Kids’ Health

April 10, 2015

Welcome to the news section of our website, where we will be providing answers and discussions on different aspects of dentistry. Stay tuned for updates, and if you have any questions or topics you would like us to discuss, please feel free to email me at Remember that all information and advice does not constitute care and should not be used in place of an actual dental exam. If you have a specific question or concern, please see your dentist or schedule an appointment with us today. Thanks!

Because February was Children’s Dental Health month, the first topic is all about kids. Enjoy!

When should I bring my child in for the first time?

The American Dental Association recommends that a child’s first dental visit be before one year of age, typically within 6 months from the eruption of the first baby tooth. This appointment allows the dentist to visually inspect the teeth for normal development and to give parents information regarding their child’s dental health, as well as how to care for the teeth.

When do baby teeth typically erupt? What about permanent teeth?

Baby teeth can start to erupt anytime after 4 months of age and normally before 14 months of age. Growth and development can be different for every child, so just because one kiddo started to get teeth right at 6 months doesn’t mean that the next one will, also. There is a wide range of normal, and early or late eruption does not typically lead to any problems or concerns. Baby teeth start to fall out and be replaced with permanent teeth around age 6, but can be a year before or after that, as well.

How and when should I start caring for my child’s teeth?

Now is the best time to start establishing good oral health. One of the best ways to prevent problems is to limit sugary drinks to meals only and to never put a baby to bed with milk or juice in a bottle or sippy cup. Cleaning of the mouth should begin as early as possible, even before the teeth have erupted, to prevent the accumulation of plaque and bacteria. For babies without any teeth, a wet washcloth or towel can be used to quickly wipe the gums after a feeding. For kids who are teething or have teeth, brushing with a small toothbrush (one designed for toddlers or infants) should be used after eating, but at least twice daily, in the morning and before bed. Kids are unable to brush by themselves until around age 6, when gross and fine motor development has matured. Parents must brush their children’s teeth to ensure that they are cleaned properly. And flossing – we love it.

Which type of toothpaste should I use?

For most kids, we recommend starting with a training toothpaste that does not contain fluoride. Kids are unable to effectively spit out excess toothpaste, so swallowing toothpaste without fluoride is okay. Once kids have learned to spit, a fluoridated toothpaste can be used. The proper amount of toothpaste is important, and the ideal amount is a smear of toothpaste no bigger than the size of a pea. Don’t cover all the bristles with toothpaste or do what you see in toothpaste commercials where they flow so much toothpaste and then curl it back up like a Dairy Queen sundae – that is too much toothpaste. If more fluoridated toothpaste than what is used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, please contact poison control for further instructions.

Starting kids off with healthy habits now can help to prevent future pains in the mouth and the wallet.