Why Your Child’s Baby Teeth Matter

Most people assume that baby teeth aren’t as important as adult teeth since we lose them early in life. But the truth is that baby teeth really do matter for a variety of different reasons. 

Background on Baby Teeth

An infant’s 20 primary teeth are already in place within the jaws at birth. They start to appear between 6 months and 1 year of age. The emergence of baby teeth often results in sore gums that can be alleviated with gentle rubbing. The average child will have all 20 primary teeth in place by the age of 3.

The Importance of Baby Teeth

Primary teeth are critically important as they help our little ones chew food and form words. Baby teeth also hold space for permanent teeth that will soon emerge from beneath the gums. If a baby tooth is lost prematurely, the adjacent teeth might drift into the empty space, making it challenging for adult teeth to find space when they finally come in. This is one of many reasons why taking your kid to a child’s dentist early in life is so important.

Don’t Delay That First Dental Visit

According to the American Dental Association, the first dental appointment should be scheduled within six months after the child’s first tooth comes in. Do not wait until beyond your child’s first birthday to have him or her seen by a dentist. This visit will give your dentist a chance to check your kiddo’s teeth for decay and other issues.

How You can Care for Your Little One’s Teeth

It is imperative that you take care of your child’s baby teeth from the get-go. The first step is to wipe your baby’s mouth in the first couple of days after birth. Use a washcloth or a moist gauze pad for this quick rub. 

If your child is under the age of 3, brush his or her teeth three times per day and floss where teeth touch, as soon as the teeth have entered the mouth. Use fluoride toothpaste the size of a lentil. If your child is between 3 and 6 years old, use a little bit more toothpaste, roughly the size of a small pea and brush three times per day and floss where the teeth touch. Continue brushing your child’s teeth until you are confident that he or she can brush them on his or her own.  

Kids start to get sufficient hand-eye coordination around the age of 8.  If your child wants to brush and floss on his or her own, that’s great!  Let he or she brush and floss, then an adult should follow up behind.  An adult can brush and floss first, whichever method works best to get the job done. 

Once your child has two teeth that touch, you can teach him or her how to floss! Encourage your child to floss each time he or she brushes to maintain oral health into adulthood. And don’t forget to schedule regular dental appointments at Playtime Dental. 

What Causes Bad Breath in Children?

When you think of baby breath you think of something delicate, airy and sweetly pleasant. But in reality, that’s not always what you get. 

Even healthy children sometimes experience bad breath. But if your son or daughter has persistent bad breath, it could point to improper dental hygiene. 

Common Causes of Bad Breath

The first and most obvious cause of bad breath in children, as in anyone, is unhealthy oral habits. You should teach your child from a very young age to always brush their teeth and tongue so that bacteria does not build up and bad odors are prevented.  

Let your child know that brushing the tongue is just as important as brushing the teeth. Supervise the brushing to make sure they are doing a good job.  Make sure children know from early on that regular care of the mouth is a normal part of each day.

Eating foods that have strong odors can also cause bad breath. If children are brushing regularly after every meal, this will help with that problem, regardless of what is consumed.

If your child is sick, there are two possible sources of bad breath — the medicine he or she is taking, or the infection/condition itself.

Check your child’s mouth regularly to make sure they don’t have any cavities, sores in the mouth or plaque build-up, all of which can contribute to bad breath.

Preventing Bad Breath 

It is the saddest thing to see a very young child with stained or rotting teeth. This is something that might affect them for a lifetime and could have been prevented with proper care. 

Don’t wait until your child has an obvious problem before acting. Take your children to the dentist now. Teach them that their dentist, just like Officer Friendly, is indeed their friend.  

You should encourage children to floss daily and take good care of their teeth so they can proudly brag when they visit their dentist and look forward to getting a new toothbrush.

The routine at Playtime Dental is designed to make your child’s visit fun and entertaining. If your child needs a dentist appointment, give our office a call today. We are currently accepting new patients!

Five Things Parents Need to Know About Teething

Of all your baby’s milestones, one of the most exciting is the arrival of the first baby tooth. Teething occurs when the first baby tooth begins breaking through the baby’s gums. You may not know what to expect during this time in your baby’s life, so we’ve put together a list of the five things you need to know when it comes to teething. 

1. When Teething Begins

The lower front baby teeth usually come in first. One to two months later, the upper front teeth make their appearance. This phase usually begins at about six months but it can be anytime between three and 12 months. All the primary teeth should come in by age 3.

2. Signs of Teething

Drooling is typical when baby teeth come. Keep a bib handy to wipe the chin to avoid chapping. Drooling may cause the development of a rash or redness. Have some Vaseline or skin cream handy. 

Your baby may be irritable and cranky, and may not want to eat because of sore gums. You might find your baby pulling his or her ears and rubbing his or her cheeks during the teething process. Because of the discomfort of teething, your baby’s sleep pattern may be disrupted as well. 

Swollen gums during teething may cause a low-grade fever.  However, if a high fever or diarrhea does occur, contact your child’s physician for an appointment because these symptoms are probably caused by something else. 

3. Teething Pain Relief 

If your baby is getting fussy because of teething, these remedies might help: 

  • Teething ring. This is a baby product used to soothe the gums, something a baby can gnaw and rub against the gums. Shop carefully for a safe product.
  • Cold, wet wash cloth. Parents can cover their finger with the wash cloth and apply soft pressure to the baby’s gums.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers. Ask your dentist for a recommendation.

4. Caring for New Teeth 

Once those teeth start coming in, it’s time to buy your baby’s first toothbrush. Take time to clean the teeth after each feeding. This is the first step in establishing lifelong good dental habits for your child.  This is also the time for your baby’s first trip to the dentist to get recommendations for proper care. 

Encourage Children to Follow Bike Safety Tips

Now that spring has rolled around, it is time to turn our attention to outdoor activities. The warm April weather means our little ones will head outside with their bikes and engage in all sorts of activities with their friends.

April also represents National Facial Protection Month. Too many people think that facial injuries predominantly occur when engaging in contact sports. The truth is that your children are quite vulnerable on their bicycles as well.

The Importance of a Helmet

Bike helmets have become so important that the federal government has instituted safety standards for their design and function. Do not let your child use a bike helmet that does not have a sticker stating it complies with the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Demand that your kids wear their helmets at all times when riding their bikes. Do not let them get away with a helmet-less ride even if it is just down the street to their friend’s place.

Furthermore, inspect the helmet as it rests on your child’s head to ensure that it fits properly. If you and your child are not sure if it fits right, do not hesitate to consult with an expert at a bike store.

Choose the Right Size Bike

Too many parents think that a hand-me-down bike will suffice for their young one. Don’t try to cut corners by forcing your child to ride a bike that is not the ideal size. A properly sized bike will help keep your child safe and sound.

Have your child stand so that he or she straddles the top bar of the bike with both feet flat on the ground. If there is not an inch to three inches of space between the top bar and your child, the bike is the wrong size. Also, check to make sure that the seat, wheels and handlebars all fit nice and snug.

Perform Regular Bike Maintenance

Bikes require maintenance just like automobiles. Check your child’s bike chain on a regular basis to determine if it requires additional oil. Verify that the bike’s brakes are functioning as designed. Sticking brakes can lead to a nasty accident that leaves your child bruised, bloodied or worse.

Also, be sure to inspect the tires on your child’s bike on a regular basis. The tires should have ample air along with the proper tire pressure.

Playtime Dental is Here for Your Kids

The dental experts here at Playtime Dental are just as concerned about your child’s teeth as you are. If Playtime Dental does not care for your little one’s dental needs and you have any interest in a new dentist, look no further. We provide a child-friendly dental environment that your little one will like. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment by dialing 419-774-PLAY.