Douglas V. Janis, DDS

How You Can Prepare Your Child for the Dentist

Happy Visit, Happy KidTrips to the dentist can sometimes be an intimidating task for a child. However, as soon as you start seeing little teeth erupt in your child’s mouth (or by his or her first birthday at the latest), you should plan a trip to see us! Regular dental visits ensure that your child’s teeth will be well maintained and healthy. Caring for baby teeth is just as important as caring for adult teeth.

Follow our tips below to best prepare your child for a trip to the dentist!

Be a Good Role Model

If you present a good attitude about the dentist, your child will pick up on that and they will feel calmer when it’s their turn to go to the dentist. By contrast, if your child senses that you have anxiety or fears about the dentist, they will pick up on that and may feel similarly.

Know When to Bring Your Child In

The first trip to the dentist should be when their first tooth comes in, or on their first birthday – whichever comes first. Even if your child is older and you still haven’t set up a visit, it’s never too late! Regular trips to the dentist will help your child’s teeth stay healthy for life.

Make Caring for Your Teeth Fun

Taking care of teeth can be an enjoyable experience. Make brushing teeth a game with your child, or brush to a song and have a dance party! If your child associates positive experiences with teeth brushing, they will be more likely to participate in brushing and taking care of their teeth throughout their life.

You can definitely take steps to ensure that your child has a comfortable dental experience. Just follow these tips, and your child will have a great dental experience, as well as get a jumpstart on their oral health! Give us a call, and we can get your child all set up at our office.

Toothbrushing Tips for Toddlers

Little girl brushing her teeth

As a parent, you play a key role in your child’s oral health. It is important to practice proper oral hygiene while your child is still young. If you have a toddler, you know that brushing your child’s teeth can be tough. The trick is finding a way to make brushing their teeth enjoyable rather than a task. Below are tips and tricks for winning over even the most stubborn of kids.

Sing a Song
Make it fun! Play a short song while you brush your toddler’s teeth. By showing them that brushing their teeth can be fun, they will be less reluctant to brush. Even better, make up a fun dance to go alone with your tooth-brushing song!

Let them Pick the Brush and Paste
Get your child excited about brushing their teeth by letting them pick out their own toothbrush and tasty toothpaste. Having these in their favorite color or superhero will make them excited to use them.

Play a Game
If your child does not like singing songs, try playing a game with them as you brush their teeth. Try a game of Simon Says- Simon says brush in circles, Simon says brush back and forth.

Practice Makes Perfect
Let you child practice brushing teeth on their favorite stuffed animal or toy. Show them proper brushing technique by having them watch you brush.

Teaching your toddler proper oral health habits while they are young will set them up for healthy teeth in the future. For more tips or to schedule an appointment, call St. Charles Office Phone Number (630) 232-6661.

Teens and TMJ

Teen holding her jaw in pain

Our practice is proud to offer teens a comfortable and trusting dental home where they can be assured that the doctors and staff understand their unique needs.Our doctors are trained to look at facial growth, tooth placement and relationships with the jaw, the need for braces, nutritional counseling, hygiene aids, preventive procedures and behavior modifications. With that said, we are always sure to screen your teen for TMJ.

What is TMJ you may ask?

TMJ disorders are muscular AND skeletal issues related to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the joint that connects the bottom jaw to the skull. TMJ disorders (also called temporomandibular disorders, or TMD) can cause discomfort in the head, neck, jaw or face; problems chewing or biting; popping or clicking sounds when opening and closing the mouth; and, occasionally, a jaw that can be locked open or locked shut. TMJ disorders can affect kids of any age, but are much more common in teens, especially girls.

Everyone has experienced some soreness or tightness in the jaw from time to time. Thankfully, they usually go away on their own within a day or so. However, occasionally this mysterious pain becomes worse – making it hard for your teen to smile, chew, or talk. When kids have symptoms like these, they’re likely to have developed a TMJ disorder, which may require treatment.

Causes of Teen TMJ

Often times your teen is under a lot of stress with school and extracurricular activities. This may lead them to grind or clench their teeth while sleeping – a huge factor in TMJ disorders. TMJ disorders also are more common in teens with other dental problems (like a bad bite), joint problems (like arthritis), muscle problems, or a history of trauma to the jaw or face (commonly seen in aggressive contact sports)!

What to do next?

If you think your child may be experiencing TMJ symptoms, call our office today at St. Charles Office Phone Number (630) 232-6661! Often times, we can advise you on some simple steps that you can do at home to alleviate pain and symptoms before the pain progresses.

Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist

 child holding toothbrush

A trip to the dentist can be a scary and daunting task for your child, with new smells and sights, and someone they don’t know looking at their teeth. The first visit to the dentist could set the precedent for how your child views the dentist in the future, so that’s why it’s important to follow these tips to ensure your child has a comfortable and relaxing experience.

Set the Tone

Your child will get as excited as you are for the dental visit, that’s why it’s important to convey emotions you would like your child to perceive – such as a calm and relaxed demeanor. If you have a dental phobia, try to hide it from your child as they could pick up on it and become unnecessarily scared of the dentist. It is also important to stress dental hygiene’s importance prior to the visit, such as brushing with your child and making it a fun activity by singing songs or making it a game!

Choosing a Dental Office

Choosing the right dental office for your child is important, because you want to make sure they will feel comfortable in the environment they’re in. Scope out dental offices around you – visit their website to take an online tour, or visit the dental office prior to bringing your child in. If you feel confident with the dental office, your child will pick up on that and will have a better visit. Consider visiting a pediatric dentist! Pediatric dentists have 2-3 years of additional training in working with children, and most of their patients are children.

When Should I Bring My Child In?

Great question! We recommend that you bring your child as soon as their first tooth erupts, or on their first birthday – whichever comes first! Bringing your child in early will ensure that they receive proper dental care and starts your child on the path to a healthy smile.

If you have any addition questions, we would love to answer them – please call us at St. Charles Office Phone Number (630) 232-6661!

Healthy Snacks for Healthy Smiles

Picture of a healthy snackAs a parent, juggling life can be a little hectic sometimes. With work, kids, back to school nights, sleepovers, and much more, finding time to pack healthy snacks is difficult. It can be tempting to throw a packaged snack in your little one’s lunch box to save some time in the morning, but more often than not, those pre-packaged snacks contain high amounts of sugar. Here are a few healthy snack suggestions that your child will love and that also promote a healthy smile.


Nuts are nutritional powerhouses, which help to build a strong body. Chewing nuts promotes the production of saliva, which naturally washes away leftover debris on and in between your teeth, as well as acid buildup, which can lead to cavities. Nuts can be a great alternative to salty snacks, such as potato chips, that your kids crave!


As we know, cheese is rich in calcium, which promotes strong teeth. What you might not know, is that cheese is also rich in a protein called casein, which strengthens tooth enamel and ultimately prevents cavities. Try adding a string cheese to your child’s lunch, which will provide them with calcium and casein, and are also simply fun to eat!


Apples are one of the best snacks to give your children. They are a very high fiber food, which also naturally clean your teeth as you chew them! The skin of the apple especially helps to scrub your teeth, gums, and tongue as you eat them. This helps to fight plaque buildup, and also helps remove surface stains. Since apples help scrub away plaque and residue from the back of the tongue, they also help to eliminate bad breath. If your children are craving something sweet in their lunches, try apple slices. We suggest leaving the skin on so that they may reap all of the benefits.

For more information on tooth-healthy foods for kids, please call us at (630) 232-6661.

Halloween Treats and Your Child’s Teeth

Halloween is almost upon us! And while we know that there will never be a time when you can avoid Halloween candy completely, there is a way to make sure all that sugar doesn’t hurt your little one’s teeth! In addition to brushing, flossing and dental visits, here is a run down of some of the best (and worst) candies for your teeth:

Picture of halloween candy in a pumpkin

Enjoy in Moderation:

Chewing Gum One of the safest candies for your child to enjoy is gum. Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva, which naturally rinses the mouth and teeth and keeps plaque-causing bacteria under control. Whenever possible, choose all natural, sugar-free gum that has been approved by the ADA. Limiting the sugar intake from gum will lessen the amount of sugar that is left on your child’s teeth, which will lessen their chance of tooth decay and cavities.

Chocolate is a better choice than many candies for your teeth as it melts in the warmth of your mouth and therefore can be washed away easier.

Try to Avoid:

Hard Candy
Hard candies and lollipops linger in your child’s mouth, which can expose your child to the most dental damage out of all of the sweet treats. Not only is there a higher chance of cracking a tooth, but there is also a risk of prolonged acid attacks, which could lead to tooth decay. Whenever possible, swap out sugar filled hard candies for sugar free hard candies. If you can’t swap

out all of the sugar, try having your child take sips of water as they’re eating the hard candy. This way the water can help to prevent sugar and acid from sticking to the teeth and causing decay or cavities. Once they are done, make sure they follow up with a thorough teeth and tongue brushing to scrub away any remaining sugars!

Sticky Candies
While sticky candies, such as gummy worms or caramels, are one of our personal favorites, they have a tendency to stick to your child’s teeth. To reduce the risk of dental damage, enjoy just one piece at a time. If you can, work these soft, sticky candies into meal time so that between each piece, your child can have a piece of hard food to help dislodge sticky bits from your child’s teeth!

Do your best to combine these sweet treats with food and water to help reduce the risk of tooth decay and to keep your little one’s oral health in tip top shape! And please, always reach out to us at (630) 232-6661 with any questions you may have!

Sugar Bugs and Mouth Monsters: 3 Tips for Parents

Talking to your kids about cavities is very important. But, as with anything else with children, it’s also important to keep it fun. When you make it fun for your kids, they will be more likely to brush and floss without the usual battle. Are you wondering how you can talk to your kids about cavities and good oral hygiene without losing their interest?

We are here to help with some tips for breaking it down so that your kids can better understand the importance of brushing and flossing.

Picture of ants holding a sugar cube

3 Tips for Teaching Kids About Cavities

  1. Use the right words. Try using words like “sugar bugs” and “mouth monsters” to describe the bacterial villains that cause tooth decay. Pretend it’s a game, and tell them that it’s time to battle the monsters. This is especially useful for getting kids to floss – tell them that the only way to win against the sugar bugs is to floss in between the teeth!
  2. Make the bathroom visually fun and friendly. Use brightly colored brushes, walls, towels and a reward system to make hygiene time more appealing and kid friendly. Let them pick out their toothbrush and toothpaste so they are excited to use them. You can even allow them to put the toothpaste on the brush themselves once they are old enough to spit reliably. And, for extra fun, play some music while they brush – find a favorite song that is 2 minutes long (the recommended time for brushing) and brush away!
  3. Create charts, posters and homemade pictures in the bathroom that teach them good oral hygiene from early on. Have them decorate the chart by drawing sugar bugs and personalizing it with their own touch.

These are just a few of the many ideas we have to teach your kids the important of proper oral hygiene and how to fight cavities. For more information, please contact our office at(630) 232-6661

Tips For Teaching Your Special Needs Child How to Brush Their Teeth

cute toothTeaching your child how to brush their teeth can be difficult. Having a special needs child can bring unique challenges to the table, which sometimes can be difficult to navigate. Here are a few tips that could help you teach your child how to brush their teeth!

Role Play

Young children usually have that one favorite stuffed animal. They consider it their friend, companion, and sometimes even their family member. It can be incredibly helpful to show your child how to floss and brush their teeth on their favorite animal. Seeing the act of brushing teeth performed on their favorite stuffed animal can help to take away any anxiety they may have about it. Another great reason to bring in your child’s favorite stuffed friend is simply to have it there for comfort!

Put Music On

Most activities are far more fun when you have some upbeat music playing in the background. Believe it or not, brushing your teeth is one of those activities! If you want to get your child excited about dental hygiene, play some of their favorite songs and get them pumped! A bonus is that most songs are at least two minutes long which will get them in the habit for brushing and flossing for two minutes. When your child is able to listen to their favorite song every time they brush their teeth, it will help them to get excited about their oral health.

Tag Team

In the early stages of teaching your child to brush their teeth, you’ll most likely have to brush for them. This could easily turn into a high stress situation. A great way to approach this is to bring in both parents. One parent could hold the child and comfort them, making them feel safe, while the other parent could do the actual brushing and flossing. This will help your child calm down and associate positive and calm feelings with brushing their teeth!

If you have any questions about your child’s dental health, please call us at St. Charles Office Phone Number (630) 232-6661.

Healthy Diet for Healthy Teeth

child with foodWhile your child is young, it is important for them to establish healthy eating habits that will have a positive impact on them for the rest of their lives. One of the easiest ways to keep their teeth healthy strong is with a healthy diet. To make it easy for you, we’ve compiled a few of the best foods to include in your child’s diet in this post.

Colorful Snacking

Fresh fruits and vegetables can be some of the best foods to include in your child’s diet. Oranges, melons, broccoli, celery, and carrots are all great choices to include in your child’s lunchbox for a healthy, colorful snack during the day. Fruits are a great alternative to sugary, processed snacks and they can still satisfy a sweet tooth. Raw vegetables like celery and carrots can be great to munch on as well. Carrots are full of Vitamin A, fiber, and other important nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are a good alternative to sweet, salty or processed snacks and will your kids to develop a good taste for healthy foods for life!

Dairy for Healthy Teeth

Yogurt and cheese are two foods that contain calcium and protein, which are both very good for your teeth. Eating a bowl of yogurt with chopped fresh fruit can be a great alternative to sugary cereal, and the good bacteria found in yogurt does a good job of fighting against the bad bacteria that reside in your mouth. Cheese may also prevent cavities, a discovery that was highlighted in this (and other) studies: (

H2O is Best

Our final and most important tip is to stick with water when choosing beverages. Alternatives to water, such as juice, sports beverages and sodas, can be terrible for your teeth and cause unnecessary decay. Drinking water is the best option because it is calorie free and does no harm to your teeth or body.

Keeping your child’s teeth clean and healthy doesn’t have to involve a lot of work. Keep it simple by making sure they stick to a good diet with food that will strengthen and be good for their teeth and their whole body. Don’t forget to brush with them twice a day and floss once! And remember, if you have any questions about your child’s diet or brushing habits, feel free to call [PRACTICE] at St. Charles Office Phone Number (630) 232-6661 today.

How to Make Brushing Fun

Brushing teeth with your children Getting your child to take care of their teeth can take a lot of hard work and practice, but it is important to make sure it becomes a part of their daily routine. Making a monotonous task such as brushing teeth a little more fun and exciting can make a huge difference in the quality of brushing, and their willingness to keep their teeth healthy.

Not sure where to start? Never fear! We are here today with a few tips to make your daily routine a little more fun for your child, and a lot easier on you!

Brush with your child every day.

It is important to brush your teeth with your child every day because it sets a great example for them. Next time you’re brushing your teeth with your child, let them practice on you! This can be great fun for both of you, and can help them understand the importance of brushing just a little bit more. Just make sure to re-brush after!

Let them choose their experience.

Allow your child to pick out their own toothbrush. Having a toothbrush that is their favorite color or with their favorite character on it can make them more excited to use it. Also let your child choose what flavor toothpaste that they want to use. Allowing them to have control over these aspects of brushing can make it seem a lot more exciting to them.

Reward their progress.

Rewarding your child for brushing their teeth each day can be a great way to track their progress and improve consistency. Make a calendar and mark off each day that your child brushes his/her teeth. After ‘x’ amount of days in a row, reward them with a non-sugary treat or a toy that they will enjoy. This will be sure to motivate them to want to brush each and every day!

As you can see, it doesn’t have to be hard to get your child more engaged and involved in making sure that their teeth stay healthy. Try out a few of these tips, or let us know if you have any other suggestions for making brushing more enjoyable for your children. Remember to give [PRACTICE NAME] a call at St. Charles Office Phone Number (630) 232-6661 if you have any questions and to schedule your child’s next cleaning!