What Is The Best Way To Clean My Baby’s Teeth?
Even before your baby’s first tooth appears, Dr. Stuart Scott will recommend that you clean his or her gums after feedings with a damp, soft washcloth. As soon as the first tooth appears, you can start using a toothbrush. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. You most likely can find a toothbrush designed for infants at your local drugstore.
At What Age Is It Appropriate To Use Toothpaste To Clean My Child’s Teeth?
Once your child has a few teeth, you can start using toothpaste on the brush. Our pediatric dentistry professionals recommend using only a tiny amount for each cleaning. Be sure to choose toothpaste without fluoride for children under two, because too much fluoride can be dangerous for very young children. Always have your child rinse and spit out toothpaste after brushing, to begin a lifelong habit he’ll need when he graduates to fluoride toothpaste. Children naturally want to swallow toothpaste after brushing, and swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste can cause teeth to stain. You should brush your child’s teeth for him until he is ready to take on that responsibility himself, which usually happens by age six or seven.
What Causes Cavities?
Certain types of bacteria live in our mouths. When these bacteria come into contact with sugary foods left behind on our teeth after eating, acids are produced. These acids attack the enamel on the exterior of the teeth, eventually eating through the enamel and creating holes in the teeth, which we call cavities.
How Can I Help My Child Avoid Cavities?
Be sure that your child brushes his teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Flossing daily is also important, because flossing can reach spots between the teeth that brushing can’t. Check with your pediatric dentistry professional about a fluoride supplement which helps tooth enamel become harder and more resistant to decay. Avoid sugary foods and drinks, limit snacking and maintain a healthy diet. And finally, make regular appointments so that we can check the health of your child’s teeth and provide professional cleanings.
Does My Child Need Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants cover the pits and fissures in teeth that are difficult to brush and therefore susceptible to decay. Our pediatric dentistry professionals recommend sealants as a safe, simple way to help your child avoid cavities, especially for molars, which are hardest to reach.
My Child Plays Sports. How Can I Protect His or Her Teeth?
Even children’s sports involve contact, and we recommend mouthguards for children active in sports. If your little one plays baseball, soccer, or other sports, ask us about having a custom-fitted mouthguard made to protect his teeth, lips, cheeks and gums.
What Should I Do If My Child Sucks His Thumb?
The large majority of children suck their thumbs or fingers as infants, and most grow out of it by the age of four, without causing any permanent damage to their teeth. If your child continues sucking after permanent teeth erupt, or if he sucks aggressively, let your pediatric dentistry professionals know and we can check to see if any problems may arise from the habit.
When Should My Child Have Dental X-Rays Taken By A Pediatric Dentistry Professional?
Dr. Stuart Scott recommends taking X-rays around the age of two or three. The first set consists of simple pictures of the front upper and lower teeth, which familiarizes your child with the process. Once the baby teeth in back are touching one another, then regular (at least yearly) X-rays are recommended. Permanent teeth start coming in around age six, and X-rays help us make sure your child’s teeth and jaw are healthy and properly aligned. If your child is at a high risk of dental problems, we may suggest having X-rays taken at an earlier age.