Early Care Advice
It is very important to establish good oral health while your child is still an infant. Below we have listed a number of common questions we receive about proper dental care for an infant’s teeth.
Why should I clean my children’s teeth?
Tooth brushing and flossing are important tasks for good oral health. A wet washcloth will work best for cleaning your baby’s first teeth. Just gently massage the gums and teeth in a circular motion. Once your child has four or more teeth use children’s toothpaste with a mild flavor and no fluoride until your child can spit. At this time, you can use a fluoride toothpaste, but just the size of a pea. Parents should brush their child teeth until the child can tie their own shoes, (Velcro does not count) at about age 7 or 8.
When should I first take my child to the dentist?
When you begin your child’s dental check ups, you are establishing a dental home for your child. We recommend that you schedule your child’s first dental visit by the time he celebrates his first birthday. If your child no longer drinks from a bottle and does not snack or drink in the middle of the night you may wait until age two.
Is thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child’s teeth?
Sucking is a natural reflex that infants and young children may use to soothe themselves. It may make them feel secure and happy, or provide a sense of security at difficult times. Due to it’s relaxing effect, many children use it as a means to fall asleep.
Thumb sucking and the use of pacifiers that persists beyond the eruption of the permanent teeth can cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and tooth alignment. Children who rest their thumbs passively in their mouths are less likely to have problems then those who vigorously suck their thumbs.
Why are baby teeth important?
It is very important to maintain the health of primary (baby) teeth. Neglected cavities can and frequently do lead to problems that can affect the health of your child. Decay is a bacterial infection of your tooth. Primary teeth are important for (1) proper eating and chewing, (2) providing space for the permanent teeth and guiding them into correct position, and (3) permitting normal development of the jaw bones and tissues. Primary teeth also affect the development of speech, and gives a child more self-confidence with an attractive appearance. While the front teeth last until 5-8 years of age, the back teeth are not replaced by permanent teeth until age 9-14.
How do sealants work?
A sealant is a clear plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces (grooves) of the back teeth (premolars and molars). The sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque, bacteria and acid protecting the tooth from decay on the chewing surface of the tooth. Sealants do not protect teeth from getting cavities in between them, only dental floss can do that.
How safe are dental X-Rays?
Pediatric dentists are particularly careful to minimize the exposure of their patients to radiation. With modern safeguards, the amount of radiation received in a dental x-ray is very small. Dental radiographs represent a far smaller risk then undetected and untreated dental problems. Lead aprons are used to protect your child. Today’s equipment filters out unnecessary x-rays and makes sure that your child receives a minimal amount of rendition exposure.
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