Kids & Teens
Take care of your baby’s teeth and gums before teething even begins. Establishing good dental hygiene at a young age, even for an infant, leads to a lifetime of good health.
1 year old exams
Do you know when your child’s dental care should begin? The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that the appearance of the first baby tooth is a good sign. For most babies, this occurs when they are between 6 months and 1 year of age. A simpler way to remember for your child is: first dental visit by first birthday. It’s important to remember that baby teeth serve as place-holders for adult teeth. If baby teeth are damaged, permanent teeth can grow in out of position, resulting in crowding and/or crooked.
Cleaning Baby’s Teeth
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 un-fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use only a “smear” of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age. For your two to five year old, dispense a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child’s tooth brushing. Once your child has mastered spitting out the toothpaste consistently, you may change to a fluoridated tooth paste. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively by themselves.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Many people are unaware of the dental condition known as baby bottle tooth decay. Serious harm can come to a baby’s teeth when bottles filled with juice, milk or formula are allowed to sit in a baby’s mouth for long periods of time. Generally this happens when a baby is put to bed with a bottle. If you bottle feed, make sure to remove the bottle when your baby fall asleep. Drinking juice from a bottle should be avoided. Children should be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age.
Thumb & Finger Sucking
Thumb sucking is perfectly normal for infants, and many children stop by age two. Prolonged thumb sucking can create crooked teeth or bite problems for your child. If the habit continues beyond age three, ask Dr. Whitfield about ways to address a prolonged thumb sucking habit.
Fluoride is a mineral that is found naturally in many things we eat or drink. It is nature’s way of helping prevent cavities. Both in-office fluorides and low strength home fluorides play important roles in helping to keep your teeth for a lifetime. Professional fluorides make teeth stronger and even heal weakened areas while home fluorides assist in this process. In the lifelong fight against cavities, both adults and children benefit from in-office treatment and home fluorides. If you live in a non-fluoridated community, ask Dr. Whitfield what he can do to make your child’s teeth stronger and more resistant to decay.
Dental sealants are plastic coatings or barriers that protect the teeth against decay-causing bacteria. Usually, sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of your back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often. Applying a sealant to your teeth can prevent cavities and the need for fillings, which must be replaced every six to eight years. Children especially benefit from sealants.
If your child plays sports or other similar activities, mouth guards are a great way to protect their teeth from potential injury. They are easy to clean, come in many color combinations and are custom made to fit comfortably in your child’s mouth.