children's dental health

Frequently Asked Questions About Your Children’s Dental Health

Educating your children about the importance of good oral hygiene and why they should practice good dental health habits is a crucial part of parenting. Creating a solid dental routine for your child at an early age will help establish good habits and prevent possible cavities. To help you make sure your children have a healthy smile, we’ve compiled a list of the most commonly asked children’s dental questions with their answers.

When Should I Take My Child For Their First Dental Check-Up?

A good rule of thumb is to bring your child to the dentist when the first tooth appears, or by their first birthday. Taking your child to the dentist before their first birthday prevents future decay and dental issues. Early appointments teach you how to properly care for your child’s teeth while also instilling a lifetime of good dental habits.

Why Does My Child Need to See a Pediatric Dentist?

Pediatric dentists specialize in treating children only. They must go through an additional two to three years of training after dental school. Dental treatment for children differs from the regular adult dental care. Pediatric dentists create treatment plans specifically for children, such as diet counseling and detecting irregular tooth developments requiring correction through braces.

How Often Should I Take My Child to the Dentist?

On average, dentists recommend you take your child every six months for a check-up to avert cavities and other dental problems. Frequency may vary based on their personal oral health, so check with your pediatric dentist to see what they recommend.

What Age Should Children Start Using Toothpaste, and How Much Should Be Used?

The recommended age to start using fluoridated toothpaste on children is three. Until then, clean your child’s teeth with water and soft-bristled toothbrush. Once your child has reached the age of three, parents should supervise the brushing and allow them to use no more than pea-sized amount of toothpaste.

What Is the Best Kind of Toothbrush For Children?

Look for a toothbrush that has a small head and soft, nylon bristles. Many children’s toothbrushes have age ratings included on the packaging. Pro Tip: Finding a colorful brush with lights or pictures of their favorite cartoon characters may help your child get excited for their twice-daily brushing sessions.

When Should Children Start Flossing?

Flossing removes the food particles and plaque that gets lodged between teeth. Starting around four years old, gently begin flossing your children’s teeth. Most kids can start flossing for themselves around eight years old, but be careful to monitor their flossing habits for the first few years to build a solid foundation of good dental hygiene.

How Can Parents Prevent Tooth Decay?

Besides taking children for a check-up every six months, parents can prevent tooth decay with regular brushing and flossing, in addition to monitoring their children’s dental habits. Keeping sugary drinks, candies, and foods to a minimum also stops decay and plaque buildup.

How Does Diet Affect A Child’s Dental Health?

Sugars and starches found in many snack foods leads to tooth decay in children. Establish a healthy, balanced diet to keep their teeth strong. In addition to the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals suggested by pediatric physicians, make sure your child is getting plenty of calcium to keep their bones and teeth cavity-free.

Check your water supply for fluoride, which helps strengthen teeth. If your water does not contain fluoride, talk to your pediatric dentist about supplementing their fluoride intake.

How Can I Tell If My Child Gets Enough Fluoride?

Bring a water sample from your home to your pediatric dentist during your next scheduled appointment to have them test the fluoride level. Low levels of fluoride in water can lead to tooth decay and sensitivity. Your pediatric dentist can prescribe fluoride supplements to help your child’s teeth stay strong and healthy.

How Do I Treat A Toothache?

Use warm salt water to rinse the area that hurts. If you notice swelling in the child’s face, apply a cold compress. Do not place heat or aspirin directly to the sore tooth or gums. Instead, experts recommend giving them children’s acetaminophen orally because it treats pain and soreness more effectively. Then, to make sure everything is okay, call and schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist so they can thoroughly examine the tooth.

When Should I Stop Pacifier Use?

It’s recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians that you should begin limiting or stop pacifier use after the baby is 6-month-old. Any usage after 6 months is linked to an increase in ear infections.

When Should I Stop My Child’s Thumb Sucking?

Although it can vary case by case, thumb sucking usually does not pose a problem to teeth formation unless it continues once their permanent teeth begin to appear. Children typically quit the habit themselves before they require intervention, but some dentists recommended mouth guards or other dental devices if thumb sucking continues with the permanent teeth.

How Does Dental Sealant Work?

Dental sealant fills in cracks found on the chewing surfaces of teeth, keeping decay-causing food particles from getting stuck in those small crevasses. Talk to your child’s dentist about sealant at the child’s next appointment. Application is quick and sealant effectively protects their teeth for many years to come.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe for Children?

Dental X-rays use only a very small amount of radiation and pose very little health risks over time. Pediatric dentists are particularly careful when performing dental x-rays on children. They use lead aprons and high-speed film to ensure the safety of their patients.

Education and instruction are the best tools you can utilize to keep your child’s teeth strong and healthy. Start your child on a path for great dental hygiene at a young age and schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist today.

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