The prevention of cavities and gum disease begins with the Infant Oral Health Exam and continues through routine cleanings, check-ups, and dental education at our office. A healthy mouth makes for a happy kid!
A sealant is a protective coating that we often paint on the chewing surface of a back tooth. They fill in the grooves in these teeth to prevent food and/or bacteria from sticking to the teeth. They are very effective at preventing cavities, although they do not protect the sides of the teeth, so flossing and brushing are still important. Although our sealants are a type of plastic, our sealant material is BPA-free.
Read more: Sealants
This form of fluoride (F) is mostly beneficial to the permanent teeth developing in the jawbones. It hardens the enamel, thus making it more resistant to decay. We recommend that children take a fluoride supplement up to the age of 12-13, as permanent teeth are still developing until a child reaches that age. Studies also now indicate there is a topical benefit to this form of fluoride. To maximize the benefit of fluoride, take the doses AS PRESCRIBED. Age indicates the correct dosage of fluoride your child will need, and if you have any questions please consult with your child's dentist. Any risks associated with fluoride are the direct result of improper use. Overuse of fluoride will most often appear as white spots or discolored areas on the permanent teeth.
All forms of fluoride other than the prescription are for topical use and mostly benefit the surfaces of the teeth already visible in the mouth. Continuation of these products (toothpaste, rinses, etc.) is encouraged as long as they are NOT swallowed.
Even before teeth have erupted, oral care is important! Although your child's teeth may not be visible, try to massage your child's gums after feeding and before bed with gauze or an infant washcloth to wipe away residual film left over from milk/formulas.
Teeth normally begin to erupt around 6 months of age, but some children may get their first teeth as early as 4-5 months, or as late as 8-12 months. Every child is unique, and follows their own timeline!
It is important to begin bushing your child's teeth twice a day, with a non-fluoridated toothpaste. Children who are still breastfeeding/drinking from the bottle should have their teeth brushed after feeding. A film of milk or juice left on the teeth can contribute to early childhood decay. Bottles/sippy cups should not be taken to bed unless they are filled with water. Proper care during these years can lead to healthy teeth later on!
Children should be encouraged to begin brushing on their own, but still need parental assistance. Those children who are able to spit out their toothpaste can begin using fluoridated paste. Spin-brushes can be very helpful at this age. Children should be weaned from pacifiers by this age, and it is important to begin to break any "thumb-sucking" habits. Some children may lose their first tooth around age 5-6. Healthy snacking should be encouraged. Fresh fruit, string cheese, fresh vegetables and nuts are healthy snacks. Sticky foods such as fruit snacks, fruit leather and other sweets or crackers should be given on a limited basis, and only given with a meal if possible.
Some children may lose their first tooth at age 5-6, while some others may not lose their first tooth until age 7. It is important to remember that each child is different, and everyone may not follow the exact same pattern. Children become much more active, and those children who participate in sports should be encouraged to wear mouth-guards. Brushing can sometimes become "rushed" or skipped in this age group, so it is important to still monitor your child's brushing routine.