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Tips for parents

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Tips for keeping your child’s teeth healthy.

From one parent to another, we know it’s exhausting to raise a little one – but it is also the greatest gift imaginable.  Any parent knows that convincing your toddler to brush his or her teeth can be a constant battle.

Kids are so busy exploring the world around them and finding new fun ways to play, they easily loose focus and have trouble staying still long enough to brush their teeth effectively.

However, this is a critical time that you work with your child to establish a dental care routine.  Make it fun!  By establishing good habits at at early age you are setting your child up for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

Your child’s first dental visit.

As soon as your child’s first tooth appears it is time to come in for his or her first dental appointment.

Please see our first visit page to understand more about what will happen at this appointment with our whole dental wellness team.

Easing the pain of teething.  For both of you.

Teething is one of the most difficult rites of passage for small children (and parents alike!), and although newborns usually do not have any visible teeth, teething can begin quite early.

Although timing varies greatly, babies usually begin teething by about age 6 months.  Typically, the two bottom front teeth (lower central incisors) are the first to appear, followed by the two top front teeth (upper central incisors).

Classic signs and symptoms of teething include:

Chewing on objects

Drooling

Irritability or crankiness

Sore or tender gums

Low-grade rectal fever of 99 F (37.2 C)

Many parents think that teething can cause higher fever and diarrhea, but researchers say they aren’t indications of teething.  If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, we recommend you consult with your pediatrician.

If your teething baby seems uncomfortable or in pain, consider these simple tips:

Rub your child’s gums

Use a clean finger or moistened gauze pad or rag  – the pressure can ease discomfort.

Ice Ice Baby

Applying light pressure with a cold rag, spoon or chilled teething ring can help soothe baby’s gums.

Chew hard foods

If your baby is eating solid foods, try offering something edible for gnawing (such as a peeled and chilled cucumber or carrot).
Be sure you keep a close eye on your baby as any pieces that break off may pose a choking hazard.

Minimize drool leakage

Excessive drooling is normal when teething.
To minimize skin irritation, keep a clean towel handy to dry your baby’s chin when saliva pools.
Applying moisturizers – such as a water-based cream or lotion – can also help minimize skin irritation.

Over-the-counter pain relievers

If your baby is especially irritable, acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) or ibuprofen (e.g. Advil, Children’s Motrin) might help.
Be sure to check concentration and recommended dosage based on your child’s age and weight before administering.

When your baby’s first teeth appear, it is time to start thinking about regular dental checkups.  The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend scheduling your child’s first dental visit after their first tooth erupts and no later than his or her first birthday.  Have questions?  Give our office a call today!

Pacifiers and thumb sucking.

Sucking on a thumb, finger, or pacifier is normal for infants and young children.  At early ages, this habit typically does not damage your child’s teeth. However, be sure to clean your infant’s pacifier before each use to avoid bacteria being introduced into the mouth.  Never dip your child’s pacifier in sugar, honey, or juice, as this can cause tooth decay.  And don’t worry, most children stop these habits on their own.  The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends any habit of sucking on a thumb or pacifier should end by age three.  If your child continues beyond that point, it can cause long-term problems with their tooth alignment and bite.  Some oral changes caused by sucking habits can continue even after the habit stops. Prolonged sucking can cause crooked teeth or bite problems.  By establishing your child’s dental home by age 1, we can provide you with information to help you aid your child to their stop sucking habits before they affect their developing permanent teeth.  If you have a child over age four who is still using a pacifier or sucking his or her thumb, we will work with you and your pediatrician to find the best to stop this habit.

We are here for you.

Do you have a question about dental care for your little one or need to schedule your child’s first dental appointment?  Give us a call!  We look forward to welcoming your family into our practice.