Babies, Children and Teens

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Dental Care for Your Baby

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it should also be one in which you give extra attention to your oral health, hygiene and professional dental needs. Your dental and oral habits now can have an impact on your long-term health and the dental and overall health of your unborn child.

After you have your baby, it is essential to understand how your current oral health can affect your child. If a parent or any caretaker has tooth decay or gum disease, it is extremely important not to share a toothbrush or cup with the baby. The harmful bacteria and decay in the adult’s mouth can be passed on to the baby by sharing these items. Two recommended methods to decrease the bacteria are to use a chlorohexidine mouthwash or to chew gum with Xylitol.

We also recommend the following helpful guidelines:

  • Wipe out your baby’s mouth every day with a soft wet washcloth. We recommend doing this even before any teeth have erupted.
  • When a tooth/teeth have erupted, start brushing these teeth with a small, soft bristle toothbrush made for children.
  • Brush your baby’s teeth twice a day — in the morning and before bedtime.
  • Please consult your pediatric dentist or pediatrician about the type of toothpaste to use. Toothpastes contain fluoride, and the amount of toothpaste to use depends on the age and size of the child.
  • Feed your baby healthy snacks, such as cheese, yogurt or fruit. These foods will help build strong teeth, unlike candy, soft drinks and sugary fruit juices.
  • When putting your baby to sleep, do not give your baby a bottle of milk or juice. We understand this will soothe the child, but the sugars in these drinks will stick to the baby’s teeth while asleep. The sugars then develop into acid which cause tooth decay.
  • Likewise, do not give your baby juice until he/she is 6 months old. We recommend only giving your baby 4-6 ounces of juice a day, with a meal, and not in between meals as a snack.
  • If your baby has white spots on his/her teeth, make an appointment with your pediatric dentist. These white spots are often signs of tooth decay and the development of a cavity.
  • Along with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, we recommend that your child have his/her first dental visit by his/her first birthday!

Dental Care for Teens

No one wants to be embarrassed by gross teeth or bad breath — that’s why excellent oral hygiene habits are so important! With proper brushing and flossing, you’ll be able to joke, laugh and talk with your friends without feeling self-conscious!

We want to eliminate some common myths about dental health. Check it out:

  • MYTH #1 — Once you’re a teenager, you’ve outgrown cavities.
    Actually, anyone at any age can get a cavity, so be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day.
  • MYTH #2 — Periodontal (gum) disease only affects elderly people.
    False! Gum disease ranges from mild (gingivitis) to moderate (periodontitis) to the severe (periodontitis). It causes receding gums, exposed tooth roots that are sensitive to heat and cold, inflamed gums and sometimes bleeding gums.
  • MYTH #3 — Except your wisdom teeth, you will keep all your permanent teeth.
    Depending on your bite pattern, jaw alignment and allotted space for your teeth, this may not be true. As you grow, these features will change, and an orthodontic evaluation will determine whether or not you need to have any permanent teeth pulled or if you’ll need orthodontic treatment.

Tips on How to Maintain a Healthy, Beautiful Smile

Your daily home care regimen is the most important part of your dental health. Here are some guidelines to help you keep that dazzling smile!

  1. Be conscious of your food choices! As a teen, you’re busy with school and extracurricular activities. Make sure you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and limit your intake of junk food, fast food and sugary foods like candy.
  2. Always brush and floss! These daily habits are the best way to prevent tooth decay. Brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste at least twice a day, and floss at least once a day to reach the spaces your toothbrush can’t.
  3. Stay on track with your regular dental appointments! Annual teeth cleanings, fluoride treatments and sealants will help you keep tooth decay and gum disease away.
  4. Just say, “No!” to smoking and chewing tobacco! Everything you’ve heard about tobacco is true — it causes a number of health problems, and it’s nasty! And did you know tobacco can cause oral cancer? Not cool.
  5. If you play sports, always wear a mouthguard to protect your pearly whites! We can make you a custom mouthguard that will fit much better than one bought at a sports store.

Since hopefully you’ve been seeing your pediatric dentist since you were young, we hope you will feel comfortable to talk to us about your smile. We can help correct a number of things you might not like about your teeth — discoloration, gaps or crowding. We can also evaluate the remaining space in your mouth to see if your wisdom teeth will have room to erupt. Please feel free to discuss any concerns you have about your oral health!