Kids’ Dental Tips for Every Age

Kids’ Dental Tips for Every Age

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, which makes now the perfect time to review how to care for your little or big kids’ teeth at home. This month-long awareness campaign was created by the American Dental Association to bring together dental professionals to promote the benefits of children’s oral health. Here at Falmouth Dental Arts, we believe that children should be actively involved with caring for their own teeth. Good oral habits start early and it’s important to create positive memories for your little ones about their dental experience. Our compassionate team of dental professionals is always happy to spend time educating both parents and children on good dental health habits such as scheduling check-ups and creating a daily flossing and brushing routine. Read on for a few of our favorite tips!

Tips for Babies and Toddlers
  • At the first sign of a new tooth, use an infant toothbrush with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and gently brush those mini pearly whites. Look for toothpaste that is approved by the American Dental Association for use with babies – if you need product recommendations, let us know!
  • When your baby has two teeth side-by-side (usually the bottom center two teeth), you can begin flossing between them.
  • Schedule your babies’ first dental check-up by 12 months of age. You can expect that during the first visit we will introduce your child to our office, the dental chair, and any tools and products that we will be using during a routine cleaning appointment. We start by simply taking a look into your child’s mouth to get them accustomed to this routine while we assess their teeth and gums. Our warm and friendly professional team is skilled at taking each step at a pace that is comfortable for your child. Your child’s first visit may also include a fluoride treatment, depending on his or her age, needs, and readiness.
Tips for Big Kids
  • Continue to supervise your child’s brushing habits up to age 8 as they may not always brush long enough and may need to be reminded not to swallow the toothpaste. Replace his or her toothbrush every 3-4 months with a theme or color of their choosing. Reinforce that they should be brushing twice a day, for two minutes each time.
  • Teach your child or teen about the importance of both hydration and good nutrition. Explain why healthy snacks like fruits and veggies as well as calcium-rich foods like yogurt and cheese are good for growing teeth and bones.
  • Make sure your big kid flosses and swishes with a fluoride rinse once per day.
  • Schedule your child’s dental appointments two times per year or more, if recommended. Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos love seeing the next generation of smiles coming through the office doors and helping them to establish healthy dental habits early on!

If you have any questions at all about your child’s dental health or need to schedule an appointment, give us a call at 207.781.5900.

A Healthy Mouth for Your Baby

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month! To celebrate, we want to talk about the tiniest members of our families with the tiniest teeth: babies! Whether you are a first-time parent or just had your fifth, the cutting of the first tooth is an exciting (and painful) experience. For those involved with baby’s first tooth, there are a lot of questions. Come visit us to get all your questions answered, but in the meantime, here are the answers to some questions we hear frequently!

  • When should I take my baby to the dentist?

Taking your baby to their first dentist appointment should occur sometime after their first tooth comes in and no later than their first birthday. At this appointment, your dentist will examine their teeth for cavities and can also show you how to properly clean your child’s teeth. Your dentist might also guide you through how to handle habits like thumb-sucking.

  • How should I care for my baby’s first teeth?

Start cleaning your baby’s teeth as soon as they appear. Begin by wiping the gums with a clean, damp washcloth. You can also use a finger brush or another toothbrush designed for babies’ sensitive gums. Use toothpaste without sugar if at all possible. We don’t recommend brushing your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste because babies tend to swallow it and ingest too much fluoride. Make sure to brush their teeth twice a day, just like you do!

  • How can I prevent tooth decay for my baby?

While baby teeth are temporary, it is still important to take care of them and prevent cavities. These first teeth also set the foundation to make sure adult teeth come in properly. One common cause of infant tooth decay is the frequent exposure of baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar. This exposure occurs most often when a baby is put to bed with a bottle, or when a bottle is used as a pacifier. Good habits that will help prevent this decay are regular brushing, avoiding juice, finishing bottles prior to bedtime, and encouraging general healthy eating habits.

  • Can breastfed babies get cavities?

Yes! Natural breast milk, just like formula, contains sugar. So it is important to care for your baby’s teeth from day one in either case. Make sure to wash your baby’s gums with a wet washcloth every day and brush their teeth twice a day as soon as the first tooth erupts.

  • How can thumb-sucking affect my child’s teeth?

Babies and children often suck their thumbs as a way to soothe themselves. However, this habit can result in improper development of the oral cavity and misalignment of the teeth. Thumb-sucking can even cause changes in the roof of the mouth. Pacifiers can affect the teeth in a similar manner. Typically, kids stop sucking their thumbs by the time their permanent teeth are ready to erupt, but it is important to try and stop the habit before that time comes.