A toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head, especially one designed for infants, is the best choice for infants. Brushing at least once a day with water, at bedtime, will remove plaque and bacteria that can lead to decay.
First visit by first birthday” is the general rule. To prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, usually between 6 and 12 months of age, and certainly no later than their first birthday.
Pediatric dentistry is a dental specialty that focuses on the oral health of young people. Following dental school, a pediatric dentist has two to three years additional specialty training in the unique needs of infants, children, and adolescents, including those with special health needs.
Baby bottle tooth decay is a pattern of rapid decay associated with prolonged nursing. It happens when a child goes to sleep while breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, leaving sugary liquid pooled around their teeth. During sleep, the flow of saliva is reduced and the natural self-cleansing action of the mouth is diminished. To reduce the risk of this type of decay, avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bedtime bottle. In addition, encourage your child to drink from a cup as they approach their first birthday. Children should be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age.
Thumb and pacifier sucking habits that go on for a long period of time can create crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems. If your child still sucks their thumb or fingers when permanent teeth arrive, your pediatric dentist may recommend a mouth appliance to discourage the habit. However, most children stop these habits on their own.
Sealants are clear or shaded plastic applied to the teeth to help keep them cavity-free. Sealants fill in the grooved and pitted surfaces of the teeth, which are hard to clean, and shut out food particles that could get caught, causing cavities. Fast and comfortable to apply, sealants can effectively protect teeth for many years.
Do not use fluoridated toothpaste until age 3. Prior to that age, clean your child’s teeth with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. After age 3, you should supervise brushing, instructing your child in good brushing habits. Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and make sure your child does not swallow any excess.
To comfort your child, rinse their mouth with warm salt water and apply a cold compress or ice wrapped in a cloth on your child’s face if it is swollen. Acetaminophen may be given for pain. Contact our office for an appointment as soon as possible.
Fluoride has been shown to dramatically decrease a person’s chances of getting cavities by making teeth stronger. Fluoride in the drinking water is the best and easiest way to get it. If you’d like to confirm your child is getting enough fluoride, have your pediatric dentist evaluate the fluoride level of your child’s primary source of water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride internally through water (especially in communities where the water is not fluoridated or if your child drinks unfluoridated bottled water), your pediatric dentist may prescribe fluoride supplements.
With contemporary safeguards such as lead aprons and digital X-ray technology, the amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination is extremely small. Even given that tiny risk, pediatric dentists are particularly careful to minimize the exposure of child patients to radiation and will recommend X-rays only when necessary. In fact, dental X-rays represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.
A mouth guard should be a top priority on your child’s list of sports equipment. Athletic mouth protectors, or mouth guards, are made of soft plastic and fit comfortably to the shape of the upper teeth. They protect a child’s teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums from sports-related injuries. Any mouth guard works better than no mouth guard, but a custom-fitted mouth guard fitted in our office is your child’s best protection against sports-related injuries.
In general, the two lower front teeth (central incisors) will erupt at about 6 months, followed shortly by the two upper central incisors. The remainder of the baby teeth appear during the next 18 to 24 months, but not necessarily in an orderly sequence from front to back. All 20 primary teeth should be present at about 2 to 3 years.
First of all, remain calm. If possible, find the tooth and pick it up by the crown rather than the root. Replace the tooth in the socket and hold it there with clean gauze or a washcloth. If you can’t put the tooth back in the socket, place it in a clean container of milk and take your child and the immersed tooth immediately to the pediatric dentist. The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth.
Sore gums when teeth erupt are part of the normal teething process. Some children find relief by chewing on a teething biscuit, a piece of toast, or a chilled teething ring. You can also find medications that can be rubbed on the gums to reduce the discomfort at your pharmacy.
Probably not. Usually this space will close in the next few years as the other front teeth erupt. We can determine whether there is cause for concern.
Yes. Primary, or “baby,” teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, but they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt. Some baby teeth are necessary until a child is 12 years or older. Pain, infection of the gums and jaws, impairment of general health, and premature loss of teeth are just a few of the problems that can happen when baby teeth are neglected. Because tooth decay is really an infection and will spread, decay on baby teeth can also cause decay on permanent teeth. Proper care of baby teeth is instrumental in enhancing the health of your child.
Four things are necessary for cavities to form—a tooth, bacteria, sugars or other carbohydrates, and time. Dental plaque is a thin, sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that constantly forms on everyone’s teeth. When you eat, the sugars in your food cause the bacteria in plaque to produce acids that attack the tooth enamel. With time and repeated acid attacks, the enamel breaks down and a cavity forms.