Answers to Common Questions on Children’s Dental Health

During the month of February we take the time to focus on our littlest patients and the importance of children’s oral health. Parenting can be challenging and there are often many questions around what and when to do certain things when it comes to taking care of your children’s teeth. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

The habits that we as parents instill at this very impressionable stage can be long lasting. We need to teach our children how important it is to take care of their teeth now so when they get their permanent teeth they are prepared. Parents are strongly recommended to supervise children practicing oral hygiene. They must brush for at least two minutes and brush every side of every tooth.

We’ve gone ahead and answered some of the most common questions related to children’s dental health. You can also find our Children’s Dental Health Guide at the bottom of this post.

When do babies start to get their teeth?

Every child is different when it comes to getting their teeth. Some start teething before they are 4 months old, and some after 12 months. But most babies start teething at around 6 months and usually have all of their baby teeth in by the time they are three or four years old.

Baby Teeth DO Matter - Kids First Pediatric

At what age should I start cleaning my babies teeth?

Before your baby gets teeth, we recommend wiping your babies gums after feedings with a soft cloth. Then we tell our patients to start cleaning their baby’s teeth as they appear (usually around 6 months). When you first start to clean their new teeth you can continue using a soft cloth or brushing with a small soft toothbrush and water. At 18 months you can then start using a pea sized amount of low-fluoride toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth.

Will using a pacifier ruin my child’s teeth?

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), using a pacifier with your baby brings both benefits and drawbacks. The use of pacifiers can also be a highly debated subject among parents, so it’s helpful to know the pros and cons.

On the positive side

  • Pacifiers provide a source of comfort to infants/babies and often calms them down
  • Pacifiers can assist in reducing the chance of sudden infant death syndrome because babies with pacifiers sleep less deeply and are more easily awakened.

On the negative side

  • Pacifiers can harm the growth and development of the mouth and teeth.
  • Prolonged use can cause changes in the shape of the roof of the mouth. Prolonged use can also prevent proper growth of the mouth and create problems with tooth alignment.
  • Pacifiers can increase the risk of acute middle ear infections.

At what age should I take my child to see a dentist?

At Campi Dental we recommend scheduling your child’s first dentist appointment around their first birthday. This allows us to ensure their teeth are growing in properly and that everything is on track.

Is it worth fixing cavities in baby teeth?

Because baby teeth do fall out and permanent teeth replace them, it is a valid question. The answer to that question will actually vary depending on multiple factors and the patient. However, in general, it is safe to say that it is usually better to fill a baby tooth than to pull it. The issue at the tooth will absolutely need to be treated at that time, and not wait for the tooth to fall out on its own.

How can I successfully brush my child’s teeth?

You can try and make brushing their teeth fun by using a song, maybe make up a brushing the teeth dance to go along with it. You can say that they can stop brushing when the song is over. You can buy a fun stop watch and keep it by the sink so when it goes off they know they’re done. There are even apps that help to make it fun for them. They should brush for two minutes, twice a day. Around two years old you can switch to a fluoride toothpaste. At that age you can let them pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste at the store. There are so many fun characters to choose from!

A fun app that a lot of our patients like is Brush Up. Below are links to download it in the App Store and Google Play Store.

Brush Up: Toothbrush Trainer on the App Store

Brush Up for iphones

What foods and drinks should my child avoid for healthy teeth?

There are many things that can be damaging to your children’s teeth and it’s a good idea to break those bad habits at an early age so they don’t know any different. Below is a list of items that we recommend you limit for your child.

  • Soda
  • Sports Drinks such as Gatorade
  • Energy Drinks
  • Fruit Juices such as apple juice and orange juice
  • Candy, especially sticky and gummy candy
  • Sour candy
  • Fruit snacks
  • Chewing on Ice
  • Popcorn
  • Citrus, in an excessive amount
  • Breath mints

At what age will my child’s baby teeth begin to fall out?

A child’s baby teeth (primary teeth) typically begin to loosen and fall out to make room for permanent teeth at about the age of 6. However, sometimes this can be earlier or even delayed by as much as a year. Most kids will lose all of their baby teeth and have their permanent teeth by the age of 13.

At what age will I know if my child needs braces?

At Campi Dental we watch very closely the progress of all of our children patients teeth. We can identify when and if they should speak to Dr. Greg, our in-house orthodontist. Some children can show signs of orthodontic problems as early as age 5 or 6 while others won’t show any signs of problems until the age of 12 or 13 when all of their adult teeth are in.

Everything You Need to Know About Braces for Kids

We hope this post has helped to answer some of your questions around your child’s oral health. We’ve also included below some facts and tips that can also help you. If you ever have any questions about your child’s teeth or oral health please don’t hesitate to call us at 732-449-2228.