As your child grows and they start to get more and more teeth, it’s time to start thinking about flossing. Parents often wonder when is the appropriate time to start flossing their children’s teeth and Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry has the answer for you, as well as tips on how to floss their tiny teeth.
When to start flossing baby teeth
You should break out the dental floss for your baby once they have teeth that touch. Touching adjacent teeth can start to collect bacteria and plaque.
If you start flossing your baby’s teeth as soon as they have two that are touching, you can help prevent them from developing gum disease, cavities, and other future dental issues. Flossing cleans the surfaces of teeth that a toothbrush cannot clean thoroughly.
Tips for flossing baby teeth
We know the thought of getting your toddler to sit still long enough to floss their teeth sounds impossible, but it’s really important that you take the time to keep their mouth healthy.
When you first start flossing your baby’s teeth, Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry recommends an adult helps with flossing, rather than the child doing it themselves. This will help prevent any trauma to the gums, as well as help your child learn how to floss.
It’s best to start simple and slow. Select an area of your child’s teeth that is easy to see and access. Only floss a few teeth to begin with, and then steadily add another tooth each night. This helps both you and your child build a patience for the flossing routine.
“Pee-ew!” Have you noticed that your child’s breath stinks? Like, really stinks – even after brushing? It’s common for children to have bad breath, known medically as halitosis. If your child has halitosis, there could be a number of different causes.
Causes of Bad Breath in Children
If your child is still suffering from bad breath after brushing, there is more than likely an underlying condition that is causing it. According to the experts at Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry, these possible causes include:
When your kids are active and don’t drink an adequate amount of water, they could develop bad breath. Without enough water, the mouth doesn’t produce saliva. With no saliva, there’s nothing to wash away odor-causing bacteria. To prevent this, ensure your child is staying properly hydrated while they are out and about or playing. Another solution to dry mouth is a sugar-free gum, which will also help produce saliva.
When your child has a sinus infection, fluid collects in the nasal passages and throat, leaving bacteria to grow. This bacteria is what can lead to smelly breath. If your child has a sore throat or nasal congestion in conjunction with their bad breath, consider making an appointment with your child’s pediatrician to receive antibiotics.
Inflamed tonsils can be the cause of your child’s stinky breath. When tonsils are infected, they become red, swollen, and have white spots. Infected tonsils will also have an odor that can seem like bad breath. Have your child open wide and take a look down their throat with a flashlight to check their tonsils. Healthy tonsils will be pink and spot-free. If you suspect tonsillitis is the cause, call your child’s doctor immediately.
The main cause of bad breath in children include poor oral and dental hygiene, as well as tooth decay. If your child is developing a cavity, the bacteria will cause bad breath. Remember, brush twice a day, floss in between teeth to remove food particles, and use mouthwash.
Now that your toddler is running around and getting into things, it may seem hard to keep up – especially with their dental care. Though it may sound difficult to maintain your child’s healthy smile, Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry has dental tips to help!
The Earlier the Better
One of the keys to establishing healthy dental care habits for your toddler is to implement them early in life. Children should get on a regular routine of taking care of their smile beginning at the age of one. If you institute these practices early, it will be easier as they get older.
Fun Routine Hygiene
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children ages one to four should be brushing their teeth twice a day with adult assistance. If it’s hard to get your toddler to stop moving long enough to brush their teeth, try to make it fun! Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry recommends singing or playing a game while brushing. You could also instill a rewards system for good behavior while brushing.
As your toddler’s appetite grows and their palate expands, it’s important to choose foods that are beneficial for a healthy smile. Avoid foods and drinks that are high in sugar and acid, like candies, desserts, sodas, and fruit juices. Replace these with cheeses, nuts, fruits, vegetables, water, and milk.
Visit the Dentist
One of the most important dental tips we can offer is to schedule regular appointments with your local pediatric dentist in Charlotte. Routine exams will help prevent tooth decay that could cause more problems for your toddler in the future.
A lot of parents give their kids snacks throughout the day. Sometimes they just need a little something to hold them over until the next meal. When buying and preparing snacks for your children, it’s important to remember that what they eat affects their dental health.
6 Best Snacks to Prevent Cavities
Children don’t often brush their teeth after snacks at school or home, so foods and drinks they’re having should be friendly to the health of their teeth. To help parents, Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry is giving you six healthy smile snack ideas:
It is low in sugar and high in calcium, crucial for maintaining bone density. Cheese contains a protein called casein, that helps protect tooth enamel.
Different types of nuts offer several elements beneficial to strengthening teeth. For example, walnuts contain fiber, folic acid, magnesium, iron, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium and zinc.
Eggs are surprisingly good for teeth as they contain vitamins D and K, and phosphorus. Phosphorus supports calcium in building strong teeth.
Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, offers tons of vitamin C and K. These vitamins are important for bone health and proper blood clotting. These veggies also serve as natural teeth cleaners!
Just like cheese, yogurt is high in calcium – great for tooth development. Yogurt also contains probiotics that act against cavity-producing bacteria. Make sure to choose a yogurt for your child that is not packed with sugar and additives, as these can be damaging to teeth,
Full of fiber, apples are beneficial to the body’s overall health. Apples also induce the production of saliva, which washes bacteria and prevents tooth decay.
Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry Reminders
Remember to give your child age appropriate foods. Foods should be cut up carefully for younger children to avoid choking hazards.
Children should drink water when thirsty and to rinse after meals and snacks. Water will help remove food particles from teeth and gums to prevent plaque and tooth decay.
In the world of pediatric dentistry, there are a lot of terms used that may be confusing if you’re unfamiliar. To help parents who are bringing their children to their local pediatric dentist in Charlotte, we’re listing important dental terms and their definitions! Bookmark this page so you can easily refer back to these terms when needed.
The ABC’s of Pediatric Dentistry
Abscess: Infection in the tooth most commonly caused by severe tooth decay or trauma.
Calculus: Hardened plaque that can form on neglected or prone teeth, commonly known as tartar.
Cavities (Caries): A hole in the tooth caused by decay.
Cephalometric X-ray: An X-ray of your head that shows the relative positions and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth.
Coil Spring: A spring that fits between your brackets and over your archwire to open space between teeth.
Consultation: A meeting with your pediatric dentist to discuss a treatment plan.
Digital radiograph (X-ray): An image produced by projecting radiation, as x-rays, on computers.
Bitewing radiograph: shows the crowns of the upper and lower teeth in one picture
Periapical (PA) radiograph: shows the crown and root structures of teeth in an area
Panoramic radiograph: shows entire upper and lower jaws, including teeth, bone and TMJ
Enamel: The hard outer surface of the tooth.
Explorer: A tool used to check teeth for cavities.
Extraction: Removal of a tooth.
Filling: Material similar to tooth structure (like composite resin) used to fill a tooth after cavity is removed.
Fluoride: A chemical solution used to harden teeth and prevent decay.
Gingiva: Gum tissue
Gingivitis: Swollen or inflamed gums caused by plaque around the teeth.
Impressions: A model of your mouth made by biting into a soft material that hardens into a mold of your teeth. Your pediatric dentist may use these impressions to prepare a treatment plan.
Invisalign ®: An alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear custom-molded aligners. Invisalign can correct some, but not all, orthodontic problems.
LocalAnesthetic: Elimination of sensation in one part of the body by applying a drug.
Mouthguard: A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.
MouthProp: Dental instrument used to keep mouths open and steady during dental procedures.
NitrousOxide: Sedative agent that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over the nose to produce calming effect.
Occlusion: The way in which the teeth come together when the mouth closes.
PalatalExpander: A device that makes your upper jaw wider.
PanoramicX-Ray: An X-ray that rotates around your head to take pictures of your teeth, jaw, and other facial areas.
Plaque: A sticky buildup of acids and bacteria that causes tooth decay.
PrimaryTeeth: Baby teeth; also called deciduous teeth.
Pulp: The nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue inside a tooth.
PulpCap: A medicated covering over a small area of exposed pulp tissue.
Pulpectomy: Complete removal of the pulp (commonly done in children’s teeth).
Pulpitis: Inflammation of the pulp, which is common cause of toothache.
Pulpotomy: Partial removal of the pulp tissue.
Radiographs: An imaging technique using X-rays to see how teeth and the jawbone are developing.
RubberDam: A square piece of vinyl or rubber used to isolate the teeth during a filling or other treatment.
RubberDamClamp: A ring or button that hugs the back-most tooth in an area isolated with a rubber dam.
Scaling: Removal of plaque, calculus, and stain from teeth.
Sealants: Clear or white layer of material that can be applied to the grooves or pits of molars that can prevent cavities by keeping out food and bacteria.
StainlessSteelCrowns: An artificial tooth cover made of stainless steel.
When keeping your children healthy, it’s important to remember their dental health, too. Children are susceptible to cavities just like adults and should be caring for their teeth regularly to prevent tooth decay.
What is a cavity?
When a cavity, or hole, develops in a tooth, this is the result of tooth decay. The process of tooth decay starts with an infection of bacteria in a child’s mouth. Bacteria feed on sugar and produce acid that in time, will dissolve minerals on the outermost layer of the tooth, known as enamel. Eventually, the inner layer, dentin, of the tooth becomes affected.
It’s not uncommon for adults to be nervous about going to the dentist – and it’s even more common for kids to be nervous. If your child has an upcoming appointment, Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry recommends reading these books to your child to make them feel more comfortable.
Part of the Little Critter series, this book tells the story of Little Critter going to the dentist, getting x-rays, and even having to get a cavity filled. This book covers a lot of what could happen at your child’s visit to the pediatric dentist.
After the ever-mischevious George bites into a wax apple and causes one of his teeth to become loose, he’s taken to the dentist and learns that it doesn’t have to be scary. This short story shows kids that the dentist can be fun!
As your children grow, so do their teeth. From teething babies to teenagers with braces, their teeth grow through a lot. Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry explains the process of tooth development in babies through permanent teeth.
Typically babies begin teeth at four to six months old. Teething is genetic and often depends on when the parents teethed as babies. Babies tend to cut their lower front teeth first. Signs of teething include excessive drooling, a mouth rash from drooling, a low-grade fever, chewing on hands and other objects, and fussiness.
Losing Baby Teeth
By age three, children have all of their teeth. Children then start losing their teeth around age six. According to Mayo Clinic, children’s teeth typically fall out in the order they came in. The lower front teeth first and eventually their molars.
While it is possible for children to lose their teeth before the adult tooth underneath starts to erupt, teeth typically start to loosen because of the adult teeth erupting below. As children lose their baby teeth, their adult teeth grow in but do not cause as much pain and discomfort as when they first cut teeth as a baby.
Fluoride is crucial to the development of teeth in infants and the prevention of tooth decay in children and adults. In fact, fluoride has been shown to reduce tooth decay by over 50 percent. Fluoride can be delivered systematically through community water fluoridation, as well as applied topically in toothpastes and mouthwashes. Pediatric dentists can prescribe fluoride supplements for children who do not have access to enough fluoride in their environment.
Caring for Your Child’s Developing Teeth
As your child’s teeth grow and develop, keep these pillars of dental hygiene in mind:
Begin flossing when your child has two teeth next to each other.
Brush for two minutes twice daily.
Use a fluoridated toothpaste.
Make regular appointments with your Charlotte pediatric dentist.
There are plenty of things to worry about as a parent, and your children’s teeth shouldn’t be one of them. As your children develop teeth, it’s important to start thinking about how to help care for them. In addition to brushing and flossing regularly, parents should make sure that children are using fluoride to prevent tooth decay.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral found in natural water sources. It is the ionic form of the trace element fluorine, commonly found in the environment, leaching from soil and rocks into groundwater.
Why is fluoride important for dental health?
When delivered systemically and used topically, fluoride is a safe and effective agent that can be used to prevent tooth decay and dental cavities. Topical fluoride strengthens teeth already in your mouth, while systemic fluorides are ingested and become incorporated into forming teeth. This is why fluoride protection is important for kids of all ages.
In most communities, fluoride is added to the water. According to the ADA, an optimal level of fluoride in community water is safe and effective in preventing tooth decay by at least 25 percent in both children and adults.
For topical uses, fluoride is also added to toothpastes and mouthwashes. Parents can purchase flavored, fluoridated toothpastes for children to enjoy brushing more.
If your community does not have fluoride in the water or your children drink strictly bottled water, they could be at a high risk of tooth decay. To prevent this, fluoride supplements can be prescribed for children ages 6 months to 16 years.
As soon as your children start teething, it’s time to start thinking about their dental hygiene and the prevention of tooth decay. When a cavity, or hole, develops in a tooth, this is the result of tooth decay. The process of tooth decay starts with an infection of acid-producing bacteria in a child’s mouth. Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry has tips on how to help parents prevent the tooth decay process in their children!
4 ways to stop cavities in their tracks
At two years old, most children have a mouth full of teeth. It is imperative that as a parent, you make sure you’re taking steps to prevent tooth decay.
Your child’s teeth should be brushed for two minutes, two times a day. Teach your child good brushing habits by letting them brush their own teeth, but until they are seven or eight years old, you should help your child brush.
Use fluoridated water and toothpaste
Fluoride, a natural mineral, is added to water and toothpastes to help prevent tooth decay. Check to see if your tap water is fluoridated and make sure that your child is drinking it regularly. You can find fluoridated toothpaste at your local supermarket, most often flavored for your child’s enjoyment.
Don’t share utensils or cups
Did you know that bacteria can be passed through saliva? Parents may not think about it, but children’s cavities can start by the sharing of spoons or cups when feeding. This also applies to cleaning off a pacifier in your mouth before giving it to your child.
Don’t skip on dentist visits
Most importantly, schedule regular appointments with your child’s pediatric dentist in Charlotte. Twice a year, take your child for dental examinations to check for decay and remove dental plaque.