Lake Jeanette Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry

A great place to grow a smile.

Helpful Tips

First Dental Visit by First Birthday

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association recommend the first dental visit by age 1

 

  • A thorough examination
  • Practical tips on how to care for your child’s teeth
  • A discussion about oral habits, including finger, thumb and pacifier sucking
  • An assessment of how likely your child is to develop cavities
  • Advice on teething and healthy feeding practices
  • Recommendations on the correct amount of systemic and topical fluoride
  • Tips to prevent oral and facial trauma

Healthy teeth and gums are essential for a healthy body.  You can help your child enjoy a lifetime of good oral health with proper care at home, a balanced diet and regular dental visits. 

  • Before the dental visit, emphasize the positive and fun aspects of the visit
  • Tell your child that the dentist is a friendly doctor who takes care of teeth
  • Schedule a morning appointment when children tend to be rested and cooperative
  • Do not tell your child scary stories about your own dental visits
  • Do not relay any anxiety that you might feel about dental visits
  • Never use the dental visit as a punishment or threat
  • Try to make your child’s dental visit an enjoyable and special outing

Dental Care for Infants & Toddlers

  • The sooner the better!  Before teeth erupt, wipe your baby’s gums with a wet washcloth after each feeding.  After the first tooth erupts, use a soft bristle toothbrush to clean all teeth.  Begin using a pea sized smear of fluoridated toothpaste at age two.  Use floss as soon as your child has teeth that touch.

  • To reduce the risk of cavities, limit sippy cup use to meal times and encourage your child to drink from a regular cup by age one.  Avoid in-between meal snacks including fruit juice and milk.

  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should be weaned from the bottle at 12 to 14 months of age.  Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juice or sweetened liquids.  If your child drinks from the bottle at night, only use water.  Never allow a child to breastfeed all night long because this exposes the teeth to milk that contains sugar when saliva flow is low.

  • Prolonged sucking on the thumb, finger, or pacifier may cause problems with the proper growth of the jaws and alignment of the teeth. 

  • Your child may have sore gums when teeth erupt.  Parents can massage the gums with a wet washcloth or use a teething ring to help with discomfort.  Appropriate amounts of children’s Acetaminophen (Tylenol) may help. 

  • If your child drinks fluoridated water, from your tap or from a bottle, then no supplement is needed.  If you have well water that does not contain the recommended amount of fluoride, then give your child bottled water that contains fluoride.   Another option would be to test the well water to determine the level of fluoride and then supplement if necessary. 

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association all recommend that the first dental visit take place no later than age one. 

Dental Care for School Age Children

Children under the age of ten usually need an adult to help them brush their teeth.  Teeth should be brushed with a soft bristle toothbrush twice a day for two minutes.  The most important time to brush is before bed and the most important place to brush is along the gum line.  Use toothpaste that contains fluoride to prevent cavities.  Flossing should be done once per day with the assistance of an adult until the child is about ten years of age.

Beverages containing sugar, including sodas, fruit juice, and sports drinks, should be avoided.  If your child drinks these beverages, only serve them at mealtimes when saliva is flowing.  Sugar in these beverages s converted to acid and the acid causes cavities by dissolving enamel.  Saliva increases during mealtimes and helps to neutralize the acid.  Drink water between meals.  If your child eats between meals, then choose nutritious foods like cheese, fruits and vegetables.  If your child chews gum, give them sugarless gum.  Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits that include cleanings, fluoride treatments and sealants will give your child the best chance for a lifetime of good oral health.  

Ninety percent of cavities in permanent teeth begin in the pits and fissures, or deep grooves, of a tooth.  Sealants are a plastic coating that a dentist applies to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.  Sealants form a barrier that protects teeth from plaque and acid attacks, and hold up well under the force of normal chewing.

A protective mouth guard is recommended for sports or other activities that may result in injury to the mouth or jaws.  Your dentist can suggest an appropriate mouth guard.  Always remember to use seat belts and bike helmets.

If your child drinks fluoridated water, from your tap or from a bottle, then no supplement is needed.  If you have well water that does not contain the recommended amount of fluoride, then give your child bottled water that contains fluoride.   Another option would be to test the well water to determine the level of fluoride and then supplement if necessary. 

Nutrition Tips for Happy Smiles

These are items that you can eat anytime because they are good for your body and good for your teeth

Food: Fruits, Vegetables, Cheese, Nuts, And Sugarless Gum

Beverages: Water, Sugar-Free Beverages

These items are called “junk food” and should be consumed in moderation, and your teeth should always be brushed afterwards to prevent tooth decay

Food: Fruit Roll-Ups and Candy (especially sticky candies)

Beverages: Sweet Drinks including sodas and sweet tea

These are items that are nutritious, but can cause tooth decay.  They are NOT recommended for snacks.  They are recommended for mealtime only when saliva is flowing.  Saliva helps neutralize the acid that causes cavities.

Food: Crackers and Chips (contain lots of carbohydrates that break down into sugar), and Raisins (loaded with natural sugars that stick to the teeth)

Beverages: Milk and Juice (both contain natural sugars that are converted to acid that causes cavities)