Today’s post is for new San Diego parents. It contains beneficial counsel about caring for baby’s and toddler’s teeth.
How should I clean my toddler’s teeth?
For infants, gently clean their gums with a piece of gauze or soft cloth. The ADA does not recommend any toothpaste for infants. When your child is three, a pea-sized amount (but no more!) is recommended. Young children rarely spit after you brush their teeth, they swallow. When your child’s teeth start to appear, you can use a very soft brush to softly wipe away food and liquid left on the teeth after feeding.
When should my child see a dentist for the first time?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry counsels parents to take their child to a dentist before their first birthday, or when their first tooth appears. This is essential for their oral health and also to help them become at ease with a dentist from an early age.
What should I do if my toddler has a toothache?
First, call your dentist to make an appointment. Some practices will let you come in without a pre-scheduled appointment for dental emergencies. Rinse the sore tooth and surrounding gums with warm salt water. Don’t put aspirin directly on the tooth. If your child will let you, use a cold compress on the outside of the cheek to relieve swelling. You can give your child acetaminophen unless your pediatrician advises against it.
How can I prevent my toddler from getting cavities?
- Have your child get their first dental check-up before their first birthday, or when their first tooth appears.
- Have your child get a dental check-up every six months or more frequently if your dentist recommends.
- Brush your child’s teeth gently but thoroughly before they go to bed.
- If possible, brush your child’s teeth after meals, or have them rinse with water.
- Don’t let your child sleep with a bottle unless it only contains water.
- Don’t let your child drink juice all day – it is best to have juice along with a meal.
- Limit or avoid sugary snacks – especially gummy types that stick to the teeth. (A fresh apple is better than a pack of fruit snacks).
- Consume acidic foods and beverages with meals to guard enamel.
- If your child sucks his/her thumb after the age of three, speak with your dentist or pediatrician.
- If your child grinds his/her teeth, seek guidance from your dentist or pediatrician.
- Make sure your child has a healthy diet with all the required vitamins and minerals.
- If your child has special medical conditions, seek further direction from your pediatric dentist.
- If you have acute tooth decay, seek additional guidance from your pediatric dentist.
- Follow your dentist’s or pediatrician’s recommendations regarding fluoride supplements and fluoridated water. Remember that too much fluoride is toxic.
- Follow your dentist’s advice regarding dental sealants.
- Monitor your child’s tooth development and see your dentist if anything appears unusual.
- Protect your child’s teeth with a mouth protector when they start participating in sports.
- Model proper dental hygiene every day. Your example is vital.
Should I avoid dental x-rays of my child’s teeth?
No. Modern dental x-rays are extremely safe when proper procedures are followed. The diagnostic advantage greatly outweighs the almost non-existent risk of detrimental radiation exposure.
If child’s baby teeth are widely spaced, does that mean their permanent teeth will be too far apart?
No, this is normal and does not necessarily mean that their permanent teeth will be spaced too far apart.
The following article was used as resource material for this post:
“Parent Resources,” American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, http://www.aapd.org/resources/frequently_asked_questions/#40, accessed on June 12, 2015