When should a child start using toothpaste?

kids dental Fort WorthThe schedule for your child’s oral care is fairly simple. Baby teeth usually start to erupt anywhere from four to six months, with some infants may even start a little later. When your baby has only a few teeth, wiping them with a clean soft cloth after bottle feeding is a great start.

The first visit with the pediatric dentist should occur at around the age of twelve months. This visit will involve a brief exam often while the child sits on a parent’s lap. This early visit is a perfect opportunity to inquire about your child’s oral health from infancy through childhood, and beyond through the teen years.

Your kid’s dental care is critical to their overall health so learning the best way to care for their teeth and gums very early in life will promote the best oral health possible for their lifetime.

Daily brushing should start when your child consumes solid foods. There are very soft bristle brushes geared toward early brushing – you can use a pea size portion of paste that is intended for babies and toddlers that are safe for baby if they should swallow.

Children often learn through example so allowing your child to watch you brush while focusing on spitting out the toothpaste is a good idea. An idea is to brush with your child making a game out of brushing and spitting. Bringing some fun into this task is more encouraging for your child than making it task oriented.

Flossing your child’s teeth should start around the same time as brushing. Using a floss pick might give you more control than trying to juggle regular floss, but use gently.

Once you are satisfied that your child has sufficiently grasped the brush and spit process, you can introduce a fluoridated toothpaste into their regimen. Supervising brushing will guarantee your child is brushing daily and correctly. Guidance and encouragement will help your child to formulate good oral care habits that will follow them even when you are no longer supervising their daily oral care.

Your child should continue to maintain consistent visits to the pediatric dentist. Early regular visits allows the child to become familiar with the sights, sounds, and smells of the dental office – if their first dental visit is a result of a toothache, subsequent dental visits become difficult due to a negative first experience.

Are you ready to bring your child in for an appointment? Contact our office at Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry today!

The Long-term Effects of Plaque Buildup

kids dental Fort WorthPlaque is a problematic substance that can lead to an increased risk for gum disease and tooth decay. Filled with bacteria, plaque is the result of oral bacteria colonizing after meals—especially after sugary or starchy foods have been consumed. Sugars and starches are oral bacteria’s source of food. If one practices proper oral hygiene, most plaque is removed by brushing and flossing. However, inadequate oral hygiene practices or diets high in sugar can lead to plaque buildup, which can harm your kid’s dental health. Since our pediatric dentists strive to prevent oral health problems, it is important to schedule regular kid’s dental cleanings and checkups along with helping your child establish healthy habits at home.

How Plaque Affects Oral Health

Plaque forms when bacteria colonize along the gum line. As this occurs, plaque will coat the gums and teeth. As a sticky, translucent substance, plaque may seem harmless but it is not. In fact, plaque buildup can inflame and irritate soft oral tissues—eventually leading to infection. Moreover, plaque buildup contributes to cavities because bacteria release acid as a byproduct when they feed and colonize. With time, exposure to acid weakens the enamel coating of teeth. Gum disease and tooth decay must be professionally treated and maintained with proper oral hygiene, otherwise, these conditions can greatly damage oral health and your child’s well-being.

Tips for Preventing Plaque Buildup

The first step for preventing the accumulation of plaque is to help your child establish a thorough oral hygiene routine. Like adults, children should brush their teeth at least twice a day. Patients should brush all of their teeth (front and back), the gums, and the tongue for at least two minutes. Children over the age of five should begin flossing at least once a day. Brushing helps remove plaque, and flossing cleans in between teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. We encourage parents to monitor their family’s diets and try to eliminate sugary food whenever possible. Children should also visit our practice twice a year for checkups and cleanings. Receiving regular preventive care can help catch potential problems as soon as possible.

To schedule an appointment, call our family friendly team today.

Tips for Getting a Toddler to Brush Their Teeth

kids dental Fort WorthTeaching your child to learn how and when to brush their teeth will instill habits needed for a lifetime of excellent kids dental health. The lessons learned at a very young age can mean the difference between a lifetime of happy smiles and dental problems that can be painful, time consuming, and costly.

Like many of life’s chores, daily brushing and flossing are not high on the list of favorite things to do. To make any job easier, trying to bring fun into the equation is helpful. Make a game out of brushing … create target areas and make a fun sound or ring a bell when the child has done the job well.

Many children respond to praise … clapping, smiling, and positive commentary is helpful.

A reward system may work better for some children. The prize should be something like extended reading from your child’s favorite book, a trip to the park, or if they consistently perform their daily hygiene tasks over a period of time, a visit to the zoo or maybe to see an age appropriate movie.

Threats or negative comments should never be used. While trying to get your child to bend to your ways, associating negative actions to brushing their teeth will backfire over the long term.

Your kid’s dental health requires attention from the first time you see a little tooth start to emerge. Keeping teeth free from plaque build-up is critical at all ages. Early on in infancy, wipe teeth clean with a soft cloth. As the child ages and more teeth appear, use a soft bristle tooth brush and a tooth paste designed for the toddler and brush for them.

When your child’s coordination develops enough for them to try brushing on their own, use example as a teacher by allowing your child to watch you brush and floss. Guide your child’s hand, use encouragement, and never criticize a great effort.

Around the age of twelve months, your child should experience their first visit to the pediatric dentist. These early visits will help your child feel comfortable with going to the dentist as they get a little older. This also provides a great opportunity for you to learn the best way to care for your kid’s dental health as toddlers and as they grow.

For more information or to schedule your child’s dental exam, contact Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry at 817-569-6633.

Dental Health Tips for Reluctant Children

kids dental Fort WorthChildren can be a handful as they go through the different stages of their development. As the baby teeth start to emerge, babies become fussy and parents struggle to comfort them. As more teeth grow in, the need for regular dental care increases, including at-home dental habits as well as regular visits to a pediatric dentist for checkups and cleanings. Managing kid’s dental health is essential for overall health and for the preservation of their adult teeth later in life.

Although the baby teeth are short-lived, falling out or requiring extraction depending on the circumstances, they play a vital role in the development of good kid’s dental habits. Most dentists agree that children should visit the dentist as soon as the first tooth starts to emerge, but visiting before then is also possible. Dentists treat more than just teeth; they ensure the gums and mouth are healthy as well. Visiting the dentist, however, can be an enormous challenge for some parents and children. Starting dental checkups later makes the comfort-curve steep for children that don‘t instantly accept having a stranger poke inside their mouths.

Getting comfortable with regular dental habits can also be a challenge. Some children have difficulty adjusting to certain textures and sensations if not introduced early. For this reason, using a sponge toothbrush or infant’s toothbrush to stimulate the gums, even before teeth start growing in, can help children develop better dental habits and greater comfort with regular brushing. As the teeth erupt, this improved comfort will make brushing and caring for teeth much easier on parents.

For parents that started later, all hope is not lost. Specially trained pediatric dentists are able to use verbal, behavioral, and tone techniques to relax children and make them much more comfortable when in the dentist’s chair.

For more information on managing children’s teeth and oral health, or improving children’s comfort at dental appointments, contact our experienced pediatric dentistry team at Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry today!

Can Children and Adolescents Get Gum Disease?

kid’s dental Fort WorthGum disease often occurs in people of all ages for the same reasons … negligent daily dental hygiene, irregular or missed dental appointments, poor diet (too much sugar), and/or illness and associated medications. The optimum care for your kid’s dental health will be rewarded in many ways for both you and your child.

Daily hygiene – Children are not born with the innate ability to care for their own teeth. As an infant a responsible adult must take charge of cleaning their child’s teeth until they are old and responsible enough to do on their own. This means actively brushing and flossing for them until they can handle doing themselves; teaching them how to perform these tasks on their own; monitoring them to make sure they are doing them correctly and daily; providing nutritious, healthy snacks and meals; and making sure the children get to the dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning and dental exam.

Diet – Many people do not make the connection between their kid’s dental health and the foods they eat. Even many snacks believed to be healthy like some yogurts and many sport’s drinks are packed with sugar. Read packaging labels (and teach your children to do so as well), and avoid those products with excessive sugar. Encourage your child to drink water rather than trendy flavored drinks.

Dentist – A pediatric dentist is the ideal choice to care for the dental health of your child. They are skilled and experienced in caring for children of all ages, and are especially helpful when dealing with a child with special needs.

Dental visits – Young children should experience their first visit to the pediatric dentist around the age of twelve months. Caring for baby teeth is important as these teeth are paving the way for the teeth your child will need for their lifetime.

Now that you are doing all the right things to enhance your child’s dental health, educating them what danger signs to watch for to maintain healthy teeth and gums is important … bleeding gums, swollen gum tissue, mouth sores, toothache, discomfort in jaw … these are some of the signs your child may be dealing with the onset of gum disease.

Intervening dental care can halt the progression of gum disease. Healthy teeth and gums will enhance overall health so lifetime care is essential.

To schedule your child’s next exam, contact our friendly team at Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry. Call 817-569-6633 today for more information.

Are Sugar Free Treats Harmful to Children’s Teeth?

kids dental Fort WorthThe use of sugar-free alternatives in place of classic full-sugar treats can provide benefits with regard to reducing sugar intake for children, but should not be considered completely safe to kid’s dental health. When developing sugar-free treats, many of these sweet alternatives are high in citric acid and other acidic substances. Acids wear down tooth enamel and make teeth more vulnerable to dental caries (cavities).  This is especially true of gummy-style treats, which have the added stickiness factor that allows the acidic gummy candy to stick to and between teeth, enhancing the risk.

Pediatric dentists generally support the use of sugar-free chewing gum, often made with Xylitol, as a means of increasing saliva production and aiding the maintenance of oral health. Saliva is essential for weakening acids in the mouth and helping wash away food particles and bacteria. Sugar-free hard candy can be beneficial in moderation to promote saliva production, especially in patients with chronic dry mouth. Likewise, the use of sugar-free sweetener alternatives in beverages can go a long way in reducing unnecessary sugar intake. 

Sugar-free hard candy can be beneficial in moderation to promote saliva production, especially in patients with chronic dry mouth. 

Not all sugar-free treats are created equal, however, and parents must consider the risks and rewards of certain sweetener alternatives over others. Moreover, some products are marketed as sugar-free in that they are made without added sugar, but in fact contain significant quantities of naturally occurring sugars such as those in fruit juice. These sugars are just as damaging to a kid’s dental development and health as table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Breakfast cereals and syrups are available in full-sugar and sugar-free varieties but many are made with corn syrups and high-carbohydrate ingredients and should be eaten in moderation.

Many do not realize that carbohydrates of all types are sugars and an excessive consumption of white breads, pastas, and similar high-carbohydrate foods can adversely affect dental health even if no table sugar is consumed. The best way to allow children to enjoy these foods is to encourage healthy dental hygiene habits early and often. Teach children to floss and brush after consuming sugars and high-carbohydrate foods and beverages, and when brushing isn’t an option, they can at least rinse the mouth with water to reduce damage.

For more information on managing children’s dental health, contact our skilled pediatric dentistry office at 817-569-6633 today!