What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

One serious form of decay common among young children is baby bottle tooth decay (Early Childhood Caries). This condition is caused by frequent and prolonged exposures of an infant’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar. Among these liquids are milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice, soda and other sweetened drinks.

Putting a baby down for a nap or to bed at night with a bottle other than water can cause serious and rapid tooth decay. Early childhood caries can also occur when a child goes to sleep while breastfeeding or wakes in the middle of the night to breastfeed without having their teeth brushed. Although you may not see the immediate effects of adlib breastfeeding on your baby’s teeth, the unintentional result of weakened enamel and tooth decay may take years to become apparent when your baby is preschool age.

During sleep, the flow of saliva is reduced and the natural self-cleansing action of the mouth is reduced. A sweet beverage pools around your child’s teeth, bathing it, and giving plaque bacteria an opportunity to produce acids that quickly attack tooth enamel. If you must give your baby a bottle to comfort them at bedtime, it should be only warm tap water.

After each bedtime bottle feeding, wipe the baby’s gums and teeth with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to clean away milk and plaque that coats their teeth. The easiest way to do this is to sit down, place your child’s head in your lap or lay your child on a change table or the floor. Whatever position you choose, be sure you can see into your child’s mouth easily.

Developmental Timeline

Encourage your child to drink from a cup as they approach their first birthday. Your goal is to have your baby weaned from the bottle by 12-14 months of age. Next, he/she should be weaned from using sippy cups or straw cups exclusively to drink by 2 years of age.

The American Pediatric Dental Association (AAPD) and The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggest juice should be limited to mealtimes and not offered with snacks. Only water is encouraged in between meals. The AAPD and AAP juice guidelines are as follows:

Juice should not be introduced into the diet of infants before 12 months of age unless clinically indicated. The intake of juice should be limited to, at most, 4 ounces/day in toddlers 1 through 3 years of age, and 4 to 6 ounces/day for children 4 through 6 years of age. For children 7 to 18 years of age, juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces or 1 cup of the recommended 2 to 2.5 cups of fruit servings per day. For more tips on how to care for your baby’s mouth or to schedule your baby’s first dental appointment at Sprout Kids Dentistry with Dr. Anderson, call 617-328-1700.

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The Difference Between Children’s Teeth Cleaning and Adult Teeth Cleaning

We all know how important it is to care for our children’s teeth. This includes proper brushing and flossing techniques to help them establish good oral hygiene habits as they grow. However, not all parents realize just how important regular dental cleanings are in childhood. Routine dental check-ups for children may be even more important than they are for grown-ups because they help establish the foundation of good dental hygiene practices that will see young people through their entire lives.

Children should be seen by a pediatric dentist twice a year for regular cleaning and to ensure their teeth are growing properly. Pediatric dentists undergo several years of specialized, rigorous training beyond traditional dental education. While dental check-ups are very similar for adults and children, there are some differences. Here are just a few to know before you bring your child in for their appointment.

Learning How to Care for Your Child’s Teeth

A big part of a regular pediatric dental appointment is making sure kids and parents know how to take care of their teeth. Your child’s dentist will look out for signs that your child is brushing and flossing correctly. If their technique is still lacking, they’ll take the time to teach your child how to brush their teeth thoroughly and floss well. Sometimes, very young children have enough space between their baby teeth that they don’t yet need to floss. However, it’s still very important to be checked by a pediatric dentist throughout development.

Pediatric Teeth Cleaning

Like an adult dental appointment, the main part of a regular pediatric dental appointment is the cleaning stage. Your child’s dental technician will clean their teeth with special toothpaste, floss if necessary, and (depending on the level of build-up present) may use a sonic device to remove plaque and tartar.

Growing Assessment

One vital part of a children’s dental check-up is ensuring that their teeth are coming in correctly. This may require x-rays for teeth that have not erupted yet. When problems in the growth patterns are caught early, children can get early orthodontic care that may help prevent bigger issues down the road.

Schedule an Appointment

Here at Sprout Kids Dentistry, Dr. Michelle Anderson and her team offer quality dental care exclusively for children. Along the way, they strive to educate kids and their parents on good dental hygiene. Start your child out on the path to great dental health for a lifetime of strong, healthy teeth. If you’re looking for excellent pediatric dentistry in Boston, give us a call or use our convenient online form to schedule an appointment with Sprout Kids Dentistry today!

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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DENTAL CROWNS FOR KIDS

One of the hardest things a pediatric dentist has to tell a parent is, “Your child has cavities.”

Sometimes you already know, and sometimes you are taken off guard; but regardless of the circumstances, these words can often leave a parent feeling guilty and uncertain about what comes next.

If the cavity is small, your pediatric dentist can fix the tooth with a traditional filling. However, if the decay is extensive, it may be necessary to place a crown or “cap” on the tooth. Crowns are placed on teeth that have large areas of decay that could possibly break if a traditional filling material is used to fix it.

Why Use Crowns on Baby Teeth?

One of the first questions that come to mind about pediatric stainless steel crowns is usually:

“Why is it necessary? And, why not just pull the tooth?” 

Crowns are often the best treatment plan for decayed or damaged baby teeth for one main reason.

The alternative to using a crown would be extraction, which can lead to complications if a baby tooth is removed too soon such as blockage, misalignment or tipping of baby teeth, or crowding of permanent teeth as they begin to arrive. This could necessitate further treatment including orthodontic care.

Using crowns allows the baby tooth to continue to act as a placeholder until permanent teeth have reached full maturity, while addressing the decayed tooth.

So your child needs crowns, and you are asking, “What choices does my child have?”

Some of the most common options in pediatric dentistry are listed below.

Stainless Steel Crowns

Stainless steel crowns are the most common type of crown used in pediatric dentistry. These are what many people call “silver” crowns. These crowns are covered by most major insurances. They are very durable and are a great option if you aren’t concerned about the cosmetic appearance of baby teeth.  On rare occasions, they can cause localized tissue irritation and have been known to be a contributing factor in metal allergies.

Stainless Steel Crowns with White Facings

Stainless steel crowns can be made to look more esthetically pleasing, especially when front teeth need treatment. This type of stainless steel crown is available with a pre-veneered plastic facing. These crowns are more cosmetic in appearance because from the front they look “white” but the reverse side is the portion of silver crown that is non-coated metal. In order for the white facing to adhere to the metal, extra bulk must be added, so these crowns tend to look bulk, thick or rounded. The white facing also has a tendency to chip off easily over time, exposing the silver crown underneath. There are two main reasons the white facings of a stainless steel may chip off: (1) when children grind their teeth, (2) or as a result of regular wear and tear related to chewing forces on back teeth.

Composite Strip Crowns or Resin Crowns

This type of crown is very cosmetic when prepared well by your child’s pediatric dentist. Placing these crowns requires tremendous skill. It also requires the most time to complete. Because of the time required, these crowns can be difficult to place on young, uncooperative children. General anesthesia sedation is often recommended for a cosmetic crown procedure. Strip crowns are entirely made of composite “white” “filling material. This filling material looks very natural– a shade guide may be used to match the crown’s color to the color of your child’s natural teeth. The biggest consequence of composite strip crowns or resin crowns is that they have a tendency to absorb food stains and discolor. It can also attract plaque if brushing and flossing is not done well and recurrent decay may result. Resin crowns are also much weaker than stainless steel crowns so there is an increased risk that a piece or corner of the crown may break off.  Most major insurances cover composite strip crowns on front teeth only for baby teeth that require treatment.

How are baby teeth prepared for stainless steel crowns?

1. Your pediatric dentist may recommend using “Laughing gas” and Novocaine for a stainless steel crown procedure. Laughing gas is a very mild form of conscious sedation that helps to manage nervousness or anxiety. Your child is awake during the entire procedure. Novocaine is injected into the gums surrounding the decayed tooth so there is no discomfort during the stainless steel crown procedure.


2. A soft latex sheet called a rubber dam is draped over the mouth to isolate the tooth being treated. This also helps to keep the working area free of any moisture, increasing the dentist’s field of view while preventing the child from swallowing any debris.


3. First, the chewing surface is reduced by about 1.5mm outlining the tooth. Second, the contact area between neighboring teeth is opened to create space for stainless steel crown placement. And third, all decay is removed from the tooth.


4. A crown is chosen, sized, trimmed, and fitted to adapt to the prepared primary tooth. The crown and the tooth are then washed and dried separately.

5. Cement, otherwise known as “tooth glue” is mixed and placed on the insides of the stainless steel crown prior to being fitted on the tooth.

6. The rubber dam is removed and the child is asked to bite hard on the crown so that all the excess cement is removed. 

7. The excess cement is cleaned off and the tooth contacts are flossed to finish the procedure.

What do we need to do after a stainless steel crown is placed?

Because we use Novocaine during the crown fitting process, your child should not eat until the anesthetic wears off to avoid biting their lip, cheek, or tongue unknowingly. Once it has gone away, they are free to eat and drink as normal, although the crown may be sensitive. They may feel some discomfort for a day or two after the procedure, which can be handled with over-the-counter pain relievers such as Children’s Tylenol or Children’s Ibuprofen.

Pediatric Stainless Steel Crowns in Quincy, MA

You and your child may be nervous if a stainless steel crown procedure is in order, but at Sprout Kids Dentistry, we know how to create a safe and welcoming environment for you and your little

one. Don’t wait to get the treatment your child needs – call 617-934-6339 or visit us online to schedule your pediatric stainless steel crown appointment today.

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What to Do When Your Toddler Resists Brushing Their Teeth

Many of us can probably remember a time when we lied to our parents about brushing our teeth. It’s never a fun thing for kids to do, especially when it comes to toddlers. They will often resist and throw tantrums to avoid the annoying task of cleaning their teeth. And as a parent, you also don’t want to deal with the daily fight that comes with getting out the toothbrush and toothpaste.

Regardless of whether your toddler wants to brush their teeth or not, it’s a necessary task to keep them healthy. Here are some ways you can make brushing your toddler’s teeth an easier task for everyone.

Why It’s Important

Even though your toddler’s baby teeth will eventually fall out, it’s still crucial that they avoid unhealthy oral hygiene practices. Neither you nor your child will want to deal with the pain of needing a cavity filled. Plus, starting them off with good brushing habits as early as possible will make it easier for them to continue these practices as they grow up.

Why Do They Resist?

At this stage in life, a child is becoming aware of their wants and learning how to say no. Being told to do something that they don’t enjoy, want to do, or understand the importance of leads to resistance. They don’t yet know why brushing is important and the effects that not cleaning your teeth can have. Therefore, they only see it as a chore and an inconvenience rather than a necessity.

How to Encourage Healthy Habits

Here are some tips to help your toddler start brushing their teeth with less fuss.

Explain Why It’s Important

Making sure your toddler knows that brushing their teeth is important, even if they don’t understand why yet, will help them take it more seriously.

Lead by Example

Make brushing your teeth together a part of your routine, even if you are just pretending to do it. Turning it into a bonding activity can help your toddler find comfort in the act and make them more likely to brush their teeth without throwing a tantrum.

Let Them Take Charge

Forcing your toddler to brush, or even trying to brush their teeth yourself, will likely only lead to more resistance from them. Instead, let them take the lead. Give them the toothbrush and make sure they have a safe amount of toothpaste on, and guide them through proper brushing. Being able to do this themselves will make them feel more in control of the situation, giving them confidence and a sense of independence. In addition to that, let them choose their own toothbrush to feel like they have more of a say in the situation.

Make It Fun!

Add something into the brushing routine that will engage your toddler. You can have a song that you play to make sure they brush for long enough, or even try to sing together while brushing your teeth for a good laugh! You can also incorporate a simple little dance to do, or have a special piece of clothing they put on each time. Whatever your child is interested in or keeps their attention will be beneficial to incorporate.

Get Help From Professionals

The next time you take your toddler to the dentist, ask them to back you up on healthy brushing habits. Usually they will do this anyway, but having it reinforced by a professional will help your child better understand the importance of brushing their teeth.

Schedule a consultation

If you want more tips and tricks for helping your toddler feel more comfortable brushing their teeth, our team at Sprout Kids Dentistry in Boston can help! We are experienced pediatric dentists who work with children of all ages. You can get in touch with us by calling  617-934-6339 or filling out an online form.

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How are children’s teeth extracted?

The term “tooth extraction” may sound a bit scary, especially if you believe your child may need one. Tooth extraction for children is a common, safe, and relatively simple procedure. At Sprout Kids Dentistry, we work hard to make you and your child feel comfortable during any dental treatment.

WHY DO CHILDREN NEED TOOTH EXTRACTION?

Tooth extraction may be necessary for any of the following reasons:

  • A tooth has become badly decayed
  • A tooth has been injured or traumatized
  • Baby teeth are interfering with incoming permanent teeth
  • Baby teeth are interfering with alignment of teeth

WHAT DOES TOOTH EXTRACTION IN CHILDREN INVOLVE?

Tooth extraction in children is a simple, straightforward procedure. It is usually less involved than tooth extraction in adults. First, an x-ray will be taken to determine the condition of the tooth’s roots and the surrounding bone. Typically, a tooth extraction requires only a local anesthetic. Once the tooth and surrounding area are numb, the dentist uses forceps to remove the tooth.

More complicated extractions may require the removal of some of the surrounding gum tissue. In such cases, IV sedation or nitrous oxide is administered. Sedation dentistry is a common and safe procedure for children.

FOLLOW-UP CARE FOR TOOTH EXTRACTION IN CHILDREN

Make sure your child knows that some bleeding is to be expected after tooth extraction. Following the procedure, sterile gauze will be applied to the affected area so the blood can form a clot. Failure to establish and keep this blood clot in place can result in a painful condition called dry socket. More involved tooth extractions may require a stitch or two to heal correctly.

Your child shouldn’t rinse for twenty-four hours following tooth extraction. After one day, rinsing with salt water is recommended. There may be some mild discomfort following the procedure. If this is the case, use Tylenol or Ibuprofen for relief. Hard or crunchy foods should be avoided for a few days after tooth extraction.

SAVING SPACE FOR ADULT TEETH

Baby teeth serve as a sort of place-holder for permanent teeth and help guide adult teeth into their proper place. For this reason, when a baby tooth is pulled, it is sometimes recommended a space maintainer is put in its place.

TOOTH EXTRACTIONS/SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION

If you require pediatric dentistry in or around the Boston area, look no further than Sprout Kid’s Dentistry in Quincy. Doctor Anderson and her team treat only children and have created a child-centered and fun atmosphere designed to put your little ones at ease while they get the quality dental work they need. Call today for a consultation or fill out our online form.

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What age do children start seeing a Pediatric Dentist?

Despite the recommendations of dentists, many children do not see a dentist for the first time until they are two or older. When parents wait this long, they are missing an opportunity to set up their child for a lifetime of dental health. There are many reasons to bring your child to the dentist by their first birthday, or six months after the first appearance of a baby tooth.

Primary Teeth: More Important Than You May Realize

Many people falsely believe that primary teeth, or “baby teeth”, do not really matter because they will eventually fall out anyway. It is very important, however, to keep these teeth healthy and to make sure they do not fall out before they should. The primary teeth serve many important purposes.

For starters, these teeth help to save space for the permanent teeth when they come in. Children who lose primary teeth early may also not be able to properly chew their food, something that can potentially impact their overall health. Having healthy teeth in the proper position is also important for the development of speech. Finally, healthy teeth ensure that children can grow confident with their smile.

Learning to Love the Dentist

While loving coming to the dentist may be a bit of a stretch, early visits can help reduce fear for children. Regular visits help your child get used to the building, the dentist(s) and the staff, which can increase their comfort level overall.

Tips for Helping Your Child Prepare for the Dentist

As a parent, there are other things that you can do to help your child feel good about a visit to the dentist’s office. They include:

  •  Play Dentist: One of the best ways to teach your child what to expect is to “play”dentist at home. You can be the dentist first, but be sure to give your child a turn to look around inside your mouth. Counting each others teeth is a good way to get your child used to
    what a dental exam will feel like.
  • Let Them Tag Along: If possible, schedule your own dental visit shortly before your child goes in for the first time. They can watch what happens and see how it is nothing to be afraid of.
  • Time it Carefully: Try to avoid scheduling your appointment around your child’s nap time, pediatrician wellness visit, or pediatric vaccination appointments . Being well-rested helps to lessen anxiety. Also, try to leave early enough to get to your appointment with plenty of time. Children can pick up on their parent’s anxiety, so it is important everyone is relaxed.

Schedule An Appointment

The team here at Sprout Kids Dentistry can help get both you and your child through that important first checkup. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone today.

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Is having a tooth extracted very painful?

Is Having a Tooth Extracted Very Painful?

Taking care of your dental health is of utmost importance. Not taking care of your child’s teeth can lead to tooth decay, loss of teeth, and tooth infections. These infections can lead to problems with their overall health. If they need to have a tooth removed, there is no need to worry. This
procedure is common and will help to ensure that their dental health is where it should be. Sprout Kids Dentistry is experienced in tooth extractions. We’re here to answer all of your questions or concerns.

Why Are Teeth Removed?

There are many reasons why a tooth may be removed. Infections, severe damage, and overcrowding can be a factor in tooth removal. Removing the tooth in the case of severe damage or infections can help to ensure that there are no further issues. In the case of overcrowding, removal of the tooth can allow for the proper spacing of teeth.

How Much Does A Tooth Extraction Cost?

The cost of a tooth extraction will vary depending on whether it is a baby tooth or a permanent tooth. The staff at Sprout Kids Dentistry will provide a price point and explain possible payment options.

How To Prepare For A Tooth Extraction

A dental x-ray will first be done to determine what teeth need to be removed. After this x-ray, Dr. Anderson will create a treatment plan. She will ask questions about previous medical issues, medications, and anything else of concern. As a parent or guardian, you will want to tell Dr. Anderson if there are any issues or family history of heart disease, cancer, bleeding disorders, liver disease, impaired immune system, or diabetes. To prepare for your child’s appointment, you will want to make sure that you follow all the instructions that are laid out by Dr. Anderson and her staff.

What Is The Procedure For A Tooth Extraction?

This will depend on what type of extraction Dr. Anderson will be performing. If it is a simple extraction, a local anesthetic will be given. Once the area is numbed, the tooth will be removed. If a surgical extraction is needed, general anesthesia or I.V sedation may be necessary and Dr. Anderson will give you a referral to consult with an oral surgeon.

What Are The Risks Of A Tooth Extraction?

While the benefits outweigh the complications, there are some potential risks that you will need to be aware of. The most common complication is dry socket. Dry socket occur when the blood clot removes itself from the former spot of the tooth. This can cause extreme pain, which will require a visit back to Sprout Kids Dentistry. Other risks include excessive bleeding, infection, cough, redness, swelling, and chest pain. If any of these are experienced, the dentist should be contacted immediately.

What Is The Recovery Period From A Tooth Extraction?

It will take a day or two to fully recover from tooth extraction, especially a surgical tooth extraction. During the recovery period, ice packs, saltwater rinses, and resting should be done. Tooth brushing should be done as normal, but the extraction site should be avoided for the first 24 hours to avoid dry socket. Foods such as ice cream, applesauce, yogurt, and pudding should be consumed for the first few days after the extraction.

Request A Consultation

If your child is experiencing an issue with their teeth, please call Sprout Kids Dentistry in Quincy, MA. Dr. Anderson is available to help ensure that your child has all of their pediatric dental needs met with quality and affordable care.

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What You Should Know About Dental Crowns for Children

Tooth decay in kids is a common problem that is often overlooked. In fact, it’s the most prevalent chronic condition in children, and the Centers for Disease Control reports that over 40 percent of children have a cavity before they even get to kindergarten. They have also reported that a large percentage of children have a decayed tooth that has not been treated.

There’s little disputing that pediatric tooth decay is a problem. However, the question is usually surrounding whether it’s an issue that should be treated. Many parents incorrectly assume that, since the baby teeth will fall out anyways, there’s no harm done. For this reason, these parents often consider crowns or other treatments to be a non-issue. There are many benefits of pediatric crowns when used for restorative purposes. Let’s take a closer look at this issue.

Why Baby Teeth Should Be Saved

For starters, it’s important to understand that decay on baby teeth spreads quickly, which means it’s important to be proactive to protect teeth. The fact is that baby teeth have an important function that cannot be understated or undervalued. If a tooth is lost prematurely, there’s a good chance that surrounding teeth will start to crowd the space of the missing tooth, which creates a problem when permanent teeth start to form.

In addition to affecting the way permanent teeth come in, removing baby teeth prematurely will affect the child’s ability to bite and chew. Essentially, molar crowns serve the purpose of promoting the long-term function of the teeth and preventing significant problems in years to come.

Dealing with Cavities

In the event that your child’s cavity is still small, there’s a good chance that the dentist will be able to repair the tooth with a filling. However, if there is a significant amount of decay and the tooth is severely damaged, there’s the likelihood that a crown will be needed to cap the tooth. Generally speaking, the purpose of crowns is to address issues of decay to avoid larger and more long-term problems.

Types of Crowns

There are different types of crowns to consider. The most commonly used crowns for pediatric dentistry are stainless steel, which are often called silver crowns. These are popular because they are sturdy and tend to provide a nice appearance. It’s important to know whether your child has any metal allergies or any other issues that would make stainless steel crowns problematic.

Not everyone appreciates the idea of silver crowns from an aesthetic perspective, which is why there are stainless steel crowns that are white-facing. These are often preferred because the front of the teeth look white to match the appearance of your child’s natural teeth. Unfortunately, this option is not always as sturdy as other options. Another problem that occurs is that children sometimes chip their teeth when chewing on white-facing crowns.

Although often difficult to place, another option for pediatric crowns is resin. This is sometimes a preferred choice because it looks natural in the beginning. However, resin has a tendency to stain as time passes.

About Sprout Kids Dentistry

Sprout Kids Dentistry aims to change how children feel about visiting the dentist. They achieve this goal through pediatric dentistry that’s collaborative and fun. The team at Sprout Kids Dentistry is committed to providing quality and safe dental care. To get started on the best dental care for your child, contact our office by calling or filling out our online form to meet with our pediatric dentists.

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Your Baby’s Mouth: What to Expect

If you’ve had a baby, there can be a lot of things to worry about. Although infants usually do not have teeth when they are born, it is still important to provide dental care from the start. We recommend that you bring your baby in for a dental checkup by age one to ensure their gums and teeth are developing properly and detect any abnormalities. Here’s a simple guide to navigating your child’s early dental health.

What we look for

When you bring your baby in for their first check-up, there are a few specific things we look for. These include:

  • Epstein pearls: Small, white cysts in the baby’s mouth that are usually harmless and disappear on their own
  • Bohn nodules: Small, grayish-white nodules that can occur on the palate and are usually harmless as well
  • Inclusion cysts: Small, harmless bumps on the gums
  • Natal/Neonatal teeth: Some infants are born with teeth, or their teeth begin to erupt within thirty days of birth. In some cases, these need to be removed.

Your baby’s mouth during infancy

During the first year of life, your baby will likely experience teething, which is when their teeth begin to erupt through the gums. This usually occurs between 3 and 9 months, and will likely cause your child some pain or discomfort. Signs of teething include irritability, loss of appetite, excessive drooling, and restlessness. Some treatments that may help are teething biscuits or teething rings, pain medicine, eating cold foods, or massaging the gums. Talk to your dentist about how to best relieve your baby’s teething pain.

Another normal aspect of an infant’s life is sucking on a pacifier, thumb, or finger. This is not something to be concerned about, as sucking is a natural reflex for babies. These sucking habits are usually gone by around 3 or 4 years old, and if stopped at this age, will likely not affect the jaw or teeth. However, if a prolonged sucking habit continues it can cause:

  • misaligned upper and lower jaws
  • bottom front teeth to slant inward
  • top front teeth to slant out

These bite problems may need to be corrected with orthodontic work in the future. 

A common problem that can occur with your baby’s teeth is baby bottle tooth decay. This often occurs when a child is repeatedly put to bed with a bottle, and the sugars in the milk or juice sit on the child’s teeth for a long period of time, eventually causing tooth decay or cavities. This can be prevented by not giving the child a bottle in bed, as well as performing adequate dental care.

How to care for your baby’s mouth 

You should begin cleaning your child’s gums soon after birth, even before any teeth have erupted. This will ensure your baby’s mouth is clean as well as get them used to the cleaning process. Here is how to clean your baby’s mouth: 

  • Lay their head down on a flat surface or in your lap
  • Rub a damp washcloth over the upper and lower gums
  • After teeth have erupted, switch to using a baby toothbrush and water 
  • Repeat these steps twice a day, in the morning and evening

Schedule an Appointment

It’s never too early to bring your child to the dentist to ensure that they remain healthy and happy for the years to come. Schedule an appointment with Sprout Kids Dentistry by calling or filling out our online form and we can find the appointment that works best for you.

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Child’s Dental Hygiene: What Should It Look Like At Which Age?

Your child’s health and safety are top priorities. Their oral hygiene should be one of your top priorities too. Dental health is a vital part of every child’s total health, which starts with parents. You can give your kid a great start, so he or she has healthy gums and teeth his or her entire life. Here’s what to know about treating your child’s dental health at each stage.

Dental Hygiene for Younger Children (Infants)

Most babies start to get their teeth a few months after birth. Some infants have one or more teeth when they are born (referred to as natal teeth). The roots have already formed beneath the gums when babies are born. You may not be able to see the teeth yet, but they are there. Normally, infants start to teeth approximately six months after birth. It is vital to begin good oral hygiene practice while your baby is younger. The healthier the gums are, the healthier the teeth will be.

  • After your baby eats or drinks milk, you should use a clean, damp face cloth to wipe his or her gums. You could give your infant some water in a baby bottle. These actions help clean out any bacteria, which could cause gum issues, nursing decay, or “bottle rot”.
  • It is a good idea to take your baby’s bottle away from them once they are finished drinking. If they start to fall asleep with the bottle in their mouth, it could allow bacteria to grow, which can cause issues such as Thrush, milk tongue, or nursing decay.
  • Brushing your infant’s gums and teeth should start when they are about six months old. One way to help your child learn about brushing their gums and teeth is to allow them to witness you brushing your gums and teeth. (Consult a Dentist regarding how much toothpaste to use and which kind to use).
  • Get a soft-bristle toothbrush for your little one.
  • Some parents take their infants to a dentist as soon as their child’s teeth start to come through the gums. Some parents wait until their babies are around six months old, but most parents schedule a dental appointment before their child is one year old.

Dental Hygiene for Older Children

As children get older, their dental hygiene practices should continue to include age-appropriate habits. Children typically have their first set of teeth (primary teeth) by the age of three. At about age six, their first tooth may fall out and permanent teeth start to grow in. If there are gaps between your six-year old’s teeth, that is normal. The gaps allow his or her permanent teeth room to start coming in. All permanent teeth generally have grown in by the age of thirteen.

How to Develop the Best Dental Hygiene Schedule for Kids

Beginning at age three, you can develop a schedule to help keep your little one’s gums and teeth strong and healthy. Here are some ways you can accomplish that:

  • Dentists recommend using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste (containing fluoride). It is also advisable to make sure your little one does not swallow toothpaste and learns how to rinse and spit properly during and after brushing.
  • It is important that your child brushes for two minutes or so, twice daily.
  • Once teeth have grown in and there is a space where dental floss will fit, you can begin to floss your child’s teeth for them.
  • Help your child brush properly.
  • Take your child to a dentist once every six months.

Pre-Teens – Dental Hygiene

Do you want to help your older children avoid getting cavities or gum disease? You might want to encourage them to continue with a good oral hygiene routine. They should brush twice daily, and floss at least once daily. Using a fluoride mouth rinse once daily before bed is not a bad idea either.

It is a good idea to limit sugary foods and drinks as well. It seems easy but there are times when life gets hectic. Pre-teens might forget to brush their gums and teeth, so you might need to remind them to do it. Pre-teens should visit a dentist every six months or so too.

Encouraging Pre-Teens in Other Ways:

  • An electric toothbrush might help encourage your older children because it might make brushing more fun.
  • Remind your child what happens when they do not take care of their teeth and gums – it could result in tooth decay, stains, gum disease, pain, infection, or more.
  • If your child plays sports, encourage them to wear protective gear like a mouthguard that protects the teeth.
  • Children who have braces should brush and rinse more often. Otherwise, their teeth might have white spots all over them when the braces are removed.

Schedule an Appointment

It’s extremely important to set your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth and a confident smile. If your child struggles to practice good dental hygiene habits, we can offer advice and good tips on establishing good habits. To schedule an appointment, contact us by calling or filling out our online form.

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