Dental Baby Care
At what age should my child’s first dental visit occur?
Your child’s first dental visit should occur within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than 12 months of age. These visits not only allow for examination and cleaning, but also for parent education that helps improve oral hygiene and prevent decay.
When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?
Brushing should begin with the eruption of the first tooth using a soft bristled toothbrush, a clean wet washcloth or a fingerbrush. Please schedule a visit to see and discuss techniques. At that time we can also discuss when to utilize fluoride toothpaste as this determination is always patient specific.
Pacifier and Thumb Sucking
Should I be concerned about my child’s pacifier or thumb sucking habit?
Early pacifier and thumb sucking habits are perfectly normal, but children should be weaned from these habits by 3 years of age. If you have further questions or concerns, please call to schedule an appointment so we can best meet your needs.
Preventing Cavities in Children
How do I prevent my child from getting cavities?
There are three factors that contribute to decay: bacteria, sugar and exposure time. Oral bacteria feed on sugar, which leads to acid production. This acid dissolves tooth structure. Let’s discuss these topics separately.
Bacteria: Everyone eventually acquires the bacteria that lead to caries. They are spread by sharing eating and drinking utensils or by kissing (even on the cheek). Most children acquire these bacteria from their mom so it is very important that mom take steps to limit her bacterial counts. These can include maintaining great oral hygiene, visiting the dentist to become caries free, limiting sugar exposure, and minimizing bacterial counts using xylitol-containing products. These bacteria live in dental plaque. Daily brushing disrupts this environment.
Sugar: Without sugar, oral bacteria cannot produce the acids that lead to decay. Limiting sugar limits decay. This also includes other carbohydrates that can be broken down into sugars like cereal.
Time: Time is a very important and often overlooked factor in the caries disease process. The amount of sugar consumed is less important than the frequency of sugar consumption when it comes to creating tooth decay. Every time we consume sugar, it takes our mouths a certain amount of time to recover. If we are constantly snacking, we are leaving ourselves constantly exposed to the threat of decay. Try to limit your children’s eating times to meal times and if they have to have a snack, limit the time they are allowed to eat it. Children should never be allowed to constantly “graze”. This includes dry cereals, crackers, chips, etc.