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Caring for Your Tots Teeth

From teething to toothpaste, we've got you covered. Get 10 quick tips to help keep your child's smile healthy.

 

1. When Teeth Erupt

Your baby is born with 20 teeth below the gums, and they usually start coming through between 6 months and a year. Most children have their full set of teeth by 3 years old. 

 

2. Teething Signs and Symptoms

Teething can be a rite of passage for babies and parents alike. As their teeth come in, some babies may become fussy, sleepless and irritable, lose their appetite or drool more than usual. Diarrhea, rashes and a fever are not caused by teething. If your baby has a fever or diarrhea while teething or continues to be cranky and uncomfortable, call your primary care physician.

 

3. When to Start Brushing with Toothpaste

Decay can happen as soon as teeth first appear. If you see some pearly whites peeking out when your little one smiles, it's time to pick up a tube of fluoride toothpaste. Find one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

 

4. How Much Toothpaste to Use

It doesn't take much to clean your child's teeth. Until you're confident that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child's teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush. If your child is 3 or younger, use a smear of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice). For children 3 or older, a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste will do.

5. When to Schedule Your Baby's First Dental Visit

It's another milestone in a year of exciting firsts. Your child’s first dental visit should take place after their first tooth appears, but no later than the first birthday. Why so early? As soon as your baby has teeth, they can get cavities. Learn more about what to expect and how to prepare for your child’s first dental visit.

 

6. When to Start Cleaning Between Teeth

It doesn't matter if you clean between ​your child's teeth before or after they brush as long as you clean between any teeth that touch. You can use child-friendly plastic flossing tools to more easily clean between your child’s teeth until your child learns to do it.

 

7. You Can Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay most often occurs in the upper front teeth (but other teeth may also be affected). Frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar can cause tooth decay. This can happen when the baby is put to bed with a bottle, or when a bottle is used as a pacifier for a fussy baby.

8. Keep Their Mouths Clean

The next time your child’s pacifier goes flying, don’t pick it up and put it in your mouth because you think that makes it cleaner. Cavity-causing bacteria can be passed through saliva, so you could actually be introducing germs to your child instead of protecting him or her from them. The same goes for mealtime. It can be second nature to offer a bite of your food to your baby from your fork or use their spoon to make sure their food is ready to eat. Keep your utensils, and your germs, separate for healthy mouth and body.

 

9. Water Works!

When your child has worked up a thirst, water is the best beverage to offer—especially if it has fluoride! Drinking water with fluoride (also known as “nature’s cavity fighter”) has been shown to reduce cavities by 25%. While sweetened drinks like fruit juice (even those labeled 100% natural), soda and sports drinks can cause cavities, water with fluoride protects teeth. Sugary drinks also contribute to weight gain, and water is calorie-free.

 

10. There's One More Way to Keep Cavities at Bay

Brushing and flossing go a long way to protecting your teeth against cavities, but sealants form an extra barrier between cavity-causing bacteria and your child's teeth. School-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants. According to the Centers for Disease Control and ADA’s Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars.

Source: ADA

7 Ways to Make Brushing Fun for Kids!  ​

 

If you think you’re busy, try being a kid. In addition to school, activities and family time, they’re learning how to take care of themselves and others in new ways every single day.

 

One of those necessary life skills every child needs to learn is brushing his or her teeth. Helping your child get in the habit of brushing twice a day for two minutes is no small feat, but a little creativity can go a long way when it comes to his or her long-term dental health.


Need to brush up on the basics of cleaning your child’s teeth? Watch the video below to find out how to brush your child’s teeth. Then, get started!

Have 4 Minutes of Fun

 

Don’t just set a timer and supervise – make brushing twice a day for two minutes an event! Crank up your child’s favorite song and have a two-minute dance party. Videos or brushing apps may also make that time fly by. (Younger brushers might like these.) Try reading a 2-minute story using all your best voices. Whatever you do, get creative and switch things up so brushing time is always a good time.

 

Start a Routine and Stick to It

 

You may be tempted to let your child skip brushing after a long day or during times when your normal schedule is off (like vacation), but keep at it. The more second nature brushing becomes the easier it will be to make sure your child is brushing twice a day for two minutes.

 

Reward Good Brushing Behavior

 

What motivates your child? If its stickers, make a reward chart and let him add one every time he brushes. If he’s a reader, let him pick out the bedtime story. Maybe it’s as simple as asking to see that healthy smile, saying “I’m so proud of you” and following up with a huge high five.  

 

Characters Count

 

Who is the character your child can’t get enough of? Many children’s shows and books, including Sesame Street, have stories about brushing. Watch and read them together, so when it’s time to brush you can use that character as a good example.

 

Make Up a Story

 

Haven’t found a story or character to inspire your child? Make up your own. Your child just might be the only superhero who can brush away the bad guys that cause cavities.

 

Go Shopping

 

Let your child pick out his own toothbrush and toothpaste. (We recommend ones with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.) Choosing a character toothbrush might make brushing more fun, and fluoride toothpastes come in a variety of flavors and colors.

 

Make Brushing a Family Affair

 

Your children learn from you, so set a good example. The family that brushes together has even more reason to smile.

Still have questions?  Please feel free to call our office anytime.  We are here to help!

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© 2019 Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Sudbury

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410 Boston Post Rd.
Sudbury, MA 01776

 

Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics - Dr. Kristine Seibel and Dr. Leo Spyrou provide dentistry and orthodontics for children in Sudbury, MA. Dental care for infants, children and teens in the surrounding cities of Framingham, Lincoln, Stow, Wayland, Marlborough, Maynard, Hudson and Concord, MA.

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