat Secrets to a Tooth-Friendly Easter


Did you know that the average child consumes 5.5 pounds of chocolate during the Easter Holidays? From a dental standpoint, that’s way too much sugar for your child’s little teeth – especially in such a short period of time – and can lead to tooth decay and cavities faster than you can say, “The Easter Bunny is here!”

So what can you do? How can you limit your child’s massive candy consumption while avoiding the screaming and crying that often comes when your child feels “their candy” is being kept from them. Here are 5 easy secrets that you can try:

Secret #1 – Get rid of the huge bunny centerpiece. Instead of making a huge chocolate bunny the centerpiece of your Easter Basket, replace it with a stuffed bunny or a really meaningful toy that your child will be super excited about.

Secret #2 – Add other presents to the Easter Basket. Reduce the amount of candy in the Easter Basket by mixing the sweet treats with toys and games that will capture your child’s attention. There’s still candy there, just not the same amounts.

Secret #3 – Buy more sugar-free candy. There are many candy products on the market now that kids absolutely love, but don’t contain sugar. Drop plenty of these in the Easter Basket because your child can eat them without you worrying so much.

Secret #4 – Make candy an after-dinner treat. Freeze your leftover Easter Candy and make a game out of giving your child a piece or two after they finish cleaning their plate. You can say, “It’s a game to make Easter last longer!” and it’s true.

Secret #5 – Give out some homemade coupons. This is especially great for older kids. They can redeem them for awards, privileges, and freedom from chores like choosing what to have for dinner…not having to make their bed for a week…etc.

See, it’s easy to protect your child’s teeth during Easter time and still make the Holidays as enjoyable as possible for your child…and for you. Even better, you’re establishing family traditions you can use every single year. How neat is that!

How to floss (the right way)

Flossing is a very important part of everyday dental hygiene for people of every age. But, it is just as important to make sure that you are flossing properly.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help make sure you and your family are flossing properly.


  • Start with about 18 inches of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with

  • Hold the floss tight between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth

  • Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissue

  • Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth

  • To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth

By following these clear and easy steps, you can ensure that your kid’s teeth stay strong and healthy!

source & inspiration from the colgate website.

Staff Spotlight: Abby Villarrubia

At the Children’s Dental Center of New Orleans, we like to find out why our amazing team members love doing what they do. We asked Abby Villarrubia, one of your favorite Dental Hygienists, what’s her favorite part of working in pediatric dentistry.

“The kids!” she exclaimed.

“This is what I wanted to do when I was in school. I always said that whenever I became a registered hygienist that there was no other doctor I wanted to work with more than
Dr. Cavallino. She did a lecture in my class and when she was leaving I grabbed her, introduced myself and let her know I dropped my resume off. She didn’t have a hygenist at the time and so she called me back for an interview and I’ve been here since!”

Abby is known for her exceptional hygienist skills which she continues to develop within our offices, but she also has an amazing way of connecting with patients and making them feel right at home – even in the dentist chair!

“I’ve worked with adults before but its like they say – you can’t teach an old dog new tricks; it just goes in one ear and out the other!” she explained when asked about why she chose to work in pediatrics rather than with adults.

“With kids, they want to make you proud so most of the time they say things like ‘I’ve been brushing the front better because you said to!’ And that does make me really proud – every single time.”

Abby has been a member of our team for 2 years now, and we are looking forward to many more years of her inspiring beautiful smiles!