Common Pediatric Dental Questions
Answers from Your Tucson Pediatric Dentist
What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
When should I take my child to the pediatric dentist for the first check-up?
Why so early?
When should we begin to use toothpaste and how much?
How often should a child have dental x-rays?
How safe are dental x-rays?
What are dental sealants?
What should I do in a dental emergency?
What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?
Why are mouthguards important in preventing dental injuries?
How can I help my child enjoy good oral health?
- Beware of frequent snacking especially with foods that are sticky and chewy
- Brush at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- Floss twice daily but especially at bedtime.
- Have sealants applied when appropriate
- Seek regular dental check-ups twice a year
- Assure proper fluoride through drinking water, fluoride products or supplements
*Some information courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Prenatal & Infant Oral Health Care
If you are expecting a baby, it’s important to understand that your oral health impacts your pregnancy. It also affects the oral health of your child. Improving oral health during pregnancy can help prevent early cavities in your child’s teeth.
Please visit the Prenatal Oral Health Program website to watch a video about the importance of good oral health care during pregnancy. You can also contact Great Grins Children’s Dentistry at (520) 800-8878 if you are pregnant and do not see a dentist on a regular basis. We will be happy to refer you to a dentist in our area who is willing to see expectant mothers.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that your child should visit a dentist by their first birthday, or when their first tooth comes in. This usually happens between 6 – 12 months. Baby teeth are at high risk for tooth decay, so the earlier they visit the dentist after their first tooth comes in, the better.
Things to consider when it comes to oral health care for your child…
Caring for gums
Wrap a washcloth or gauze around your finger and rub it gently over your baby’s gums. Doing this on a regular basis will help your baby transition to a toothbrush.
Baby’s 1st tooth
When teeth start to appear, switch to a baby toothbrush. Brush your child’s teeth twice a day. Use a smear of fluoride toothpaste (or an amount about the size of a grain of rice) for children under age 2.
Thumb, finger and pacifier habits
Sucking is a natural habit for infants. It usually serves as a comfort and security for them. According to the American Dental Association, most children stop these habits on their own between the ages of two and four. If children continue their habit, it can lead to problems with tooth alignment. It can also affect the overall oral health of the child.
First visit to the dentist
Early visits to the dentist help your child become familiar with the doctors and staff. They will also lessen the fear often associated with dental visits. Parents play a large role in making the first visit to the dentist a positive experience. Role playing with your child, counting teeth and showing them pictures of our team and our office prior to their first visit can help alleviate anxiety that your child may feel. With your help, we can make their first visit a fun and enjoyable experience.
Visit the Baby Oral Health Program website for more information on infant oral health care.
Tips for Teens and Parents
The ways we stay healthy vary based on age. At Great Grins Children’s Dentistry, patients include teens and we emphasize the importance of their dental health. These are some small ways to make a big step toward healthier teeth.
Limit soda drinking
Sugar in sweetened sodas can cause cavities, and acidic flavor additives (found in both unsweetened and sweetened sodas) can also erode and damage tooth enamel. For better teen health, limit the harmful effects of soda in two simple ways: sipping soda through a straw cuts down on the contact the beverage has with teeth, and rinsing the mouth with water after drinking soda can reduce the risk of cavities.
Play it safe
Teens can prevent injuries by wearing a mouthguard while playing contact sports. Whether a mouth guard is custom-fitted by a dentist or bought at a store, teens should keep it clean by rinsing it often and storing it in a ventilated container.
Avoid oral piercings
Oral piercings can also have an effect on teen health. People with tongue piercings chip their teeth on the jewelry while eating, sleeping, talking and chewing. The fracture can be confined to tooth enamel and require a filling, or it may go deeper, which can lead to a root canal or tooth extraction. Infections are also common with oral piercings. The tongue can swell after being punctured, and in some cases can become infected and swell to such a degree that it interferes with breathing. Unclean piercing equipment can cause other infections, such as blood-borne hepatitis.
Make time for healthy habits
Teens should have access to healthy snacks. Food such as apples, carrot sticks and low-fat cheese are “on-the-go” snacks that are easy to take to school, extracurricular activities and part-time jobs.
Chewing sugarless gum with xylitol (a natural sweetener) after meals or snacks can help cleanse the teeth and reduce the bacteria that causes cavities. Drinking water throughout the day can also help rinse the teeth of excess food debris and help keep the mouth and body hydrated.
Do the right things:
- Brush twice daily but especially at bedtime
- Floss twice daily but especially at bedtime.
- Don’t smoke or chew tobacco
- Eat healthy
- Visit the dentist twice a year
*Some information courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the Academy of General Dentistry.