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Caring for your Baby’s Teeth

Beautiful smiling cute baby Watching your baby drool when their little chompers start to come in can be an exciting time. Learning how to take care your baby’s incoming teeth is crucial for their oral health development. We’ve compiled a list of some frequently asked questions to guide you in properly caring for your little one’s temporary teeth.

  1. When should my child visit a dentist for the first time?


Dentists recommend your child should stop in for visit a little before their first birthday, or about 6 months after their first tooth comes in. Bringing in your child early is a great way to develop the correct practices to care for their teeth.

  1. When should I start brushing my baby’s teeth?

You should be cleaning your baby’s gums even before their teeth begin to emerge. Take a warm, damp washcloth or gauze and wrap it around your finger to wipe of their gums after they eat and before bedtime to wipe off excess food.

Once your child has a few more teeth, you can use a very small toothbrush and a small amount of baby-safe toothpaste to start cleaning off any buildup that might appear on their baby teeth.

  1. Is it okay for my baby to sleep with their bottle?

Do not let your baby sleep with their bottle, especially when it is filled with milk or any type of sugary drink. Allowing your baby to sleep with your bottle with anything other than water can lead to Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. Try to have your baby finish their bottle before being put down to rest and avoid filling their bottle with juice or soft drinks.


  1. Are baby teeth that important for my child in the future?

Yes! Taking care of your baby’s gums and teeth while they come in is important for the development of their permanent teeth. Your baby’s teeth will determine the spacing of their permanent teeth. Their baby teeth are also important for them to chew and learn how to speak properly. Protecting them now from tooth decay and gingivitis is crucial for your baby’s oral health.  

  1. When should I start using toothpaste and how much?

You can start using fluoride-free toothpaste when your child’s first tooth comes in. The recommendation is to use just a tiny smear, about the size of a grain of rice.

Once your child is about 3 years old, you can start using fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a pea. Be sure to brush both the front and back of your baby’s teeth.

When you’re ready, bring your entire family to Shoreline Dental Studios for a check-up and oral exam. We can help guide you on how to care for your little one’s teeth to start them on a path to a beautiful, strong, and healthy smile that lasts them their lifetime.

5 Tips for a Smile-Healthy Halloween

156336-425x283-kids-trick-or-treatTrick-or-Treat! It’s that time of year again and while your children may be anxious to fill their buckets to the brim with Halloween goodies, you might be sitting back in fear thinking of the possible cavities to come. But don’t get spooked just yet! We have a set of tips and tricks to get you ready for the candy onslaught and keep your little ones from future toothaches. Halloween doesn’t only have to be about candy. By focusing on other Halloween festivities, like decorations and games, you can deter some of the attention away from candy as a cavity culprit. 1. Set a “Treat Time”

Before the festivities begin, create a set of rules and guidelines prior to trick-or-treating for your children. Let them know when they are allowed to snack on their treats to minimize surprises later down the road. Doing so can minimize the amount of candy they eat throughout the day. You can also help by swishing mouths with water post-treat snack to wash away sugars that may otherwise stick to teeth.

2. Get a Smaller Bucket

Try downsizing the amount of treats this year by downsizing your child’s treat bag. A simple fix to reducing their sugar intake is just taking away the amount they’ll have. You can even make this a fun activity by taking away the attention from candy and bringing it to decorating a treat bag your children will be proud of!

3. Pay Attention to the Type of Candy

Certain treats are better for your teeth than others. If possible, stick to chocolate as it dissolves much quicker. Opting for darker chocolate can also be a great option. Some of the worst candies for teeth are sour, chewy, and hard as they tend to stay in the mouth longer and allow the sugars to stick to teeth.

4. Eat a Treat With A Meal

Eating candy along with a meal can help clean out your mouth as it increases saliva production. By brushing and flossing afterwards, you can help minimize the chance of sugar staying in your mouth. Keeping your meals balanced and healthy will also keep everyone full and less likely to binge on those Halloween treats.

5. Get a Halloween Toothbrush

As part of their trick-or-treat goodies, give your child a Halloween-themed toothbrush. Not only will your child love picking out a new color or their favorite cartoon character, but it can create excitement to brush their teeth after snacking on those sweets!

We hope you have a fun-filled Halloween weekend! Be sure to pay attention to your Halloween goodies this year and if you have any questions or concerns come visit Dr. Ritzau at Shoreline Dental Studio.

What You Should Know About Dental Sealants

It seems like everyone has had a few cavities in their life, despite being easily preventable with good oral hygiene, regular visits to the dentist, and other preventative measures like dental sealants. Dental sealants have been around since the 1960s, but less than one third of children in the United States actually have sealants on their teeth. Few people know the benefits of a dental sealant, or even what it is. What is a dental sealant?


Dental sealants are a protective layer of plastic resin that is placed over porous teeth in order to prevent cavities. The resin is applied directly to the surface of the tooth to fill in fissures and depressions, usually in the harder-to-clean molars and premolars. The protective coating keeps food and plaque from getting stuck in the fissures and developing cavities.

Who can get dental sealants?

Sealants are usually applied to kids and teenagers (ages six to 14) as soon as their permanent teeth come in in order to prevent decay when it is most likely.  However adults are also candidates for sealants, particularly if their dentist identifies a penchant for tooth decay in the back molars.

Sometimes sealants will also be recommended for children’s baby teeth if decay is threatening early tooth loss. Baby teeth play an important role in the alignment of permanent teeth, and measures should be taken to ensure their proper lifespan.

What happens during the procedure?

  1. Teeth that will be sealed are cleaned thoroughly.
  2. Each tooth is then dried, and cotton is put around the tooth to keep it dry.
  3. A solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to roughen them up, which helps the sealant bond.
  4. The teeth are then rinsed and dried.
  5. Sealant is then painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special light is used to help the sealant harden.

How long does the sealant last and how effective is it?

Dental sealants can last up to 10 years, but should be checked regularly by your dentist to identify chipping or erosion. If problems are detected, the sealant can be reapplied. Sealants can reduce tooth decay in children by more than 70 percent.

Taking a preventative approach to you or your child’s teeth can save time and money in the long run by preventing tooth decay and costly fillings, crowns, caps, or even root canals. This painless procedure can prevent painful ones in the future.

Dental sealants can protect you or your child from cavities, but good oral hygiene and regular dental visits to Dr. Ritzau’s office are important to prevent gum disease and maintain good oral health.

Caring for your Teeth During Pregnancy

Dental health is important at every point in your life, but even more so during pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase your risk for various periodontal diseases. Bleeding and tender gums, periodontitis, and oral tumors are common issues during pregnancy, but shouldn’t be taken lightly. Serious gum diseases can cause infections that can be transferred the baby through the bloodstream. One study even links oral diseases to low birth weights and preterm birth. Should any of these dental problems occur it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Before Pregnancy

If planning for a pregnancy, it’s a good idea to take care of all preexisting dental problems before hand since existing problems can become worse during pregnancy.

During Your First Trimester

Frequent morning sickness can weaken the enamel on your teeth. It’s important not to brush your teeth immediately after a bout of sickness, but instead rinse your mouth out with water. Mixing a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water to rinse with is also an easy way to neutralize the acid left behind. If brushing your teeth becomes difficult, try switching to less flavorful toothpaste. Also, opt for a softer brush for sensitive gums.

Pregnancy_and_oral_healthYour first trimester is also the best time to establish a more thorough brushing and flossing routine. In addition to twice daily brushing and daily flossing, try rinsing with an alcohol-free fluoridated mouthwash. This will strengthen enamel and reduce the risk of developing cavities during pregnancy.

Second Trimester

Dental work should be limited to the second trimester. During the first and third trimester the baby will be going through important developmental stages of growth.  It is important when scheduling your appointment to let Dr. Ritzau know you are expecting.

When scheduling a checkup with Dr. Ritzau, be sure to let us know that you’re pregnant and when you’re due. Let us know all the medications and vitamins you’re taking so we can plan your treatment accordingly. Bring a pillow to keep you and the baby comfortable during your appointment, and be sure to keep your legs uncrossed to promote healthy blood flow.

After Pregnancy

Most problems will subside after pregnancy. Oral tumors often disappear and gums return to normal. It’s important, however, to continue to maintain good oral hygiene after pregnancy. Studies show that decay-causing bacteria are often transferred to children through contact with their mother’s saliva.

Protecting your teeth is important during every stage of your life, but even more so during pregnancy. If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant schedule an appointment with Kristen Ritzau, DDS today.

Healthy Smiles Start With Pediatric Dentistry

February marks the start of National Children's Dental Health Month andprovides great teaching tools for kids to learn about healthy gums and teeth. Informative posters, games and activity sheets are provided free of charge by the American Dental Society to drive the message home that good habits for mouths begins at an early age.

Boy at the dentist

Regular visits to a pediatric dentistry office are important for children. Beingattentive to a recommended dental schedule keep parents aware of problems, such as baby bottle tooth decay and gum disease. Because a child's jaws and teeth grow quickly, exams by a pediatric dentist like Kristen Ritzau DDS are crucial to spot any abnormalities in their development. This routine also reinforces a good habit in dental care as a child grows into adulthood.

Establishing a relationship with a pediatric dentistry office is the first step in helping a child gain trust in the importance of healthy teeth. Kristen Ritzau DDS and her team are dedicated to giving personal attention to each client and providing a cheerful atmosphere. Located in San Clemente, California, appointments are easy to make and the staff provides an award-winning firstimpression that will keep your little ones looking forward to the next trip.

Education is key in starting a child in the right direction and Dr. Ritzau provides the latest techniques in pediatric dentistry. Make February the month for getting your children on the right path to good dental health. The habits formed today will start a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

How to Know if Crowns or Fillings are Right For You

It's no surprise that many of us fear our visits to the dental office. According to the University of Washington's Dental Fear Research Clinic, 8% of Americans have anxiety towards going to the dentist. Whether it's a fear of dental tools, needles or the potential for pain, we're fearful and tend of avoid the chance of hearing any bad news in the dental chair. Cavities, in particular, are one of the most common diagnoses that can create stress for a patient. Fillings and crowns are recommended to take care of decay in the tooth, which are both simple procedures that can easily be pain free and extremely comfortable to experience. Cavities are treated with a filling or a crown, depending on the situation and the patient's tooth conditions. We've taken the guesswork out of crowns and fillings so you can be informed the next time you visit our clinic!

Fillings: First Line of Defense If cavities are a relatively new diagnosis for you, or if your cavity is quite small, a filling will typically be recommended. White fillings prevent the decay within the tooth from becoming more harmful and dangerous. This is a more affordable solution to cavities and can be a simple way to treat the condition with hardly any complications. A white filling is made out of a composite mixture of glass and plastic particles to match the tone of your tooth effortlessly. After a quick application and bonding of the filling in only one visit, your tooth is protected from future decay. Kristen-Ritzau-DDS-Crowns-Fillings

Crowns: Crafting a Healthy Smile At times, cavities can occur in a damaged or cracked tooth. In addition, cavities left without treatment will damage the tooth to a degree that white fillings will not support the health of the tooth. Crowns are shaped molds made to mimic the original tooth while shielding it from further damage. In just two visits, your tooth is reshaped to fit the crown and the crown itself is molded to be applied to your tooth. After this procedure, the tooth and the gum line are protected for 5 to 8 years.

Dr. Ritzau and her staff take great pride in ensuring that patients are treated well while preventing the chance of pain during any visit. In addition, our patients stay informed about their options and treatments when visiting, including the more complex and confusing aspects of dental health and care.

The Best and Worst Halloween Treats for Your Teeth

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Halloween is just around the corner and it's a favorite time of year for kids of all ages. Among the ghosts and goblins, another thing about Halloween that's downright spooky is the effect on your child's teeth from all that candy, and your own teeth are at risk if you raid your child's candy basket too much! Candy is definitely something that should be eaten in moderation and some kinds are worse than others. Here is the inside scoop about just how bad different Halloween treats can be for teeth and how you can prevent dental cavities this holiday season. Gummy and Gooey

Gummy and gooey Halloween candy may be a perennial kid favorite, but it wreaks havoc on dental health. Not only do these types of candy contain damaging sugar, they are also more likely to get stuck between teeth, where cavities can form.

Nothing Sweet about Sour


Sour candy is another popular kid favorite, but you should limit it. Sour candy is more acidic, so it can wear down tooth enamel and make cavities more likely to form.

Delicious Dark Chocolate

When it comes to better choices for dental cavity prevention, you can't really go wrong with delicious dark chocolate. The effects on teeth from dark chocolate may be relatively minor, especially if you brush your teeth soon after eating it, but the antioxidants naturally present in dark chocolate are great for your health.

Stock Up on Sugar-Free

Sugar-free candy and gum is as close as you can get to a guilt-free sweet that will have minimal damage to teeth. Another advantage to sugar-free gum and candy is that it will be safe for diabetics, too. Today there are millions of kids with type 2 diabetes.

Dental cavity prevention doesn't have to ruin your Halloween. You can still feel good about allowing a few little indulgent treats, but choose wisely. If you're concerned about the upcoming holidays and how they will affect your smile, give Kristen Ritzau a call today. She can help you keep your cavities to a minimum with regular check-ups![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Our New and Improved Office!

We've been hard at work over the past few months, turning our old office into a newly remodeled space that our patients can enjoy! Stop by for a visit or call our office to make your next dental appointment! (949) 234-6850 Here's what our office looks like now:


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Dental Tips For Summer Vacation

During summer vacation, you can say goodbye to your workday routine and all your worries, but you should never neglect your dental hygiene. After all, you use your teeth every single day and your smile should never be on vacation. It's important to keep up your brushing and flossing regimen no matter where you are, because plaque and tooth decay never take a holiday.

Here are a few basic vacation dental tips and ways to keep your smile clean and healthy when you go on holiday, but the most important thing to bring along is a can-do attitude. Even though your daily routine is cast aside and you laze around aimlessly most of the time, your teeth and gums should never be neglected. Make a point of sticking to your dental hygiene schedule, even it seems like "work" to you.

Be Prepared For Anything And Everything

The last thing you want to do on vacation is spend valuable time searching for a local dentist in a strange place, so do a little homework before you leave. Even though the odds of having a dental emergency while on vacation are admittedly quite slim, it pays to be prepared for anything, so please keep these dental tips in mind. vacation smile dentist san clemente

Confirm with your dental insurance carrier to see if there will be any in-network providers at your destination, and what their policy is regarding emergency coverage. Don't forget to take your insurance card and keep it with your important travel documents.

See Kristen Ritzau DDS Before You Leave

It's always a good idea to schedule a dental appointment before your vacation, especially if you haven't been to Dr. Ritzau's office lately. It is so much easier to fix minor problems at home before they flare up in an unfamiliar city.

Air travel is stressful on your teeth because of the air pressure changes, and sensitive teeth may start to ache at higher altitudes. Dr. Ritzau will double-check all of your filling, caps and implants so they don't fall out unexpectedly.

Don't Forget To Floss

Along with these dental tips, you'll need to pack ALL of your dental hygiene items like toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste and mouthwash. Sticking to your daily dental care regimen when you're on vacation takes a little more willpower than usual, but it's absolutely necessary if you want a bright smile.

After all, vacations are definitely something to smile about.

How to Prevent Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

Controlling plaque is key to fighting both tooth decay and gum disease. Plaque is the film that builds up on teeth over time. It consists of food particles mixed with saliva and is loaded with bacteria. If you fail to brush your teeth regularly, the plaque on your teeth will become hardened by the calcium and other minerals in your saliva to form a substance called tartar. Tartar is porous, so it is easily stained; tartar causes yellowed teeth and can also result in bad breath.Gum Disease Plaque and Tooth Decay The bacteria contained in plaque feed on the carbohydrates and sugar in food. These bacteria convert the carbohydrates and sugar into acid, which is held against the tooth by the plaque. Eventually, the acids dissolve the tooth enamel and cause decay. Tooth decay may be painless in its early stages but if the plaque is not removed, the tooth will rot all the way down to the nerves or the pulp.

Plaque and Gum Disease When plaque and tartar are allowed to remain on teeth, they irritate the gingiva. The gingiva is the part of the gums around the base of the teeth. This irritation is called gingivitis and causes the gums to become swollen and to bleed easily. Gingivitis can lead to gum disease, also known as periodontitis. Gum disease is the inflammation or infection of the bone below the gums. The disease causes the gums to recede away from the teeth and form pockets that collect plaque and bacteria. The resulting bone loss may eventually cause the teeth to start falling out.

Common Causes of Plaque Buildup and Gum Disease Factors that encourage gum disease include:

  • Poor dental hygiene.
  • Tobacco use in the form of smoking and chewing tobacco can keep gum tissue from healing.
  • Crooked or misaligned teeth are more difficult to clean thoroughly and therefore may allow for plaque buildup.
  • Diets that are high in carbohydrates and sugar or low in nutrients like vitamin C can create the perfect conditions for plaque and gum disease.

How Plaque is Removed Tartar is difficult to remove by brushing alone. Fortunately, dental professionals like Kristen Ritzau, DDS have the tools and skills needed to do the job. The process involves using ultrasonic tools to knock the tartar loose then finishing up with hand tools like scalers and curettes to scrape away the remaining deposits. In order to preserve your teeth, make sure to get routine dental check-ups and practice good oral hygiene to slow or prevent the buildup of tartar.