FAQ's from Dr. Heidi's Kids Dental Center in Lancaster, CA
My Baby Sucks his/her Thumb. Should I Be Concerned?
Sucking is a natural desire for an infant. During the first year of life the child receives comfort and satisfaction from sucking, and this habit should not be discouraged. The habit of thumbsucking usually diminishes by around age 31/2-4. If your child has not stopped thumbsucking by age 5 years of age, you should consider intervention by a pediatric dentist
When Should I Clean My Child's Teeth?
Even before the first tooth erupts, after feeding your infant you can gently rub the gums with a gauze or damp washcloth. Teeth can decay as soon as they erupt. In fact, infants as young as 12 months old can suffer from severe dental decay. It is never too early to start cleaning your child's teeth.
My Child Fell And Knocked Out Her Front Tooth. Should She See The Dentist?
Yes. Any injury which causes bleeding to the gums or results in tooth fractures or a displaced or loosened tooth should be evaluated by a pediatric dentist. Frequently all that will be required following an injury is close observation. However, this can only be determined by having the injury examined.
My Child Has A 101 Degree Fever. Is This From Teething?
No. The common symptoms associated with teething are: irritability, excessive drooling, change in dietary and sleeping patterns that may result in loose stools and a very low grade fever. If your child has a high fever, rash, or is vomiting, these symptoms are NOT a result of teething, and the child should be evaluated by a physician. To help your child feel better while teething:
- Give your child Children's Tylenol as directed (do not give aspirin)
- Have your child chew on a damp washcloth or teething ring
- Give your child plenty of "TLC" (tender loving care)
What Else Can I Do To Safeguard My Child's Smile?
A balanced diet is essential for a child's development. Teeth, bones and soft tissues of the mouth will benefit from a regular variety of healthy foods. Your child's diet should include foods from all the five major food groups:
- Bread, cereals and grains
- Milk, cheese and yogurt
- Meat, poultry and fish and their alternatives, such as beans, eggs and nuts. Discourage sugary and starchy snacks - provide sugary bite-sized fresh vegetables instead.
Is There Other Prevention To Consider As The Child Gets Older?
At the appearance of your child's permanent molars, usually about age six, you should consider sealants to protect your child's back teeth to help "seal out" decay. In some cases, we might also recommend applying sealants to primary teeth as well. We will apply a thin plastic coating to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. If your local water supply does not contain fluoride, we usually recommend a fluoride mouth rinse or other sources of extra fluoride.
At What Age Will My Child's Teeth Appear?
Below we show approximate ages for tooth appearance. Since these are only averages, however, don't be concerned if your child's tooth development varies somewhat from this timetable.
How Should I Clean My Child's Teeth?
You should begin cleaning your infant's teeth when the first tooth erupts. After feeding your child, wipe teeth with a piece of gauze or a clean washcloth. As more teeth begin to erupt, you can switch to a small toothbrush. If using toothpaste, apply only a very small amount to the toothbrush (about 1/2 th size of a pea). If your child does not like the toothpaste, just use a damp toothbrush. If your child's teeth touch (no spaces between them) the teeth should be flossed once a day. Your pediatric dentist can show you techniques that should make caring for your child's teeth much easier for you.
Why Are Primary (Baby) Teeth Important?
Primary teeth are very important to your child's development of the jaw bone, and they reserve the space required for the permanent teeth that will follow. They also enable your child to chew solid food and assist in speech development. Moreover, they contribute to your child's positive feelings about his or her appearance and help build confidence.
Should My Child Use A Pacifier?
Pacifiers are not necessary for all children. Pacifiers can aid in meeting a child's need to suck and may help comfort a child. The pacifier must be the proper size for your infant and have no removable parts. Avoid putting anything sweet, such as honey or sugar, on the pacifier, as this can lead to severe dental decay.
How Can I Protect My Child's Primary (Baby) Teeth?
Baby bottle tooth decay is the leading cause of decay and tooth loss in very young children. This condition usually occurs when a baby is allowed to nurse from a bottle of milk, formula or fruit continuously at nap time. You can help prevent it by always cleaning your infant's mouth and teeth after nursing, and by giving your infant only water in a bottle or pacifier at bedtime. You will also safeguard the health of your baby's teeth by weaning your child from the bottle at one year of age.