The Benefits of Chewing Sugar-Free Gum

It’s no secret that chewing gum containing sugar is bad for your teeth. However, there is a healthier option in sugar-free gum, with some brands even given the official ADA seal of approval.

So what are the benefits of sugar-free gum, and what should you look out for when shopping? Let’s take a look at some pros, cons, and tips to help you keep your child’s teeth healthy.

Main Benefits

The primary benefit of chewing gum is that it promotes the production of saliva. Saliva has a lot to do with the health and cleanliness of your mouth, believe it or not. Not only is it responsible for helping to clear food debris and plaque, but it also helps wash away the acids that coat your teeth and cause decay.

Chewing is the easiest way to produce saliva, and sugar-free gum does this without leaving extra sugars and acids in your mouth afterward. This is why dentists recommend sugar-free gum over the regular variety for your oral health.

Pros and Cons

The problem with sugar-free gums is that not all brands are created equal. Some contain controversial sweeteners that may have a negative effect on overall health.

To help you navigate the confusion, the ADA has given their seal of approval to the top brands they’ve deemed most beneficial. See them here:

The Best Use of Gum

While chewing sugar-free gum is beneficial, it’s important to remember that it cannot replace routing oral hygiene. This means brushing teeth once in the morning and then again at night, as well as flossing daily (preferably after your last meal of the day).

Most dentists agree that chewing a piece of sugar-free gum for about twenty minutes after every meal promotes saliva production, helps clean the teeth of excess food particles and acids, and can play a significant role in helping prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Find Out More

Hudson Valley Pediatrics provides quality dentistry in Middletown, Scotchtown, and Mechanicstown. If you’d like to find out more, please contact our office to schedule an appointment today!


How to Make Brushing and Flossing Fun for Your Child

Regular brushing and flossing are necessary to ensure your child learns techniques for lifelong dental health. While most parents know that showing their child how to brush and floss is important, they may struggle to keep them engaged in the task. Children sometimes dislike this activity, as they do not see it as fun.

At Hudson Valley Pediatric Dentistry, we are committed to the long-term health of children’s smiles through care both in our office and at home. We have created this guide to help parents turn daily brushing and flossing into a fun time for their children, encouraging positive habits for a lifetime.

Use a Themed Toothbrush

Modern toothbrush manufacturers offer a number of options to keep children interested in brushing and flossing. Whether your child likes Marvel, Disney, or Nickelodeon, there are almost certainly brushes themed with characters or shows they enjoy. This allows younger patients to turn brushing their teeth into a game starring the characters from their favorite shows, movies, and games.

Play Your Child’s Favorite Song as a Timer

With the availability of streaming music on nearly every connected device in your household and in your pocket, it is easier than ever to make a timer out of your child’s favorite song. If the song they choose ends before the recommended two minutes, start it over or begin to play another song they like. This makes the time spent brushing enjoyable.

Let Your Child Pick the Flavors of Toothpaste and Floss

There are a variety of flavors your child can choose from selecting oral hygiene products. The next time your child needs toothpaste or floss, let them go with you to purchase them. They can choose the flavor and even the theme of their brushing and flossing materials, ensuring that they are as happy as possible when keeping their teeth clean.

Brush and Floss with Your Child

Your child may prefer to clean their smile with you, rather than do so by themselves as you supervise. When it is time for your child to brush their teeth, do it with them. You can even turn their oral healthcare routine into a fun competition, where you see who can brush their teeth better.

Help Your Child Keep Their Smile Healthy

Making brushing and flossing fun for your child can ultimately be fun for you too. To learn other ways to keep your child’s teeth healthy while keeping them engaged, contact Hudson Valley Pediatric Dentistry today. Dr. Geri-Lynn Waldman and our whole team want to see your child smile happily for a lifetime.

The Benefit of Sugar-Free Gum for Children

Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and a number of other holidays have children eating large amounts of candy — not to mention birthday celebrations at school. Sugar is one of the leading causes of tooth decay for young patients, and children who eat excessive amounts of sweets or sugar added foods tend to experience a higher number of cavities.

While the consumption of sugar is hard to prevent for patients of any age, encouraging the sugar-free gum as an alternative to normal candies, is a great way to establish positive and lasting habits for your child. At Hudson Valley Pediatric Dentistry, we are committed to patients’ long term dental health and have created this guide to explain the benefits that sugar-free gum provides for children.

Less Sugar, Fewer Cavities

Sugar does not directly cause cavities but is fed upon by the oral bacteria creating acid as a byproduct. As children consume more sugar, the amount of bacteria in their smile grows, leading to greater concentration of acid. This altered pH balance leads to weakened dental enamel and eventually, allows the bacteria to reach the sensitive tissues inside the tooth.

By choosing sugar-free gums, you ensure oral bacteria have less to feed on, minimizing the risk for cavities and tooth infections.

Chewing Helps Keep Teeth Clean

The very act of chewing is essential in maintaining your dental health. This is especially beneficial for younger patients who may have difficulty properly brushing and flossing their teeth on a regular basis. Consistent chewing helps to clear food particles from the surfaces of the teeth, preventing the development of plaque and decay. Chewing also generates saliva, which is the body’s natural protection against decay keeps oral bacteria levels balanced.

Sugar Substitutes: Xylitol Strengthens Teeth

Many sugar-free gums use xylitol as a sweetener. This naturally occurring substance is entirely safe and acts in much the same way as fluoride. Xylitol remineralizes the enamel, helping to guard against decay, and leading to healthier teeth in the long term.

To learn more about the steps you can take to keep your child’s teeth healthy well into their adult years, contact Hudson Valley Pediatric Dentistry today. Dr. Geri Waldman and our team are dedicated to helping parents achieve lasting dental health.

A Parent’s Guide to Silver Diamine Fluoride

Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) has become a topic of much discussion among parents looking to protect their child’s dental health without having to completely remove and fill portions of the hard dental tissues.

At Hudson Valley Pediatric Dentistry, we provide young patients with comprehensive care and educate parents on the best and latest methods of cavity control. We have created this guide to help patients understand the details of SDF and how it can best be used to treat your child.

What is Silver Diamine Fluoride?

Silver Diamine Fluoride is a colorless and odorless liquid varnish that contains both silver and fluoride. As with traditional fluoride varnishes, the ingredients re-mineralize dental enamel, helping to prevent future decay and preserving patients’ dental health. The silver content of this liquid is entirely safe and acts as an antimicrobial material when applied to sites of decay.

How SDF is Used

SDF has been approved as a Class II medical device by the FDA, allowing dental professionals to apply the liquid in the same way as traditional fluoride. While SDF is sometimes presented as an alternative to drilling and filling cavities, this material is better served to augment normal preventive care for dental decay.

This liquid is best for patients who are experiencing significant decay in their baby teeth, but who do not require fillings for all caries. This not only helps to preserve a greater portion of the healthy tooth structure but encourages the long-term health of your child’s smile.

Are There Downsides to SDF?

The unfortunate downside to this liquid is that it turns decayed portions of tooth black. SDF also leaves a slightly metallic taste, though this fades quickly. These downsides are often weighed against the health benefits of silver diamine fluoride, making them generally beneficial for teeth that are not visible in the smile.

To learn more about the effects of Silver Diamine Fluoride and other materials used in the regular care of your child’s dental health, contact Hudson Valley Pediatric Dentistry today. Dr. Geri-Lynn Waldman and our team are committed to total preventive dental care in Middletown.

Halloween Candy Buy Back 2017


Hudson Valley Pediatric Dentistry is participating in the annual Halloween Candy Buy Back to support our troops.  If you’re interested in participating, please bring any unopened candy to our office – located at 75 Crystal Run Road, Suite 235, Middletown, NY – between November 1st and November 3rd.  We will pay you $1 per pound of candy donated.  The candy will then be used in care packages that get sent to our troops stationed overseas.  Since this program started back in 2005, over 130 tons of candy has been collected and sent to our troops!

Fact or Fiction?  Five Popular Tooth Myths Debunked

The 5 Myths…

Forget the tooth fairy! Far too many tales are being told about teeth and it’s time to clear the air. Popular claims that range from scary to wacky and everything in between are about to be debunked. Find out if you’ve been acting on bad advice.

1. “White teeth are healthy teeth.”

Pearlier does not necessarily mean healthier. In some instances, extremely white teeth can signal a lack of calcium or an excessive intake of fluorides. Whitening ingredients integrated in many toothpaste and mouthwash products can also create the image of perfection, but don’t let your brighter smile deceive you. Just beyond the surface may lurk cavities, gum disease and other dental issues.

2. “Pregnant women should hold off on dental care until after the baby is born.”

On the contrary, getting regular professional dental care, if not increasing the number of visits, is strongly encouraged during this time. According to the American Dental Association, pregnant women are more likely to develop gingivitis, a condition caused by an infection of the gums that can result in bleeding, sensitivity and loss of tooth support. “Pregnancy tumors”, or mulberry-shaped lumps between the teeth can also emerge, although they are non-cancerous. They should go away after pregnancy, but can also be removed by an aesthetician.

Pregnant women should be sure to inform their dentist of their pregnancy so treatment plans can be adjusted accordingly. Certain procedures and medications may be tabled to avoid any risks to the baby’s health.

3. “Food that is too hot or cold will crack your teeth.”

Yes, cracks or “craze lines” can be a result of extreme temperature changes absorbed by your teeth, but these are typically too shallow to pose a major threat to your oral health. If you do spot a crack, it’s always wise to have a dentist look at it; in the rare instance that the crack is a deep one, chewing can cause it to widen and expose sensitive nerves.

4. “Don’t worry too much about brushing baby teeth, because they fall out anyway.”

Yes, baby teeth eventually fall out — but passing poor dental habits on to your child can cause a lifetime of oral health problems. Teaching your child to brush and floss regularly can save him or her from painful cavities and gum disease now and in the future.

5. “Bleaching your teeth is bad for you.”

Nowadays, in-office bleaching services use PH neutral solutions that are perfectly safe for your teeth. The treatment may cause tooth sensitivity, but only temporarily. If anything, it is the popular whitening trays bought over the counter that may prove problematic; prolonged immersion of the teeth in highly concentrated gels can cause lasting trauma.

There is always a chance that an element of truth exists in the things you hear, but unless the advice comes from your dentist, don’t let it impact your approach to oral care. Get a professional opinion on dental matters or questions that interest you during your next appointment, or if you’re pressed for time, call your dentist for immediate clarification.


Still have questions about any of these myths?  Contact us:

Dr. Geri-Lynn Waldman, DDS

Hudson Valley Pediatric Dentistry

75 Crystal Run Road

Middletown, NY 10940




Borreli, L. (2014, October 10). Oral Hygiene: 6 Dental Care Myths That May Be killing Your Pearly Whites.Retrieved June 1, 2015 from

Davis, H. (n.d.). 8 Popular Tooth Myths Debunked. Retrieved June 1, 2015 at

Understanding the Real Importance of Mouth Guards

The Role of Mouth Guards in Oral Health

Mouth GuardWhat would you do without some or all of your teeth? As you can imagine, talking, chewing, and even smiling would be a challenge! So, how do you protect your teeth? One great way to do so is with a mouth guard.

Unfortunately, not everyone who should wear a mouth guard actually does. Whether you’re participating in a sport or grinding your teeth at night, a mouth guard could be critical. By learning more about them, you can make an informed decision as to whether to wear one.

Key Benefits of Wearing a Mouth Guard

A mouth guard covers the teeth and prevents injuries from contact sports like basketball, football, soccer, wrestling, and also damage from teeth grinding. Key benefits include:

1. Protection Against Tooth Fractures, Displacement, and Loss – If you play a sport, you’re at an increased risk of tooth fractures, displacement, or loss depending upon how hard you’re hit. A mouth guard can help minimize the impact, protecting your teeth and preventing costly dental repairs.

2. Protection Against Soft Tissue Injuries – If you play a sport, you could easily injure your tongue or cheeks with your teeth by applying too much pressure. A mouth guard will keep you from biting too hard and protects vulnerable soft tissues.

3. Protection Against Jaw Fractures – When you sustain a blow or pressure to your head, your teeth may knock together and, if the pressure is too great, it can result in a jaw fracture. A mouth guard can cushion the blow and potentially prevent an oral health disaster.

4. Protection Against Issues Caused by Teeth Grinding – If you grind your teeth, you may experience popping and clicking of the jaw joint or even migraines due to spams in the muscles around your jaw. Wearing a mouth guard at night will protect your teeth and jaw from grinding and clenching.

Types of Mouth Guards

There are three primary types of mouth guards:

    • Stock Protectors – These are an inexpensive solution and can be purchased at sporting goods stores and drugstores. Most stock protectors require the jaw to be closed to hold them in place and are bulky and ill-fitting.
    • Boil and Bite Protectors – Also sold at most sporting goods stores and drugstores, boil and bite protectors are made from thermoplastic and can be shaped around teeth after being placed in hot water. These protectors are slightly more expensive than stock protectors, but are more effective.
  • Custom-Fitted Protectors – These are available at dental offices and are far superior in terms of quality and the protection they offer. They are designed from exact models of your teeth, which ensures a comfortable and proper fit.

Prevention is Key to Maintaining Good Oral Health

Good oral health begins with preventative measures including flossing daily, getting regular dental cleanings, and possibly wearing a mouth guard. Whether you play sports or grind your teeth at night, a mouth guard offers essential protection to keep your teeth safe and your smile looking great.


Have a question about mouth guards?  Contact us:

Dr. Geri-Lynn Waldman, DDS

Hudson Valley Pediatric Dentistry

75 Crystal Run Road

Middletown, NY 10940



Dental Health Mouth Guards. (2015, January 26). Retrieved June 8, 2015, from

The Importance of Using Mouth Guards. (2014, July 1). Retrieved June 8, 2015, from and Research/Files/patient_40.ashx

Flossing, Brushing, and Beyond: How to Care for Teeth with Braces

Oral Hygiene For Teeth With Braces

Somewhere between the braces, wires, and rubber bands in your mouth lie your teeth, but how do you get to them? Often, braces prove to be quite the obstacle when you want to brush, floss, or otherwise care for the beautiful, straight smile-in-progress. But this beautiful smile won’t be possible without proper care.

Lucky for most individuals with braces, caring for your teeth doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, with just a few simple tips in hand, you can ensure that your smile looks just as you imagined when your braces come off.

General Orthodontic Hygiene Standards

You’ve been going to the dentist for years and know that you should floss every day, but do you actually take the advice? Many don’t. But with braces, following professional advice is a must.

Your orthodontist will tell you to brush after every meal or snack and you should. For some, it’s also important to rinse with a fluoride mouthwash to remove food from tiny crevices that your toothbrush simply can’t reach no matter how hard you try.

You’ll also want to invest in an oral irrigator or other flossing device to flush out food that is too difficult to reach with regular floss. Doing so will keep your teeth clean and healthy under your braces.

Understanding How to Properly Brush and Floss with Braces

Both brushing and flossing are dramatically different with braces. Here are a few ways to keep your smile in top condition:

  • Repeat, Repeat, Repeat – Consistency is key for proper orthodontic care. It can be a nuisance to brush and floss after each meal, but you’ll be glad you did when your braces come off and you don’t have stains or other problems.
  • Floss With Accuracy and Caution – With too much force, flossing can cause issues with your wires. Instead, take care to thread the floss between all teeth and work it back and forth with a gentle sawing motion. By doing so, you can free up food that gets stuck before turning to alternative methods, like an oral irrigator.
  • Go Beyond Normal Brushing – When you first get braces, you’ll be given small brushes that resemble trees. Use these to brush under the wire and between each set of braces daily. Make sure to use enough strokes on each tooth to remove lingering food and prevent the buildup of plaque and bacteria.

Orthodontic Mishaps

Orthodontic mishaps can happen no matter how many precautionary steps you take. These are some of the most common:

  • Loose Brackets
  • Broken Wings
  • Loose Spacers or Bands

You can use orthodontic wax to hold loose brackets in place and to prevent loose brackets or broken wires from cutting your mouth until you can see your orthodontist. For spacer or band issues, it is best to make an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as possible.

Caring for Your Braces is About More Than Just Oral Health

Remember, your braces are working to improve your smile every day. As such, you need to put in the work to properly care for your teeth so that, once your braces are off, you have the beautiful smile you’ve always dreamed of.

Contact us with any questions about oral hygiene with braces:

Dr. Geri-Lynn Waldman, DDS

Hudson Valley Pediatric Dentistry

75 Crystal Run Road

Middletown, NY 10940



Caring for Teeth with Braces and Retainers. (2015, January 31). Retrieved June 2, 2015 from

Baby Teeth and Bad Hygiene:  What’s There to Lose?

The Importance Of Caring For Baby Teeth

Wisdom ToothDon’t fall for it, parents! Just because baby teeth are temporary doesn’t mean they don’t matter. Despite what naysayers and wishful thinkers might have you believe, forgetting to care for primary teeth comes at a steep price for your child.

If you’re questioning whether it’s worth wrangling your little one into a dental routine now, these facts prove that adopting good habits early on can pay off big time for your child’s oral health down the road.

1: Baby teeth help shape your child’s speech.

Forming and pronouncing words correctly depends largely on the presence and alignment of baby teeth. Premature loss of any primary teeth can result in speech impediments such as a slur or lisp, and negatively impact both a child’s ability to communicate and his or her self-esteem. Depending on the severity of the case, a speech pathologist may be required to help correct the problem(s).

2: Baby teeth facilitate proper chewing and eating.

In addition to efficiently breaking down solid foods, chewing correctly is important for other reasons. Tooth loss and/or alignment issues can cause unnecessary stress to the jaw and result in serious complications over time, and chewing problems can also interfere with the development of key facial muscles. Improper chewing can even contribute to a nutritional imbalance if poor oral health starts impacting food choices.

3: Baby teeth act as a placeholder for permanent teeth.

Permanent teeth will emerge, but how and where has a lot to do with your child’s first set of pearly whites. Each primary tooth reserves a spot for a permanent tooth, but the loss of this initial placeholder can cause shifting and result in harmful misalignments. Cosmetic issues aside, misaligned teeth can make brushing and flossing more difficult, result in crowded and/or impacted teeth, and contribute to jaw disorders such as TMJ.

4: Maintaining healthy baby teeth helps to instill effective dental habits.

Teaching the ins and outs of good oral hygiene can have a lifelong impact on your child. Introducing healthy dental habits early on can solidify the importance of preventative dental care, making it easier for him or her to stick with these habits throughout adulthood. This can mean a lifetime of optimal oral health, and significantly reduced chances for costly dental problems.

Dental Tips for Baby Teeth

Brushing and flossing may not be your child’s favorite activity, but introducing healthy habits the moment that first tooth appears can make it easier for both parent and child to stick to a routine.

While there is no set timeline for baby teeth to erupt, here are some general guidelines the American Dental Association provides for cleaning and caring for baby teeth:

  • From birth (no teeth present): wipe gums clean with a moistened gauze or cloth
  • Ages 0-3 (teeth present): brush twice daily with a tiny dab of fluoride toothpaste*
  • Ages 3-6: brush twice a day, but use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
  • Any age when teeth touch each other: add flossing to your daily routine

Paying a visit to the pediatric dentist before your child’s first birthday, and getting regular checkups are also crucial to his or her oral health. Depending on your child’s individual situation, certain in-office treatments and/or instructions for at-home care may be recommended.

*Note: Fluoride toothpaste should be expectorated and not swallowed. If you feel your child will swallow the fluoride toothpaste it can be substituted with non-fluoride toothpaste.

If you have any questions about proper care for baby teeth, please contact us:

Dr. Geri-Lynn Waldman, DDS

Hudson Valley Pediatric Dentistry

75 Crystal Run Road

Middletown, NY 10940



Baby Teeth Care: Brushing First Teeth, Teething, Gum Care, and More. (2014, November 6). Retrieved June 12, 2015, from

The Importance of Baby Teeth. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2015, from