We have the answers to your pediatric dental questions!
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first dental visit by age one, or six months after the eruption of their first tooth, whichever comes first!
At DFC, we make this easy for parents and their tiny tots by offering a FREE infant dental appointment.
Most typically, we recommend that you bring your child to Dentistry for Children & Teens for a check-up every six months in order to maintain optimal dental health.
However, there are some times where we may recommend more frequent visits, like during orthodontic treatment or when we’re managing specific dental problems. Our pediatric dentists will work with you to develop the best, most supportive, individualized plan for your child.
In order to become licensed dentists, both pediatric dentists and family dentists complete four years of rigorous dental education.
However, pediatric dentists continue their training in a two-year advanced specialty program that focuses on the unique dental and developmental needs of children.
Think of us as the pediatricians of dentistry. We are the go-to specialists for your child’s dental needs, from birth through adolescence.
Even before the first tooth erupts, you can clean your baby’s mouth with a soft washcloth or an infant toothbrush. This will help to familiarize your child with the daily routine of oral care.
Once teeth erupt, start using a soft-bristled toothbrush with training toothpaste twice a day. Our dental experts recommend that a toothbrush be the last thing to touch your baby’s teeth before sleeping. So, once your baby’s teeth erupt, attempt to orient your routine so that you can avoid bottle feeding or nursing after the teeth have been cleaned.
Once your child is old enough to stand at the sink to brush, introduce fluoridated children’s toothpaste. Encourage your child to spit out the fun bubbles created by this yummy, big kid toothpaste. You can practice this by blowing and spitting out of a short straw. While they are still learning to spit, limit the amount of fluoride toothpaste to only a smear, like butter on toast.
Initially, start babies out with a non-fluoridated, training toothpaste.
Later, around age one, we recommend you use a very small amount (like a smear of butter on toast) of children’s toothpaste with fluoride. It’s important to keep the amount of toothpaste small, as it is unlikely that your young toddler can spit well.
As the spitting skills develop, usually by age three or so, you can increase the amount of fluoridated toothpaste your child uses on his or her toothbrush to the size of a plump pea. Increasing the amount of toothpaste promotes a more thorough application of this important tooth strengthening remedy!
Children’s toothpaste comes in lots of yummy flavors! Keep trying out different flavors of toothpaste until you find one that your kids love.
But remember, no matter how yummy it is, it is not safe for over-consumption. Keep toothpaste tubes up and away from curious toddlers and supervise the use of fluoridated products.
Cavities (AKA “mouth monsters” or “sugar bugs”) are the result of a disease process known as dental decay.
Dental decay is a multi-factorial disease process resulting from bacteria (primarily Mutans Streptococci) metabolizing sugars to produce acid. And over time, that acid demineralizes tooth structure, causing part of a tooth to become weak and consequently break away. Thus a cavity is formed.
When we describe the cavity process to kids, it sounds more like this: The germs in your mouth like to party. When you bring sugary foods and drinks to the party, the germs love it! They eat it up and then leave the trash and leftovers all over your mouth. This wrecks up your teeth. Ugh, cavities!
Cavities are not 100% preventable. However, there are factors in the cavity process that we can and should control, and when we do, we help prevent cavities from forming. The factors we can control are mainly diet and oral hygiene practices.
So, when it comes to diet, you should limit sweets and starches to decrease your child’s susceptibility to cavities. As often as possible, you should attempt to give your kid foods from the earth, rather than foods from a bag or box. The less processed a food is, the less likely it is to contribute to the cavities process. Stay well-hydrated and drink water throughout the day, and avoid juice, soda, and other sugary beverages, except for on special occasions. And never let your child sleep with a bottle or cup containing anything other than water.
When it comes to oral hygiene, commit to good home care! In order to prevent cavities, you and your little one should brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, as well as use fluoride mouthwash and floss every night. Remember, don’t give anything to eat or drink after bedtime brushing.
And make sure to come into Dentistry for Children & Teens every six months for check-ups. We are here to help make sure your family achieves maximum dental wellness!
Yes, baby teeth are important!
Baby teeth are a tiny set of fully functional teeth that are responsible for proper nutrition and speech throughout childhood.
Healthy baby teeth play an important role in a child’s emotional-social development and serve as the training ground for a lifetime of dental wellness.
In addition, baby teeth stimulate the development of the permanent teeth, and serve to guide them properly into position.
Think of sealants like a coat of armor. By painting a thin layer of biocompatible, tooth-colored sealant over the grooves of your child’s molars, we’re able to block out the food and bacteria that contribute to cavities.
This extra layer of protection provides huge benefits, especially during the adolescent years when cavity susceptibility can rise due to food and beverage choices.
Applying dental sealants is simple and painless, and the process provides lots of benefits and protection for years to come!
Everything we do at Dentistry for Children & Teens is done with your child in mind, and this includes dental x-rays. Our dental x-rays are very safe, especially because we use child-sized x-ray equipment and we shield kids from exposure by using superhero blankets made with lead.
We care about more than teeth, so we make sure we protect our patients and minimize the amount of radiation used.
In fact, the exposure to radiation that a kid will experience throughout their whole childhood from medical and dental x-rays is typically less than the amount of natural exposure a child experiences while playing outside in the Colorado sunshine, neither of which is considered to be dangerous by experts!
Following the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, we take only the necessary, age-appropriate x-rays. We then carefully review them to evaluate dental health and development and to determine when the next series of x-rays will be needed.
Fluoride is a very safe, very important part of your child’s oral health-care routine. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral of the earth that has been confirmed to offer numerous benefits to teeth. Dentists recommend it, as fluoride is key to keeping smiles healthy.
Like a lot of other great things, too much fluoride is not recommended. And just like if you were to take too much Vitamin C, taking too much fluoride can lead to negative health effects. That’s why we recommend you always used it as instructed, and talk to one of our pediatric dentists if you have any reservations or questions about fluoride use.
Fluoride helps to keep teeth strong and protected.
The fluoride found in drinking water offers strength to developing teeth. Here in Colorado, our drinking water contains naturally occurring fluoride, the amount of which is regulated to provide maximum benefits and superlative safety.
Fluoride in toothpaste and mouthwashes can remineralize tooth enamel—meaning it makes teeth stronger and more cavity-resistant— and it kills the bacteria that contribute to the cavity process.
Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time.
In general, these non-nutritive sucking habits are very normal during infancy and into the toddler years, and most kids will ease out of these habits all on their own.
For those kids that don’t, DFC can offer support and guidance on successful habit cessation! We can help your child stop these habits that could have negative effects down the line, and we take care of it prior to the time when permanent teeth come in, as this is when lasting bite changes could occur.
Having a well-balanced diet will promote a healthy body and a healthy smile!
In order to make your child’s diet safe for his or her teeth, we recommend limiting servings of juices, sugars, and processed starches, as these foods heighten cavity susceptibility.
Foods that can help support optimum dental wellness include:
- fresh fruits and vegetables
- low-sugar yogurt
- whole-grain bread and crackers
- grilled meats and poultry
- natural peanut or almond butter
- unsweetened milk (cow’s milk, soy milk, or almond milk)
For a special treat, you can freeze grapes or dip strawberries and bananas in dark chocolate. Peanut butter oat balls and fruit smoothies are also a big hit with kids, and they’re healthy too!
We also recommend kids (and adults) drink plenty of water to help support healthy teeth and optimal wellness, as a well-hydrated body is better able to resist illness and fatigue and a moist mouth is better protected from cavities!
We recommend children wear soft, plastic mouth guards to protect their teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums from sport-related injuries. And, evidence shows that mouthguards can also protect athletes from concussion injuries.
You can choose a prefabricated version or we can create a custom-fitted mouthguard to protect your child from potential injuries during organized and adventure sports.
If your child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth, the most important thing to do is to remain calm!
Then you should find the tooth.
Make sure you hold it by the crown, rather than the root, and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that isn’t possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and take your child and the tooth immediately to Dentistry for Children & Teens.
Our emergency dental team is here for your child 24/7 to help handle and fix emergency dental issues!
If your child has a toothache, you should first rinse the irritated area with warm water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen.
If your child is in any pain, you can give him acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help make him comfortable. You can also use topical pain-relieving gels, but make sure you never place aspirin directly on the teeth or gums!
Finally, see a dentist as soon as possible so we can remedy the situation and send that toothache packing!