Here are some of the frequently asked questions by the parents……
What can I do to protect my child’s teeth while playing sports?
We recommend mouth guards for children who are active in sports. If your little one plays baseball, soccer, or other sports, ask us about having a custom-fitted mouth guard made to protect his teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums. A mouth guard can even help to prevent head injuries.
Toothpaste: when should your child begin to use and how much should be used?
Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use a “smear” of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age. For the 2-5 year old, dispense a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child’s tooth brushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.
What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?
At first, you may find it easier to clean your baby’s teeth using a piece of clean gauze or muslin. Wrap it around your finger, put a tiny smear of toothpaste on it, and rub around your baby’s teeth.
If you’d rather use a brush, pick one with soft, round-ended bristles of differing lengths, and a small, angled head. This will allow you to reach all parts of your baby’s mouth easily and comfortably. Look at the packaging to see what age range the brush is designed for.
How is Dental Health related to Your Diet?
You may be able to prevent two of the most common diseases of modern civilization, tooth decay (caries) and periodontal (gum) disease, simply by improving your diet. Decay results when the teeth and other hard tissues of the mouth are destroyed by acid products from oral bacteria. Certain foods and food combinations are linked to higher levels of cavity-causing bacteria. Although poor nutrition does not directly cause periodontal disease, many researchers believe that the disease progresses faster and is more severe in patients whose diet does not supply the necessary nutrients.
Poor nutrition affects the entire immune system, thereby increasing susceptibility to many disorders. People with lowered immune systems have been shown to be at higher risk for periodontal disease. Additionally, research shows a link between oral health and systemic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So eating a variety of foods as part of a well-balanced diet may not only improve your dental health, but increasing fiber and vitamin intake may also reduce the risk of other diseases.
Most snacks that children eat can lead to cavity formation. The more frequently a child snacks, the greater the chance for tooth decay. How long food remains in the mouth also plays a role. For example, hard candy and breath mints stay in the mouth a long time, which cause longer acid attacks on tooth enamel.
If your child must snack, choose nutritious foods such as vegetables, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese which are healthier and better for children’s teeth.
How to Brush your child’s Teeth?
Choose a small, child-sized, soft-bristled toothbrush. Soaking the brush in warm water for a few minutes before brushing can soften the bristles even more. Brush your child’s teeth twice a day, in the morning and just before bed. Spend 2 minutes brushing, concentrating a good portion of this time on the back molars. This is an area where cavities often first develop.
When should you start ‘Flossing’ your child’s Teeth?
You should start flossing your children’s teeth even when they have only their baby (primary) teeth. Once a child’s teeth start to fit closely together, usually between the ages of two and six, parents should start to get their children in the habit of flossing daily. As they develop dexterity, you can help them learn to floss
The Tooth Tour
Take a look at a tooth – the part that can be seen in the mouth, is the crown and the part not seen and buried in the bony socket of the jaw firmly enclosed is the root.
The crown of the tooth is covered with the enamel, one of the hardest natural substances known.
Dentin, which lies just under enamel forms, the bulk of the tooth. It is yellowish and is not as hard as enamel.
Pulp is the soft tissue that fills the chamber of the center of the tooth and the canals that extends down the roots of the tooth. It contains nerves and blood vessels. Cementum – a thin bone like tissue covers and protects the tooth root.
There are twenty teeth, which can be seen, in a baby’s mouth
- 8 incisors
- 4 canines
- 8 molars; they are called as milk teeth or more scientifically deciduous teeth.
What are the common pediatric dental emergencies you may encounter and how would you deal with them?
Common pediatric dental emergencies and their solutions:
- A baby tooth gets knocked out. Call us for an emergency visit.
- A permanent tooth gets knocked out. Gently rinse the tooth, handling the tooth by the crown (avoid touching the root). Try to place the tooth back in its socket, and bite down on gauze to keep it secure until you get here. If you can’t put the tooth in its socket, place it in a small container of milk or saliva so we can attempt to re-attach the tooth. If your child loses a permanent tooth, call us immediately, as time is absolutely a factor in salvaging the natural tooth.
- A tooth gets chipped or broken. Gently rinse the area, and place a cold compress on your child’s face to limit swelling. If you can gather the piece or pieces of the tooth, place them in milk, and then bring them with you when come in. If more than half of the tooth is fractured, call us immediately.
- A tooth is displaced. A displaced tooth has not been knocked out, but due to accident or injury has been pulled out to appear elongated or pushed in and appears shorter. It may also be pushed forward, backward, or sideways. If your child experiences tooth displacement, call to schedule an emergency visit. The sooner we can put the tooth back in its proper place, the better.
After what age the child should be allowed to brush his/her teeth by his/her self?
It is best to carry on brushing your child’s teeth for him/her until at least the age of seven. By that age, he/she should be able to do it properly.
When should you start brushing your child’s teeth?
When your child’s teeth begin to erupt, brush them gently with a child’s size toothbrush and water (toothpaste is used for children two and older).
You can start cleaning your baby’s teeth twice a day as soon as you see a tooth emerging. If you start early, your baby will get used to having his/her teeth cleaned.
What is the best time for orthodontic treatment?
Developing malocclusions, or bad bites, can be recognized as early as 2-3 years of age. Often, early steps can be taken to reduce the need for major orthodontic treatment at a later age.
By age 7, enough permanent teeth have come in and enough jaw growth has occurred that the dentist or orthodontist can identify current problems, anticipate future problems and alleviate parents’ concerns if all seems normal. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by age 7, and crossbites, crowding and developing injury-prone dental protrusions can be evaluated. Any ongoing finger sucking or other oral habits can be assessed at this time also.
Upto what age is thumb sucking considered to be normal? What are its ill effects on oral health?
Babies have a natural desire to suck. Thumb sucking is a common way babies seem to comfort themselves. Thumb sucking usually begins by 3 months of age. It is considered normal upto 4 to 5 years of age.
If thumb sucking continues beyond the age of 5, when the permanent teeth begin to come in, dental problems can occur. Depending on the frequency, intensity, and duration of the sucking, the teeth can be pushed out of alignment, causing them to protrude and create an overbite. Your child may also have difficulty with the correct pronunciation of words. In addition, the upper and lower jaws can become misaligned and the roof of the mouth might become malformed.
Eruption of your Child’s Teeth
The age at which teeth erupt into your child’s mouth varies widely among different children.
Babies are born with their primary (baby) teeth formed underneath the gums, but these baby teeth do not start appearing until many months later. In general, the first baby teeth to erupt are usually the lower front teeth, and they come in between the ages of 6-10 months. Although all 20 primary teeth usually appear by age 3, the pace and order of their eruption varies from child to child.
Your child’s first permanent (adult) teeth begin appearing around age 6, starting with the first molars and the lower front teeth. These are important teeth because they help shape the lower part of your child’s face, as well as affect the position of your child’s other permanent teeth. Thereafter, your child’s baby teeth will begin to fall out (exfoliate) to make room for his/her permanent teeth. Around the age of 12, your child may have a full set of permanent teeth, having lost all his/her baby teeth. Wisdom teeth, or 3rd molars, usually appear between the ages 17 and 21. Oftentimes, these teeth become impacted and will require extraction.
When will your Baby Start Getting Teeth?
Most babies get their first tooth at around 6 months, but your child’s chompers may appear as early as 3 months or as late as 14.
What is Nursing or Baby Bottle Tooth Decay? How can it be prevented?
Baby bottle tooth decay is the result of frequent, prolonged contact with liquids that contain sugars such as fruit juices, milk, formula or any other sweetened drinks. Human breast milk is also a contributor to baby bottle tooth decay. As the sugars break down in the mouth, bacteria start feeding on the sugars, produce acids and cause tooth decay.
If left untreated, decayed teeth can cause pain and discomfort. Not only can decayed teeth affect your child’s comfort, primary teeth also help guide permanent teeth into place. If the teeth are damaged or absent, they are unable to help guide permanent teeth into their proper position, possibly affecting future crowding or crooked teeth of adult teeth. Badly decayed baby teeth could lead to an abscessed tooth, with the infection spreading to between the teeth and the gum or affecting the root of the tooth.
Listed below are some tips to preventing baby bottle tooth decay:
- To calm your baby, don’t give a bottle filled with sugary liquids; instead, give plain water or use a pacifier.
- Don’t coat your baby’s pacifier in a sweetener of any kind such as sugar, or honey as a way to comfort them.
- Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle filled with sugary liquids. Plain water is best.
- Use a wet cloth or gauze to wipe your child’s teeth and gums after each feeding. This helps remove any excess sugar preventing the chance for bacteria to form.
Why are the Primary Teeth so Important?
Many parents ask why baby teeth are so important to their child’s health when they fall out on their own eventually. Primary teeth stay in place until a permanent tooth underneath erupts, pushing it out and taking it’s place. These teeth are important to the natural development and growth of what will become your child’s permanent smile. Emphasizing healthy oral habits at an early age also promote good nutrition and encourage a positive self-image.
When should be Your Child’s First Dental Visit?
Your child’s first dental visit should be scheduled around their first birthday. One of the most important reasons of this visit is to familiarize your child with the dental office environment and to ease any anxiety associated with future visits. During this time the dentist can examine your child’s dental development and address dental issues such as baby bottle decay, or any teething tenderness while providing preventive care when needed.
Who is a Pediatric Dentist?
A Pediatric dentist is dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through the teen years. He/she has the experience and qualifications to care for a child’s teeth, gums, and mouth throughout the various stages of childhood.