Children’s Dentistry FAQ
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions our parents ask about children’s dentistry.
- If your child has poor dental health, they will chew their food improperly, resulting in a poorer diet, poorer general health, and poorer school attendance.
- Healthy teeth and smiles build confidence for our children. When children see that they have cavities in their teeth, they tend to shy away from their friends and become more reserved. They help your child feel comfortable about the way they look and will encourage normal development of the jaw bones and muscles.
- If your child loses their primary front teeth early, they will struggle to say certain words until their permanent teeth erupt into the mouth. The primary teeth allow good pronunciation and speech habits.
- The baby teeth guide the permanent teeth to erupt into the correct position in the dental arch, since the permanent teeth grow under the baby teeth. This way they are ensuring there is enough room for permanent teeth to erupt. The permanent teeth may be unable to come into the right position if the primary teeth are lost prematurely. The second primary molar is not lost until 12 – 13 years of age.
Begin brushing your child’s teeth at the age of one. It has been proven that if tooth-brushing begins at this age, the child will suffer less from dental decay. This happens because this early tooth-brushing habit can diminish the number of bacteria from the very first stages of development and maintain a low concentration throughout life.
Age 1 – 3: Use a minimal amount of fluoridated toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) on a children’s toothbrush once a day, during the bedtime brushing session. It doesn’t matter if your child swallows this bit of toothpaste if you have well water or your city does not have fluoride in the water. During the daytime brushing sessions, use non-fluoridated tooth and gum cleanser until your child learns to spit out the toothpaste. *Remember not to use fluoridated toothpaste at this age if you live in a fluoridated area.
Age 3 – 6: when your child becomes three years old, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. For more effective brushing, have your child spit out the toothpaste, but do not make your child rinse his mouth, after brushing.
Age 6 and above: A normal amount of toothpaste should be used provided they can spit it out with ease. The use of toothpaste is necessary due to the beneficial effect of the fluoride on the enamel of the teeth. Before the age of six, encourage your child to avoid rinsing out the remaining toothpaste since the beneficial effect of the toothpaste is increased if the child doesn’t rinse with water after brushing.
- Make tooth brushing a positive experience. Try to find ways to make it fun and enjoyable. Be patient and relaxed.
- Avoid brushing your child’s teeth when they are tired or hungry. It will be harder for them to cooperate.
- Be consistent. Routine is important. Some days will be easier than others, but your children need to know that they will have their teeth brushed every morning and night.
- Take turns brushing each other’s teeth. Use your own toothbrush!
- Make a game of it. Play “Guess what I see on your teeth!” Use a small hand mirror and a flashlight for fun.
- Be sure you can see into your child’s mouth as you brush. Support the chin and neck.
- Have your child sit or lie comfortably. Use your lap, the changing table, or wherever it is convenient.
- Brush teeth gently but with enough pressure to remove debris. Use a small, soft toothbrush.
- Try different flavors of fluoride toothpaste. Find one your child likes.
- Allow your child to swallow or spit often during brushing. Children need frequent swallowing breaks so they don’t feel like they are choking.
- Be a good role model. Let your child see you brush and floss your teeth daily.
- Brush your child’s teeth until they are at least 9 years old. Some researchers suggest until your child is 12 years old may be necessary, depending on his or her manual dexterity, fine motor skills, or special needs.
The first thing to do would be to find the tooth and put it in milk. Bottled water would be a good second choice. We don’t want the tooth to dry out, so we need to keep it moist. Please DO NOT clean the tooth, just keep it in the milk or water until you can get to our office as soon as possible, ideally within two hours.
If you notice your child’s tooth turning gray, take the child to the dentist to check for an infection. Sometimes the tooth is just bruised when it looks gray or purple, and it goes back to normal with time. But often children have an infected tooth and grayness is the only sign. If a pimple develops above the tooth, it is called a fistula and the child needs to get the baby tooth removed. It is very important to not let the infection remain or it can spread through the bloodstream and lead to a very sick child or even, in extreme cases, death.