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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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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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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How do Dentists Handle Squirmy Toddlers Who Require Dental Treatment?

Your child’s first dental appointment should be a positive one, so at Sprout Kids Dentistry we do everything we can to make sure they are calm and comfortable. However, toddlers can be squirmy, especially if they are feeling anxious. Our team is trained to handle nervous children to ensure a successful visit.

How to prepare for your appointment

Preparing your child for his or her appointment is very important to help ensure they don’t feel anxious and squirmy during their visit. The earlier you start going to the dentist and showing your child that there’s nothing to be afraid of, the better! Before your child’s appointment, avoid using scary words or phrases like “needle,” “shot,” “drill,” or “yank.” Instead, explain to your child that they are going to have their teeth cleaned, and it will be a fun experience. You might consider bringing along one of your child’s favorite blanket, or a small toy, to keep them comfortable. We understand that bringing your child to the dentist can be stressful, but it’s important that you stay calm and positive. Chances are, your child will follow suit.

During your child’s appointment

Most children will feel more comfortable if you stay in the room with them, but you should just be there to watch, not distract them. We have years of experience handling toddlers during their dental visits and know what to say during the exam to help them feel calm. We will explain everything we’re doing so there are no surprises. If your child is especially anxious and squirmy, we do provide laughing gas, a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen to help them feel relaxed. Kids are very impressionable, so having successful visits early on is very important to ensure a lifetime of good dental health and habits.

For more invasive procedures

Sometimes, kids get cavities or need more invasive dental work. We can offer conscious sedation or general anesthesia when necessary to make sure your child is completely comfortable during their procedure.

At Sprout Kids Dentistry, we are no strangers to nervous children! You can relax knowing our team knows how to make your child feel comfortable during treatment and we can successfully treat them even if they are a little squirmy. To learn more about our services or to schedule your child’s cleaning, contact our office.

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