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Your Child's Teeth: Nobody Ever Told Me That!

Mother and son enjoy brushing their teeth

Here are 20 facts about your child's teeth and dental care that nobody ever told you about!

1. During pregnancy women need frequent, preventive dental appointments to make sure they have no gum disease that may affect the fetus.

2. If you start your baby’s mouth care early, and practice dental prevention, you will save a lot of money in the long run.

3. Within a few days of a baby’s birth, parents need to clean the baby’s mouth, cheeks, and gums after feedings with a soft, damp piece of gauze or cloth. This is true for children of both nursing and non-nursing moms.

4. Monitoring the health of your child’s teeth and gums is outside the pediatrician’s area of expertise. Dental diagnosis and treatment requires a general dentist adept at working with children. For children who are behavior problems, there are pediatric dental specialists.

5. Between six and twelve months, when the baby’s first tooth comes in is the ideal time for your first dental visit with your baby.

6. Not all bottled water contains fluoride. If you are relying of fluoride to supplement your child’s dental needs, don’t guess. Ask your dentist instead.

7. Even baby teeth may need orthodontic treatment. That’s why it is so important to take your child to the dentist for regular check-ups. Habits like thumb sucking, and the improper use of pacifiers can cause significant facial deformities in the long-term. Nail biting is a sign of anxiety, and becomes a long term habit that, when continued into adulthood results in broken teeth and a collapsed bite.

8. If an accident causes a permanent tooth to chip or fall out, you may be able to save the tooth. Bring the tooth immediately (whole or in pieces) to the dentist. Be careful not to touch the root. If you can put it in a container or zip lock bag, soaking in milk, it would be beneficial.

9. Begin flossing your child’s teeth at an early age, as soon as he or she gets a few baby teeth in. This will get your child used to the process.

10. If necessary, your child’s jaw structure can be altered by orthodontics. This is best done when a ‘window of opportunity’ exists for changing facial structure. We will make the appropriate referrals for you.

11. The older a person is, the more difficult it will be to remove wisdom teeth and the longer they will take to heal.

12. Your child’s toothbrush needs to be replaced every one to two months. This is especially important after an illness.

13. To prevent baby bottle tooth decay, don’t put baby to bed with milk or juice in a bottle.

14. Parents have the option of having a qualified pediatric anesthesiologist present if a child needs to be sedated in order to do necessary dental work.

15. When permanent molars emerge, have the dentist or hygienist check to see if sealants or some type of coverage will be necessary to help prevent decay.

16. Children can get gum disease at an early age. This is rare, but it happens. It is called juvenile periodontitis.

17. Even inherited physical appearances such as buck teeth can sometimes be corrected by braces.

18. Children need only a small pea-sized amount of toothpaste on their toothbrushes. Don’t let them eat toothpaste because they may ingest too much fluoride.

19. Parents should start early putting their fingers in the baby’s mouth to clean it and to get the baby used to the feeling of having the teeth wiped and brushed.

20. Remember that your child’s permanent teeth will be performing in his or her mouth for 70 years or more! The fewer problems they have with decay early on, the stronger these teeth will be later.

(Source Credit: I Hate Dentists! by McHenry Lee, DDS)

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