Taking care of baby teeth will increase chances of taking better care of adult teeth. Also due to the fact that all baby teeth do not exfoliate until around 12 years old, problems may arise that can cause pain, discomfort, infections, as well as problems for the adult teeth, overall oral health, and other systemic complications.
2. Is juice okay for my child?
Some juices may have nutritional value but many juices contain a significant amount of sugar and too much consumption can lead to cavities. The American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the following:
Children under 1 year old: No fruit juice at all
Children 1-3: At most 4oz of fruit juice consumption
Children 4-6: 4-6 oz of fruit juice consumption
In summary, juice is fine in moderation but, but fresh fruit is much better.
3. At what age do I start brushing my child’s teeth?
A new tooth is something to be very exciting about! On average, children get their first tooth around six months of age. Start brushing your little one’s teeth as soon as the tooth erupts. Wet wash cloth can be used initially and then progress to an age appropriate toothbrush.
4. What is best to use: a mechanical toothbrush or an electric toothbrush?
Either electrical or mechanical toothbrushes can be used and have no preference by the pediatric dentist.
5. When should I start flossing my child’s teeth?
Flossing is the removal of any food particles, and debris, and bacteria that can cause cavities between your teeth. Flossing is not necessary until posterior teeth begin to contact each other which occurs around the age of four years old. As for how often to floss, once a day is what the pediatric dentist recommends.
6. What kind and how much toothpaste should I use on my child?
After the first tooth erupts until when your little one is able to spit out (around three years old), we recommend a “smear” or piece of rice size of toothpaste. Once your child is able to spit out, then a pea-size of toothpaste is recommended. Any toothpaste that contains fluoride is recommended.
7. My child uses a pacifier or sucks their thumb. Should we stop?
Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three (when the effect to the dentition becomes permanent), intervention techniques may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.
8. At what age should my child visit the dentist for the first time?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a child go to the dentist by age 1 or within six months after the first tooth erupts. Primary teeth typically begin growing in around 6 months of age.
9. My child grinds his/her teeth. Do we need to make a nightguard?
Many children grind their teeth with a loud, grating sound while asleep. Tooth grinding (or bruxism) is very common, particularly in toddlers and preschoolers. In most children, it usually goes away before the permanent teeth are in, in most cases it is unlikely to damage the teeth; however, if you have any concerns, check with your child’s dentist and mention it at each regular dental check-up.
10. How is a pediatric dentist different from a general dentist?
Like all dentists, pediatric dentists attend four years of dental school after receiving a bachelor’s degree. Unlike other dentists, pediatric dentists undergo an additional two to three years of training. The specialty training teaches them how to deal with children’s behavior, make kids feel comfortable, and treat the unique dental needs and issues of children in the dental setting and the hospital setting as well. Pediatric dentists also receive training and qualifications for treating children with special needs.
About Malije Onwueme, DDS
With a big smile and a positive attitude, Dr. Mali aims to provide an exceptional dental experience for children along with a warm and caring environment for families. She resides locally with her husband and two young children. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling, watching soccer, trying new foods, and spending time with her husband and children.