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Make your child’s first (or tenth) visit to the pediatric dentist a good one with this helpful checklist!

It’s the New Year — a time when many parents and caregivers focus on healthy habits and routines for themselves and their families. Because baby teeth are the blueprint for permanent teeth, caring for them is important. While tooth decay can impact children’s ability to eat and sleep, it can also impact a child’s ability to learn at school and speak clearly. Remember to schedule a visit with Eversmiles Pediatric Dentistry to ensure healthy little teeth and keep this checklist handy for an enjoyable visit and as a refresher for future check-ups.

  • Schedule your first pediatric dental visit to establish a “home base,” for your child’s dental needs by your child’s first birthday. Remember, it’s never too late! If your child has already visited Eversmiles, consider scheduling a visit after the first of the year to kick 2022 off with clean teeth!
  • Answer all your child’s questions positively and be careful about using scary words. Check-ups and 90 percent of first visits do not have anything to do with “hurt,” so don’t even say the word!
  • Read your child a story about a character who had a good dental visit. Try asking your pediatric dentist for suggested reading.
  • Give your child some control over the dental visit. Such choices as “Will you hold your bear or should I?” or “Which color toothbrush do you like?” will make the visit more enjoyable.
  • Give center stage to the pediatric dentist and allow them to do most of the talking to build a better relationship with your child. Remember, you will be able to discuss with the pediatric dentist after the examination.

This post is brought to you by My Children’s Teeth.


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For healthy teeth, choose healthy, whole food snacks, like fruit vegetables, and cheese.  As your child gets older, raw or roasted nuts are also great options for a healthy smile.

If brushing is a struggle for your infant or toddler, four hands can be better than two.  Have one person place the child’s legs around their torso, while the child lies back into the partner’s lap for brushing teeth.   If a partner is unavailable to assist you, we recommend sitting on the floor, with your child’s head in your lap to achieve the best access.

For brushing the teeth of children less than 2 years old, use a rice grain amount of fluoride toothpaste; even though the child will likely swallow the paste, this is a safe and helpful dose of fluoride for your child.  For children over the age of 2, a small pea-sized amount of toothpaste is recommended.

Remember to keep toothpaste out of your child’s reach, and always have an adult dispense toothpaste for children less than eight years old.  

Although your child may seem independent at five years old, it is best to supervise brushing at least before bedtime until your child is 8 years old, to ensure that proper cleaning is taking place.

Introduce flossing as soon as you notice that child’s teeth are touching.  We recommend floss sticks as the simplest means of cleaning between young teeth.  If flossing is a struggle for your child, concentrate on cleaning between the molars in the back of the mouth.

Feel free to click here to print off this coloring page to promote healthy eating and dental habits!


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A few terms you might hear at the dentist:

 

Abscess: A pocket or sack of pus and gas produced by an infection

 

Caries: tooth decay, also known as a cavity

 

Endodontist: a dentist who specializes in root canals and treating disease and infection of tooth pulp

 

Gingiva: also called gums

 

Local anesthesia: numbs a specific part of the body to prevent pain during a procedure

 

Occlusion: the alignment of the teeth of the lower jaw with the corresponding teeth of the upper jaw when closed

 

Malocclusion: a defect in the normal position of the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed

 

Orthodontist: a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and correction of malocclusion

 

Overbite: a type of malocclusion where the upper and lower teeth overlap when they close together

 

Overjet: a type of malocclusion where the upper front teeth angle horizontally outwards; also called horizontal overlap or “buck teeth”

 

Pedodontist: a dentist who specializes in the care and treatment of children’s teeth; also called pediatric dentist

 

General anesthesia: renders patient unconscious so they will not feel or remember a procedure

 

Primary teeth: a child’s temporary or “baby” teeth, which include four incisors, two canines, and four molars in each jaw

 

Permanent teeth: replacing a child’s primary teeth, this second set of teeth—32 in all—includes two canines and 10 premolars and molars in each jaw

 


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7 Easy Tips for Keeping your Baby Cavity-Free

Oral bacteria is passed from caregiver to infant. For this reason, avoid sharing food (pre-chewing), oral items, or rinsing dropped pacifiers in your own mouth, especially if you have dental restorations or a history of decay. Advise other caregivers that your child may encounter to do the same.

Keep your mouth healthy – chronic inflammation is linked to other systemic health risk factors, which can affect fetal health.

Chew sugar free gum, ideally xylitol based (e.g. Ice Breakers Ice Cubes, Spry)

Make it a goal to wean off night feedings prior to the eruption of your baby’s first tooth, should your child’s health permit it.

As your child grows, should you choose to offer juice, time the juice to coincide with a meal. Avoid offering juice if possible, especially between meals, and reserve it as a treat for special occasions.

Use infant bottles for water, breast milk or formula only. When traveling, we recommend bringing water, breast milk, or formula, as needed for your child’s age.

Fluoride toothpaste is recommended for all children, even those who cannot spit. Use a small amount (about the size of a grain of rice), smushed onto the toothbrush, and store toothpaste out of reach of children. Start off slowly, with nighttime brushing, and gradually build daily brushing into your child’s routine.

If your child has special dietary requirements (e.g. Pediasure, nasogastric tube) or medications (e.g. albuterol, vyvanse), we can help you manage oral health and talk about how best to deliver supplemental nutrition and medication to prevent decay.

Our goal is to instill healthy habits early on, to help every child remain cavity-free for life. Ultimately, if your child has decay, do not feel guilty. We are here to work with you as a member of your child’s healthcare team. Together, we can give your child a fresh start, and manage his or her disease going forward.


Eversmiles Pediatric Dentistry

Our mission is to give your child happy, healthy smiles that last a lifetime. We work in partnership with our patients, their families and the health care community to provide the best treatment, while creating positive dental experiences that will set the stage for long-term oral health.

 

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