DENTISTRY FOR CHILDREN
Why Are Baby Teeth Important?
Baby teeth, which are also called primary teeth, are essential to a child’s development. Healthy primary teeth allow the jaw bones and muscles to develop and help permanent teeth grow correctly. If a child loses a baby tooth too soon, his or her permanent teeth may grow crooked and lead to costly orthodontic treatments later. A decaying baby tooth can cause pain and infection, which can spread to permanent teeth. Infected teeth left untreated may impact your child’s overall health. It’s vital to care for baby teeth even though they eventually fall out. Some primary molars don’t emerge until the age of 14 (or older). So, baby teeth need to last for years!
It’s never too early to help kids learn to care for their teeth. Good oral hygiene habits keep kids healthy and prevent costly, challenging treatment later. The oral hygiene habits your kids develop today may last their entire lives!
Should Baby Teeth be Treated the Same As Adult Teeth?
Both children and adults should brush twice a day and floss once a day, and visit their dentist for a professional cleaning and preventative exam twice a year. However, care of the teeth should begin even before the teeth are visible.
The American Dental Association recommends beginning oral health care during the few days after birth. Gently wipe the baby’s gums with a moist, clean washcloth or gauze pad after feedings. The first tooth arrives around 4-6 months of age, and your child may be susceptible to tooth decay then. Brush their teeth twice a day with a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste (no more than the size of a grain of rice).
Children ages 3 to 6 can start using an increased amount of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a pea. At this point, they should be encouraged to brush their teeth on their own. However, continue to monitor and remind them to spit out the toothpaste and not swallow it. Flossing should start once two teeth in the child’s mouth touch. You should brush your child’s teeth until about age 6 or 7 when you and your dental professional are confident that they can efficiently clean their teeth on their own.
What Dental Problems Could My Child Have?
Some dental issues may begin early in life. These issues can affect how the adult teeth emerge and whether they will be more or less prone to future dental problems.
If a child visits a dentist early, they enjoy better chances of preventing future oral complications. We recommended that your child’s first dental visit occurs within six months of their first tooth erupting and no later than their first birthday.
Tooth decay is the most frequent childhood disease, and it’s most commonly caused by prolonged exposure to sugary drinks. Decay may progress when a child sleeps with a bottle of juice, formula, or breastmilk. Bacteria that cause tooth decay can also be transferred from a parent to the child through saliva. This transfer may occur when a parent cleans their baby’s pacifier or spoon with their own mouth.
Inflammation of the gum tissue, or gingivitis, can happen to children of any age. To help prevent unnecessary inflammation, keep the child’s gums clean after birth.
Finger sucking, teeth grinding, and other oral habits should be monitored, especially as the child’s permanent teeth emerge. The growth and development of permanent teeth may be affected if the child’s habit continues past the first few years.
Do Children Need Preventative Care?
Preventative care pays dividends early for children. Cleanings and checkups twice a year help prevent cavities, but we provide other proactive services, too. The American Dental Association recommends topical in-office fluoride treatments every six months. We place a fluoride treatment on your child’s teeth after cleanings to strengthen enamel and prevent decay. This quick, painless treatment is usually covered by insurance (for children). Another preventive service includes the fast, simple application of dental sealants. A sealant is a type of bonding placed onto the tops of the teeth where bacteria often cause decay. Thin resin seals off these vulnerable areas, keeping bacteria out and the teeth cavity-free.
How Should I Prepare My Child for Their First Visit?
The first visit should occur within six months of your child’s first tooth coming in and no later than your child’s first birthday. We create a calm environment for your child and slowly introduce new procedures. A lifetime of comfortable dental care starts with safe visits and a respectful approach.
Early visits before your child’s first birthday begin to familiarize them with dental visits at a young age. For most kids, we recommend scheduling morning appointments when they’re alert and rested. The first visit involves an exam, simple plaque removal, and tooth polishing. But we always customize the experience based on each child’s comfort level. We review oral hygiene, and your child leaves with a goodie bag containing their own toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and a toy (their favorite part!).
IN NEED OF IMMEDIATE CARE?
We offer emergency phone consultations to our existing patients
Call or Text 513-231-9610
CALL OR TEXT US!
2131 Beechmont Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45230