We strive to make your patient experience as pleasant as possible. To help you know what to expect, what to bring to appointments and how to find more education and support, we’ve provided the following information.
Care of the Mouth and Teeth
Most pediatric dentists will agree that regular dental care should begin by one year of age, with a dental check-up every six months. Some children may require more frequent evaluations and care. Following is a dental checklist for infants and toddlers:
Birth to six months of age:
- Clean the infant's mouth with gauze or use a soft infant toothbrush after feedings and at bedtime.
- Consult your child's pediatrician regarding fluoride supplements.
- Regulate feeding habits (bottle-feeding and breastfeeding).
Six to 12 months of age:
- During this time, the first tooth should appear. Consult a pediatric dentist for an examination.
- Brush teeth after each feeding and at bedtime with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush.
- As the child begins to walk, stay alert for potential dental and/or facial injuries.
Twelve to 24 months of age:
- Follow the schedule of dental examinations and cleanings as recommended by your child's pediatric dentist. Generally, dental examinations and cleanings are recommended every 6 months for children and adults.
- As your child learns to rinse his/her mouth, and as most primary (baby) teeth have erupted by this age, brushing with a pea-sized portion of fluoride toothpaste becomes appropriate. However, it is advised to consult your child's pediatric dentist regarding the appropriate time for your toddler to begin using flouride toothpaste.
Facts about deciduous (primary or baby) teeth:
- Proper care of a child's deciduous teeth (also known as "baby" or primary teeth) is very important, as these teeth hold space for the future eruption of permanent teeth.
- If a baby tooth decays or is removed too early, the space necessary for the permanent teeth is lost and can only be regained through orthodontic treatment.
- Infected baby teeth can cause the permanent teeth to develop improperly resulting in stains, pits and weaker teeth.
- Primary teeth are important in speech development.
- Primary teeth aid in chewing food properly, promoting healthy nutrition.
- Most children begin losing their baby teeth around the ages of five or six. Usually the front teeth first. They continue to lose baby teeth until the age of 12 or 13 when all of the permanent teeth finally come through, with the exception of the third molars (wisdom teeth). These molars begin to appear between the ages of 17 and 21.
Diet and dental care for children:
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the following to ensure your child eats correctly to maintain a healthy body and teeth:
Ask your child's pediatric dentist to help you assess your child's diet.
- Shop smart. Do not routinely stock your pantry with sugary or starchy snacks.
- Buy "fun foods" just for special times.
- Limit the number of snacks and choose nutritious snacks.
- Provide a balanced diet and save foods with sugar or starch for mealtimes.
- Do not put your young child to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice.
- If your child chews gum or sips soda, choose those without sugar