When Should My Child First Visit the Dentist?

The sooner children get used to going to the dentist office, the better. A child should visit a dentist when their first teeth erupt, typically around 7 months–1 year. Our family-friendly dentistry office can talk to you about oral hygiene techniques and ways to avoid cavities.

When Should My Child First Visit the Orthodontist?

A common rule of thumb is that by your child’s 7th birthday, they should visit the orthodontist for a consultation. However, everyone is different, which is one of the reasons it’s important to see the dentist for 6-month check-ups. They will refer your child to the orthodontist when the time is right for them.

If we catch orthodontic issues early, we can treat them as your child’s mouth grows and changes, which reduces the chance that they will need to wear braces down the road.

How Do I Know If My Child is Getting Enough Fluoride?

If you are unsure whether your child is getting enough fluoride, bring a sample of your child’s primary source of drinking water to your pediatric physician. If they determine that there is not a sufficient amount of fluoride present in the water, they will prescribe a fluoride supplement.

When Should I Start Brushing My Child’s Teeth?

Your child’s dental health care should begin long before they get their first tooth. Even in infancy, you should wipe their gums with a damp cloth, removing any milk or formula residue. Once teeth start to grow in, brush them with a pea-sized amount of children’s fluoride toothpaste and a small, soft-bristled brush designed for kids.

By the time your child is 4 or 5, or when they understand not to swallow their toothpaste, they should be able to brush on their own with an adult’s supervision. But until they reach the age of 6, they should use only a smear of paste.

How Often Should My Child Go to the Dentist?

You should go to the dentist at least twice a year (every 6 months). Here’s why:
most lesions (decay or soft tissue) can be easily treated if caught quickly. But everyone is unique, so we tailor our recall visits to your oral health needs. Things like stress and illness can affect your oral health, making it more important to see your dentist. It’s best to talk to your dentist about your individual needs.

How Often Should My Child Brush Their Teeth?

The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day. When you eat sugary foods, the bacteria can release acids that attack tooth enamel, which eventually can lead to cavities.

Do not brush your teeth right after eating or drinking anything acidic because acids can weaken enamel, and brushing then may remove enamel. It’s best to wait 30 minutes after consuming acidic foods to brush.

How Do I Practice Good Oral Health for My New Baby?

Early infant oral care is an important aspect of your new baby’s health. After each feeding, wipe off your baby’s gums with a damp piece of gauze or cloth. This is a quick and easy process that you can do with the baby’s head in your lap, or on the floor or changing table.

It’s also important to make sure that when you put your baby to sleep, you don’t send them to bed with a bottle or sippy cup, unless it’s full of water. Giving your child a drink that contains any sugar, even milk, seriously increases their risk of tooth decay.

What is a Habit Appliance?

Habits like thumb and finger sucking are very common in children under the age of 4. Most children stop these habits on their own between the ages of 2-4. However, if this habit persists, it can damage the teeth and jaw, causing horizontal overlap of the front teeth, open bites, and crossbites. It also can also result in constant pressure from the tongue, forcing teeth out of alignment.

There are many oral appliances available to help break the habit of thumb sucking and tongue thrusting. Our dentists can also teach you exercises you and your child can do at home to break these habits.

What is a Space Maintainer?

A common way of treating alignment problems in children is with a space maintainer. If a baby tooth falls out too soon, the adjacent teeth may begin to take up the space. Space maintainers help keep that space open. Addressing problems like this early on can help prevent need for braces down the road.

What’s the Difference: Electric Toothbrush Vs. Manual Toothbrush?

This is a question we hear often. The most important thing is that you keep up with regular brushing.

While not all power brushes are the same, many studies have shown that in general they are more efficient in controlling plaque than manual brushes. The movements of the electric brush make brushing easier and more effective. In addition, some brushes, like Sonicare, produce sonic vibrations that are difficult to mimic with a normal toothbrush. Other electric brushes like Oral-B and Rotadent have small heads that help you access hard-to-reach areas of your mouth.

How Do I Protect My Child’s Teeth During Sports?

Whenever your child participates in an activity where bases to the head or falling are likely, it’s important that they wear a mouthguard. These include most sports and outdoor activities, like biking.

At our office, your child can get fitted for a custom mouthguard in order to prevent injuries. Before your child starts a sport or activity, it’s a good idea to discuss protection options with your dentist.