These infant visits are important in establishing a “dental home” for your child and allow us to provide education and guidance through the early years of your child’s dental development.
Once your infant’s first tooth has erupted, it’s important to jump into a normal brushing routine right away. A non-fluoridated or training toothpaste is recommended until your child has the ability to spit the toothpaste out on their own. Once they gain that ability, it is ok to use a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste when they brush.
Your children will need supervision and help as they need to brush and floss at least two times per day.
Once your child turns 7 or 8, they should be able to correctly brush their teeth on their own, but definitely observe them from time to time. (We all know that kids like to rush through brushing their teeth!)
Children need their parents to show them how to brush and floss properly. Instruct them to hold the toothbrush at a 45° angle, scrubbing along the front gumline and working around to the top/crown, then back around to the gumline on the inside of their mouth. They should gently and methodically scrub every possible surface of their teeth, even in places that may be harder to reach – but in the end, it means a healthier smile!
Also: encourage them to brush their tongue at the end of each brushing. This helps remove bacteria and freshens their breath!
Children often find flossing to be difficult and sometimes lack the manual dexterity to do it properly. They will need your help! Use a little more than 12 inches of floss (or a “child’s flosser”) and gently scrape the floss between the teeth. (Don’t forget the ones in the back of the mouth!) Remember, this is where plaque and food particles build up, increasing the likelihood of cavities and bacteria buildup.
Primary teeth, or baby teeth are important for:
Primary teeth also affect the development of speech and add to an attractive appearance. While the front 4 teeth last until 6-7 years of age, the back teeth (cuspids and molars) aren’t replaced until age 10-13. Cavities that are ignored or left alone in baby teeth can cause extreme pain, infection and swelling.
Here’s a simple concept you should always keep in-mind: sugar + saliva = acid. This causes cavities!
We all know that kids LOVE tasty, delicious snacks and candy that contain sugar (heck, who doesn’t love sugar?), but we often forget what sugar does when it’s combined with the saliva in our mouths. Acid is formed when these two substances are combined and allowed to literally sit in your child’s mouth, which erodes the enamel coating on teeth, causing cavities.
What’s the best thing to do? Avoid sugary drinks, snacks, candy, gum, and any kind of food product that contains this delicious ingredient. However, we’ll all often relax the “no-sugar” rule, so we recommend limiting the amount of time that sugar sits within their mouth and encourage brushing their teeth quickly after they have finished their sugar-filled snack. This at the very least will substantially reduce the likelihood of cavities developing in his/her mouth.
Also, it’s the frequency of sugar intake that causes cavities – not the amount! A small sip of sugary juice every 20 minutes all day is much worse than eating an entire chocolate cake at one sitting. Now that’s some food for thought!
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is an often-overlooked problem that leads to cavity formation in infants and toddlers.
So what’s the problem? Well, breast milk, baby formula, juice, and other similar liquids that we’ll often put in a bottle contain very high amounts of sugar. (Sounds like a similar problem to the topic above, right?) When we lay down our children and give them a bottle of sugary liquid to pacify them, this liquid will often pool in his/her mouth and surround the developing teeth. This very quickly leads to rapid tooth decay.
So what’s the solution? Give them water! Water will pacify your little ones just as well as milk, formula, juice, or other liquids – and will act as a safeguard against Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.
Thumb or finger sucking may seem like an incredibly innocent (and cute) habit for your young children, but this can actually be quite dangerous to their dental health. Not only does this cause unnecessary wear-and-tear on their front teeth, but may also lead to alignment problems and issues regarding the developmental positioning of teeth, contributing to a future need for braces, retainers, etc.
So what’s a way to combat this? Just be aware and encourage your child to keep their hands out of their mouth. Children naturally do this (and you probably did too), but you’ll need to take action if they continue sucking their thumb or fingers once their permanent teeth start erupting. If the habit continues, Dr. Dean may recommend an dental appliance to stop the habit.