How Do I Teach My Toddler About Dental Health?
Although many parents underestimate the value of baby teeth, reasoning that they will fall out anyway, creating good dental habits in your child’s toddler years can set the stage for a lifetime of excellent dental health. A stunning 60 to 90 percent of kids develop at least one cavity in their baby teeth, and untreated childhood dental issues can cause permanent damage. Here are some tips for starting your child’s dental journey.
Model Good Choices
Your kids learn from you, so this is the time to make a new commitment to your own oral health. Drink plenty of water, brush and floss regularly, cut down on sugary foods, and visit the dentist twice a year. Your kids will grow up viewing dental care as just a regular part of life.
Make Brushing and Flossing Normal
Within the first few days after your new baby is born, start wiping his gums with sterile gauze or a clean, damp cloth. When the first tooth emerges, start gently brushing it with a soft-bristled, child-sized toothbrush and a dab of toothpaste. When two teeth touch, start flossing them. Your child should never remember a time when oral hygiene didn’t happen every single day.
See the Doctor
Pediatricians typically manage infants’ first and second dental visits, which should occur around their first and second birthdays. These are excellent opportunities to learn how to properly brush the baby’s teeth and manage teething issues, as well as to ask any additional questions.
It’s fine to give your kids milk or fruit juice, but keep an eye on the quantities. Teach your baby to drink plain water at naptime and bedtime so that it will feel normal as she grows up. When your child transitions to solid foods, focus on cheese, fruit, and other healthier options. When you allow your child to eat sugary snacks or drink sweet beverages, be sure to brush her teeth right away, or at least rinse her mouth thoroughly with plain water.
Visit the Dentist
Most kids are able to brush their own teeth with help by the age of three. This is the appropriate time to schedule a first visit to the dentist. The goal is to let your child get comfortable in the office without building stress. Some kids are ready for a cleaning and an exam during this visit, while others will just get a quick tour of the office and meet the staff.
After the first visit, consider bringing your child to your appointments to build familiarity. We will also start scheduling your child for his own appointments. We will be by your kids’ side as they grow up, dealing with any emergencies that arise and ensuring that their dental health is the best it can possibly be.
Want to Learn More?
If you want to learn more about how we can keep your entire family’s smiles in tip top shape, contact Savannah Dental Solutions today at (912) 354-1366 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
Help! I Have White Spots on My Teeth!
A beautiful smile has long been viewed as a sign of health and wellness, and those with terrific smiles tend to feel more self-confident. If you have white spots on your teeth, though, you might feel uncomfortable and reluctant to smile. Fortunately, these spots are both common and easy to treat. Here’s what you should know.
White spots on the teeth can have many causes. Most cases, though, are caused by one of the following:
Fluorosis: Large doses of fluoride that far exceed the recommended amount can discolor tooth enamel in children. Fluoride stains may be brown or yellow, but they are often a chalky-looking white.
Enamel Hypoplasia: Enamel hypoplasia, or deficient tooth enamel, can be caused by many factors, from nutritional deficiencies to premature birth and high fevers in infancy. Enamel hypoplasia staining looks much like fluorosis staining, and often appears as a milky white.
Demineralization: Demineralization of the tooth enamel is relatively common among braces wearers, but it can occur whenever bacterial plaque accumulates on the teeth. It causes milky white spots that look similar to enamel hypoplasia.
There are several different treatments available for white spots on teeth. Which you choose will depend on your budget, the severity of the spots, and your dentist’s recommendations. Some people actually use a combination of different treatments to achieve the best results.
Microabrasion: In microabrasion, the dentist removes the top layer of surface enamel from your teeth. This is highly successful for minor surface spots, and it may be combined with a whitening treatment for even better results.
Teeth Whitening: Whitening toothpastes and over the counter bleaches can help with very minor discoloration. To properly treat white spots, though, it is best to have an in-office whitening treatment or to have your dentist prescribe a take-home whitening kit.
Porcelain Veneers: If you have deep and/or widespread white spots, they may not be fixable with microabrasion or teeth whitening. In this case, porcelain veneers may be the best solution. We will remove less than a millimeter of healthy tooth structure to make room for very thin ceramic shells that slip over your teeth. Extremely natural in appearance, porcelain veneers are highly durable, long-lasting, and resistant to future staining. Note that if you only need a few teeth covered with veneers, you might choose to have the rest of your teeth whitened first. We will then color-match your veneers to your new bright white smile.
You can minimize the risk of white spots through good nutrition, keeping an eye on your child’s fluoride intake, and keeping braces scrupulously clean. Still, it is often impossible to avoid all white spots. Fortunately, with a combination of preventive measures and treatments, there is no need for you or child to suffer from the embarrassment of discolored teeth.
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Should I Be Concerned About Baby Teeth Delayed Tooth Eruption?
New parents are extremely focused on their baby’s milestones, and keeping an eye out for each new tooth is no exception. If teeth do not emerge when parents expect them, panic can ensue. Fortunately, most of the time, delayed tooth eruption is nothing to worry about. Occasionally, though, an underlying condition could be the reason for delayed tooth eruption. Here is what you should know.
Normal Tooth Eruption
When a baby is born, most of his or her teeth are already formed beneath the gumline. They usually start to come in when the baby is around six months old, starting with the front teeth and moving back from there. By the age of three, almost all children have a full set of 20 baby teeth.
Averages are just that, and most “delays” in tooth eruption actually fall within the wide range of normal. For example, the first tooth comes in “on average” at around six months of age, but anywhere from four months to 15 months is normal. If your child has no teeth at all by the time he or she is 18 months, it is important to visit the dentist for a full assessment.
Causes of Delayed Tooth Eruption
Sometimes delayed tooth eruption is simply due to normal heredity. If one parent or sibling had teeth come in late, the new baby is more likely to have delayed tooth eruption as well. In addition, babies that are premature or of low birthweight tend to get their teeth a bit later than average.
Less common causes of delayed tooth eruption include Down’s Syndrome, hypopituitarism, rickets, nutritional deficiencies, and rare genetic conditions. It is important to rule out these conditions, and to treat them if present, but they do not cause the majority of cases.
Is Delayed Tooth Eruption Harmful?
Delayed tooth eruption is not serious, but it does increase the risk that your child may need orthodontic work. In fact, children with delayed tooth eruption are 35 percent more likely to need orthodontic care before their 30th birthday. This appears to be the only real risk, though, of delayed tooth eruption that is not associated with an underlying health condition.
New parents tend to panic at any variation from the “typical” development schedule, but individual differences are actually quite normal. Have your child checked by a dentist if she has no teeth by 18 months of age, and otherwise try not to worry.
As a precaution, all children should be assessed for orthodontic issues in early childhood, and those whose teeth erupted late are at higher risk for orthodontic trouble. In most cases, though, delayed tooth eruption is simply due to individual variances and is not likely to lead to future issues. When the baby teeth do arrive, be sure to brush them carefully!
Want to Learn More?
If you want to learn more about how we can keep your entire family’s smiles in tip top shape, contact us today at (912) 354-1366 for more information or to schedule an appointment.