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Check out some frequently asked questions and our answers
The AAPD recommends that children establish a dental home and see a dentist for the first time within 6 months of the first teeth coming in- usually around age one! Early dental visits help families to begin a prevention program and avoid early childhood cavities.
Baby teeth allow children to maintain good nutrition by permitting them to chew properly. The teeth are an important part of speech development. Baby teeth save space for permanent teeth, and help children feel positively about their appearance.
Babies are born without bacteria in their mouths, but bacteria are generally passed from a primary caregiver. Bacteria are passed by sharing saliva (sharing spoons or straws, kissing on the mouth, etc). The bacteria can start the process that causes cavities even before babies have teeth.
It is not uncommon for babies to drool, run low fevers, or be cranky as teeth come in. To soothe irritated gums, offer your baby a teething ring or wet washcloth. You may also use a mesh feeder with frozen fruit or frozen pureed vegetables.
Brush your baby’s teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush twice daily. Replace toothbrushes every 3-4 months. Brush for 2 minutes 2 times per day. Teach toddlers not to swallow toothpaste. You can floss for your child when his/her teeth are touching.
Yes! Use a smear or rice-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste to brush your baby’s teeth until he/she is able to spit consistently. Using that very small amount will help to strengthen the teeth without causing problems from ingesting the toothpaste. Once children can spit, use a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
Sippy cups are a training tool to transition toddlers from a bottle to a cup, and should not be used for a long period of time. Sippy cups should only be filled with water except at mealtimes. They should not be used at naptime or bedtime unless they contain only water.
Typically, habits like this are not a concern if the habit is discontinued by age 2. Generally, positive reinforcement when children choose not to take the pacifier, thumb or finger is the best way to break a habit.
The one your child will use! An electric toothbrush is a great way to do a more thorough job of brushing- even when the child is very young! However, a manual toothbrush may be a better choice for kids who are unable to tolerate the sound or vibration from an electric brush.
We always recommend brushing for 2 minutes two times per day. Ideally, an electric toothbrush is a great option for older kids! Once per day, preferably at nighttime, we recommend flossing either with traditional floss or a floss pick. If your child is more prone to cavities, we may recommend further preventives, such as fluoridated mouthwash, a special toothpaste, or a probiotic lozenge.
One can of soda may have more than the recommended daily amount of sugar. Sugar allows the oral bacteria to produce acid that can weaken enamel and cause cavities. Both regular and diet sodas can also be very acidic which erodes enamel and may lead to cavities. We recommend drinking water when possible. If you must drink soda, drink it at a mealtime rather than sipping throughout the day, use a straw, and rinse with water immediately or brush 30-60min after finishing the soda.
In some cases, we may discuss consulting with the orthodontist after some permanent teeth have come in, especially if there are significant concerns such as missing permanent teeth, severe crowding, issues with jaw growth, etc. This may be as early as age 7. Generally the ortho will help to determine when and if early treatment is indicated.
Typically, kids begin to lose teeth around age 6. Most will continue to lose teeth until around age 12. Generally, a baby tooth gets wiggly and falls out around the time that permanent teeth come in.
Wisdom teeth, or 3rd molars, are the furthest back teeth we will get. Though most people get wisdom teeth, not everyone will get all 4 of them. Usually we discuss options regarding wisdom teeth in the mid to late teen years. If wisdom teeth cause discomfort or if there is insufficient space for them, we recommend a consultation with an Oral Surgeon typically when the patient is in the age 18-25 age range.
Some foods like cheese buffer the enamel and help protect teeth. Certain foods like nuts, popcorn, vegetables, certain meats, and eggs do not allow for acid formation in the mouth and are great meal/snack options.
Foods high in refined carbohydrates promote development of plaque and creation of acid. These foods include sweet pastries, chips, cookies, crackers, white bread, sweetened cereal, cakes, dried fruits, ice cream, flavored milk, any sugary beverages and sticky/chewy candies. Consider rinsing with water after consuming any of these products.
A dental sealant is a thin protective coating that adheres to the chewing surface of teeth to keep cavities from forming in the deep grooves. Sealants are a non invasive, painless, quick and affordable way to protect the deep grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. We usually discuss sealants as soon as we can keep the permanent molars dry enough to get an ideal result.
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