The first check-up is usually between the ages of 2 1/2 and 3 years of age. If there is past history of dental problems or something the parents are concerned about, they can be seen at an earlier age. Regular dental visits help your child stay cavity-free. Teeth cleaning remove debris that build up on the teeth, irritate the gums and cause decay. Fluoride treatments renew the fluoride content in the enamel, strengthening teeth and preventing cavities. Hygiene instructions improve your child's brushing and flossing, leading to cleaner teeth and healthier gums.
EARLY CHILDHOOD CARIES (also known as "baby bottle tooth decay" or nursing caries [cavities]") is a very common dental problem. Do not nurse your child to sleep or put them to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, juice or sweetened liquid. While the baby sleeps, any unswallowed liquid in the mouth supports bacteria that produce acids and attack the teeth. Protect your child from severe tooth decay by putting them to bed with nothing more than a pacifier or water.
You should start cleaning your baby's teeth at birth. You can clean your child's gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Fluoride toothpaste should first be introduced when a child is 2-3 years of age. The child should use a pea-sized amount on the brush and should be able to spit out and not swallow any excess toothpaste after brushing.
TEETHINGFrom 6 months to age 3, your child may have tender gums when teeth come in. Many children like a teething ring, cold wet washcloths, rubbing the gums with a clean finger or if necessary acetaminophen.
PACIFICERS AND THUMB HABITSWhy do children like to suck on fingers, pacifiers or other objects?
This type of sucking is completely normal for babies and young children. It provides security and comfort. It is a way to make contact and learn about the world. Most children stop sucking thumbs and pacifiers on their own between two and four years of age. No harm is done to their teeth or jaws. However, some children continue to suck on a finger, pacifier or other object over long periods of time. For these children, the upper front teeth may tip toward the lip or not come in properly.
Thumb, finger, and pacifier sucking all affect the teeth essentially the same way. However, a pacifier habit is often easier to break. When your child is old enough to understand the possible results of a sucking habit, your pediatric dentist can encourage your child to stop, as well as talk about what happens to the teeth if your child doesn't stop. This advice, along with support from parents, helps most children quit. If this approach doesn't work, your pediatric dentist may recommend a mouth appliance that blocks the sucking habits.
WOODBURY PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY & ORTHODONTICS
800 Woodbury Road Suite E Woodbury, NY 11797
Tel: (516) 921-0400
Fax: (516) 921-8629