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Dental Health

CLEANING YOUR CHILD'S TEETH

Begin cleaning your baby's mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. A baby's front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don't have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.

 

For children younger than 3 years, you should begin brushing their teeth as soon as they come into the mouth. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) with fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear. Supervise children's brushing to ensure that they use the appropriate amount of toothpaste. Flossing is also important anywhere the teeth are touching. Floss sticks are an alternative to regular string floss.

 

For children 3 to 6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night). Supervise children's brushing and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste. Flossing is also important anywhere the teeth are touching. Floss sticks are an alternative to regular string floss.

 

SEALANTS

Even if your child brushes and flosses carefully, it is difficult to clean the tiny grooves on certain teeth. Food and bacteria can build up in these crevices, placing your child at risk for tooth decay. Sealants for kids 'seal out' food and plaque, thus reducing the risk of decay in these areas.

THUMB SUCKING/PACIFIER

Thumbsucking is a natural reflex for children. Sucking on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or other objects may make babies feel secure and happy and help them learn about their world.

Young children may also suck to soothe themselves and help them fall asleep.

The intensity of the sucking is a factor that determines whether or not dental problems may result. If children rest their thumbs passively in their mouths, they are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs. Some aggressive thumbsuckers may develop problems with their baby (primary) teeth.

After permanent teeth come in, sucking may cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and alignment of the teeth. It can also cause changes in the roof of the mouth.

Pacifiers can affect the teeth essentially the same ways as sucking fingers and thumbs, but it is often an easier habit to break. Talk to Dr. Lindsey about strategies to break these habits and correct any problems that may have arisen as a result.

Dental Emergencies

-For toothaches, rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth. Do not put aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues. If pain persists, contact your dentist. If facial swelling is present, contact your dentist immediately and use a cold compress to reduce swelling.

-For a knocked-out permanent or adult tooth, attempt to locate the tooth. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that’s not possible, place it in saliva or milk. Then contact your dentist immediately, because there is a limited window of time to save the tooth.

-For a knocked-out baby tooth, do not attempt to place the tooth back in the socket. Contact your dentist during normal business hours.

-For a cracked tooth, rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Contact your dentist immediately.

-If you bite your tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress. If bleeding, use a cloth and apply pressure until the bleeding ceases.