Common Children’s Oral Hygiene Myths Busted


Joy Wright, RDH, ECP III

Post written by Joy Wright, RDH, ECP III, Health Partnership Clinic

Myth #1: “My baby doesn’t have teeth, so there is nothing I can do to nurture a healthy mouth.”

This myth is busted by the power of bacteria. Bacteria can still accumulate in a newborn’s mouth.

It’s recommended that you wipe their mouth out with a washcloth and water after they eat. This not only disrupts the bacteria but also gets the baby used to having their mouth cleaned.

This is also a very important time for caregivers to take care of their own teeth and gums because bacteria can be passed from their mouth to the baby.

Good brushing and flossing along with dental check-ups every 6 months will lower the risk of passing dental disease or infection to your baby.

Myth #2: “The baby teeth don’t matter because they are just going to fall out anyway.”

This myth is busted by the fact that you cannot disconnect the mouth from the rest of the body.

No matter your age, the health of your mouth affects the health of your body. Generally, the baby molars and canines do not fall out until age 10, 11 or even 12 years old.

Also, the baby teeth hold space for the permanent teeth that are forming. Permanent teeth are forming directly underneath the baby teeth and can be adversely affected by infected baby teeth.

If a baby tooth must be extracted prematurely then a space maintainer must be placed to hold the space for the permanent tooth.

If this precaution is not taken, the teeth drift, and the mouth does not grow properly causing severe crowding in permanent teeth.

HPC_Dentist_at_School156Myth #3: “My kids don’t eat candy, so they won’t get cavities.”

This myth is busted by the digestive system.

Our saliva begins the digestion process with the breakdown of carbohydrates into simple sugars.

Bacteria feeds on sugar and produces acid that causes tooth decay.

Therefore, frequent snacking becomes a risk factor for dental disease whether sweet or salty.

This myth is double busted by sugary drinks. Not only do foods we eat affect our teeth, drinks affect our teeth too.

The acidic nature of soda pop alone can cause tooth damage. There is a surprisingly large amount of sugar in soda pop, juice, and Gatorade.

Next time you reach for a thirst quencher, read the label to see what is in your drink. Reducing sugar intake along with less frequent sugar exposure is the key to prevent cavities.

Health Partnership Clinic offers onsite pediatric dental services at many schools in Johnson County. The service is geared toward those who do not have a dentist, or it’s difficult for parents to keep appointments due to transportation, work schedules, or a lack of funds.

Onsite Services include:

Dental Exam
Fluoride Treatments
Oral Health Education
Nutritional Counseling
Baby Tooth Root Canals
Stainless Steel Crowns on Baby Teeth
Removal of Infected Baby Teeth
Space Maintainers

To see if we come to your child’s school, call our School-Based Portable Dental Team at 913-276-7004, email, or visit our website at

The Most Common Chronic Childhood Disease is Preventable! 

Debra Trybom

Debra Trybom

Joy Wright

Joy Wright

Post written by Joy Wright, RDH, ECP I and Debra Trybom, RDH, ECP I
Health Partnership Clinic

What do you think the most common chronic childhood disease is? 

Here’s a hint: it’s a disease that occurs as early as six months of age. It goes beyond pain and infection.

It can affect speech and communication, eating, nutrition, sleeping, learning, playing and quality of life, even into adulthood.

The answer is tooth decay.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease. Tooth decay is an infectious, transmissible disease caused by bacteria colonizing on the teeth and producing acid that dissolves enamel.

Without intervention, bacteria will continue to destroy tooth structure, eventually infecting the soft pulp tissue and causing pain.

How common is it?

It’s five times more common than asthma, four times more common than childhood obesity, and 20 times more common than diabetes.

Dental cleaningIs this most common chronic childhood disease preventable?

Yes! It is preventable!

What can we, as parents, do to prevent tooth decay in our children? 

  • As infants, use a washcloth to wipe gums after each feeding. Infants should not be put to bed with a bottle of anything other than water. If an infant falls asleep while feeding, his/her mouth should be cleaned before placing the child in bed.
  • Take children to see a dentist by age one or when the first tooth appears. At the first visit, the dentist will check the child’s teeth and apply a fluoride varnish application. Fluoride varnish is recommended by the American Dental Association every three months. All fluorides act to slow demineralization and boost remineralization.
  • At home, brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first tooth appears. Make sure the toothpaste is no more than a grain of rice until the child learns to spit out the excess. Once children can spit, then a pea-sized amount of toothpaste should be used. Be sure to supervise the brushing. Children under the age of six years do not have the dexterity it takes to brush thoroughly.
  • Diet also plays a strong role in preventing dental decay. Frequent snacking is a risk factor for dental decay because it creates an acidic oral environment, not giving the saliva time to stabilize the pH in the mouth between meals. Acid breaks down the outer surface of the teeth causing cavities.
  • Encourage children to use a sippy cup by one-year-old. Sippy cups should only have water unless with a meal. Filling the sippy cup with anything other than water and allowing a child to drink from it throughout the day, bathes the child’s teeth in cavity-causing bacteria.

Let’s work together to prevent tooth decay in our communities by raising awareness of oral hygiene, nutrition, fluoride and the importance of regular dental visits!

Pediatric dental appointments are available by calling 913-648-2266.

Pediatric Medical and Dental Integrate for 90 Day Pilot Project

pilot project (2)To improve customer service, increase efficiencies and decrease billing issues, Health Partnership Clinic’s Pediatric Medical and Dental staff in Olathe are integrating for a 90-day pilot project.

According to Dayna Brinckman, DDS, Chief Dental Officer, the main objective is to bring together a talented and skilled group of individuals who are all moving toward the same goal.

“A huge part of this pilot is to focus on customer service and process improvement,” she says.

Pediatric patients are now able to schedule both a dental and medical appointment at the same time if warranted. The integrated services are offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, during regular clinic hours.

In addition, a dedicated pediatric medical/dental waiting room opened on March 5. Plans for signage are underway.

Patients seeking pediatric medical and dental care (including the Pediatric Walk-In Clinic) should enter through the East entrance doors; adult patients should enter through the West doors as they’ve done in the past.

The pilot project includes a realignment of staff duties so you may notice some new faces. The provider team includes Dayna Brinckman, DDS; Emily Bush, MD; Kare Lyche, MD; Nader Rastgoftar, DDS; Anne VanGarsse, MD; and Liz Vasquez, MPAS, PA-C.

“With this new model, our hope is to improve our patients’ experiences with great customer service and streamlined access to our services as well as to promote our pediatrics and dental services,” Dr. Brinckman adds. The clinic plans to survey pediatric patients and their parents regarding the new changes.

HPC Receives Capital Improvement Grant

Dayna Brinckman

Dayna Brinckman, DDS, Chief Dental Officer

HPC recently received a Capital Improvement Grant to provide Tele-dentistry.

This is an exciting opportunity to increase the efficiency of dental outreach services and improve access to dental services to low income, uninsured and under-insured children.

With this exciting technology, Dayna Brinckman, DDS, Chief Dental Officer, will be able to conduct dental exams remotely, assisted by onsite dental hygienists, to determine a dental treatment plan.

Tele-dentistry improves the efficiency of dental outreach services by minimizing travel time and spreading the dentist’s capacity to multiple locations.

Implementing this project will ensure more children are able to receive the necessary services for improved health and wellness.

Congratulations to Dr. Brinckman and the dental team!