At Smile Secrets, we love kids! You can trust us to recommend dentistry’s best methods for prevention of a child’s dental problems – not just preventing cavities, but also watching out for and helping to prevent problems with the bite, crowded or misaligned teeth, jaw relationships and facial development as your child grows as well. We’ll help make all your child’s visits to the dentist turn out to be “Happy Visits!” and teach your child good oral habits.
Common Concerns About Children’s Teeth
Signs and appearance of baby teeth displaying bottle caries:
- Brown baby teeth with fragmented edges
- Upper front baby teeth that break easily
Children who have erupted teeth or are past the age to be weaned are highly susceptible to rotted front teeth when being put to bed with a bottle containing milk, juice or other sugar-containing liquids. There is decreased salivary flow during sleep and clearance of the liquid from the teeth is slowed.
The liquid pools around the upper front baby teeth and creates an excellent environment to promote the growth of decay-causing bacteria. Removing the bottle before the first tooth appears and wiping the child’s gums and teeth with a soft cloth before being put to bed can help prevent decay. Before 12 months of age, parents should bring their child into Smile Secrets for a recommended Well-Child Preventative examination by Dr Chellis.
- Increased salivation
- Putting fingers and hands into the mouth
- Fretful behavior
Children may display other symptoms such as fever and systemic disturbances, such as croup, diarrhea, etc. These are coincidental to eruption and should be treated as needed medically by the pediatrician as necessary.
If your child requires a bottle at bedtime provide a bottle filled with water. Instead of a bottle, try comforting your child with a pacifier or a favorite toy or blanket.
Check with your Smile Secrets Team to make sure your child is getting the right amount of fluoride. Brush your baby’s teeth with a soft toothbrush daily.
Thumb sucking is perfectly normal for infants; most stop by the age of two. Prolonged (beyond age 5 or 6 years) thumb sucking be extremely detrimental to a child’s total development and can create crowded, crooked teeth, bite problems, breathing and posture problems. At Smile Secrets we will be glad to suggest ways to address a prolonged thumb-sucking habit.
Dental problems can begin early. A big concern is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD), which is preventable. BBTD can result from long periods of exposing baby teeth to liquids that contain sugar including formula, milk, breast milk, and juice.
A baby who has a habit of sleeping with a baby bottle filled with any sugary liquid or a breast in their mouth is at risk of getting BBTD. Frequent snacking on sweet or sticky foods can also cause decay.
The earlier your first dental visit to Smile Secrets, the better chance of preventing dental problems. Children with healthy teeth can chew food well, speak clearly and share precious smiles. Start your child on a lifetime of good dental habits now!
This is a good habit to start early! The teeth must be cleaned as they erupt, beginning around 6 months of age. Use a damp wash cloth or a toothbrush.
Dr. Chellis recommends using a tiny dab of toothpaste with each tooth brushing. Because manual dexterity is slow to develop, brushing is definitely a parent’s job in the preschool years.
Children are usually able to brush their teeth well only when they reach 8-9 years old. Be sure to check your child’s teeth regularly for any chalky white or brown spots which could be the beginning of tooth decay.
Sore gums from teething often occur for a few days at a time between six months to age three, while teeth are breaking through the gums.
Babies often get relief from a clean teething ring, cool spoon, cold wet washcloth or toothbrush. Chilled teething rings or rubbing a clean finger on the sore gum area often helps, too.
Fluoride, in proper dosage, has been shown to significantly reduce dental decay. When fluoridated water has less than the ideal amount or is not available, fluoride supplements are recommended. (A call to your local water district is all that is necessary to determine whether your water has fluoride or not.)
When supplements are needed, the administration of fluoride supplements should begin shortly after birth and continue through the time of eruption of the second permanent molars (approximately 12 years of age).
Regular dental check-ups at Smile Secrets should begin no later than 18 months of age.
To prevent decay, a plastic-like coating called a sealant should be painted on the chewing surfaces of all the back teeth. Studies have shown that sealants can reduce tooth decay by as much as 90% to 100%.
The American Dental Association recommends, and Dr. Chellis agrees, that sealants be placed 4-6 months after the first adult back teeth come in at age 6 or 7. Sealants should continue to be placed as each additional adult back tooth comes into the mouth. All back teeth that need to be sealed are present by age 13. Sealant application is simple, fast, and painless.
Even though we all know the term “baby teeth,” many parents don’t realize that the baby teeth are necessary for far longer than they consider their child a baby. The back of the mouth baby teeth are not replaced by permanent teeth until the ages between 10-13 years old! Preserving the baby teeth intact and strong through the teenage years is incredibly important and allows for happy smiles and good speech, proper chewing and eating, saving the required space for the larger permanent teeth to erupt normally into the jaw, and permits the normal development of jaw bones and facial muscles.
With the amazing products dentistry has available today, if we can see your child 4 times per year through age 18, we can practically guarantee they will grow up without cavities!