General Topics

Why Are Baby Teeth Important?

It is a popular belief that baby teeth aren’t important because they will eventually fall out; but this could not be further from the truth! Primary teeth, also known as baby teeth, are extremely important to your child’s development and early childhood! Primary teeth are important in speech development as a lot of the sounds made in languages are made with the help of your teeth! If the child is missing any primary teeth they may not learn a particular sound and this may lead to a speech issues later on. Another reason primary teeth are so incredibly important is because they save space in the jaw for proper growth of the permanent teeth. Adult teeth need the proper space to form in the jaw and then later emerge in the correct place. Baby teeth also foster good nutrition through proper chewing and eating and also builds self esteem by providing your child with a beautiful smile! Having all their baby teeth and taking care of them properly also sets the stage for a lifetime of healthy habits and smiles!

Teething

Teething is the process where baby teeth emerge or erupt through the gums. For your child, it may be a painful and unfamiliar experience, so it may cause some crankiness, but this is a completely natural process that needs to take place. Teething typically starts around 6 months of age, but anytime between 3-12 months is a normal time for teething to occur. By age 3 your child should have all of their 20 baby teeth. Often the lower front teeth erupt first and during the teething process babies can become fussier because of soreness and swelling that occurs. Your child may bite on fingers or toys to help alleviate the pressure that they feel in their gums and your child may begin to drool more during teething. All of these can be expected and there are some tips to help your child be more comfortable!

How Can I Help My Child During Teething? You can use a clean finger to gently rub your child’s gums or a cold teething ring. Your child may not understand this at first and may protest, but if you rub the affected area for approximately 2 minutes, it should provide some level of relief. When your child is old enough to eat solids, there will be more relief from colder foods, such as apple sauce or yogurt.

Child Dental Emergencies

Depending on the type of emergency there are different techniques to help the pain on your way to the doctor or hospital. For a toothache, you will want to clean the affected area and rinse the mouth thoroughly with warm water. If the pain is present or the face is swollen you will want to apply a cold compress and contact the doctor immediately. For a knocked out baby tooth, you will want to contact your experienced pediatric dentist during business hours to discuss the situation. For a cut on the tongue, lip or cheek you will initially want to control the bleeding by applying ice and gentle pressure with a cloth. If the bleeding cannot be controlled, you will want to call a doctor or go to the emergency room. If it is possible that your child’s jaw has been broken or fractured, it is important to avoid moving the jaw and critical that you take your child to the emergency room.

What Kind of Toothpaste Should I Use For My Child?

There are many brands of toothpaste and there are also differences in the ingredients. Some contain sodium fluoride, the standard ingredient in cavity prevention. Others have stannous fluoride, which is anti-bacterial and anti-cavity. Potassium nitrate is commonly found in anti-sensitivity, and triclosan is found in one particular brand for anti-bacterial properties. Before a child can spit, use toothpaste without fluoride. This is an ideal time to use toothpaste with xylitol. Xylitol should be listed as the first ingredient; this way you will get the almost medicinal property of this natural sweetener. After you have found the right type of toothpaste, consider its flavor. The best kind of toothpaste is one that will be used, so choose a flavor that your child will love!

What Should I Do If My Child Grinds Their Teeth at Night? (Bruxism)

Bruxism is the term that describes the condition of grinding the teeth or clenching the jaw. Two to three out of every ten kids will have bruxism. Experts aren’t always sure why bruxism happens. In some cases, kids may grind because the top and bottom teeth aren’t aligned properly. Others do it as a response to pain, such as from an earache or teething. Stress could also be a reason for teeth grinding or jaw clenching. A lot of kids will outgrow grinding their teeth at night, but a combination of dental checks and parental observation can help keep the issue in check until it is outgrown. A mouth piece can sometimes be beneficial if the bruxism is causing soreness to the jaw. Consult with your experienced pediatric dentist for more information!

Is It Okay For My Child to Suck Their Thumb?

Babies are born with a sucking reflex because it’s how they eat. So it is completely normal for them to suck their thumb, even in the womb! Sucking calms your baby down, so by sucking their thumbs, babies always have a built in way to calm themselves down. However, too much of thumb sucking can disturb the alignment of your child’s teeth and even the structure of their mouth. You will definitely want to wean them off before their permanent front teeth come in, around age six. If you want any more information, give us a call today!