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Otherwise known as primary teeth, baby teeth are the first teeth that will grow in for any child, and they play several important roles. While they will eventually fall out during child development, they’re vital for children who will generally grow a full set of 20 teeth by age three.

At Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry, we’re proud to provide various dental services for infants and very young children and their baby teeth, including several prevention areas that help limit future risks during this important period. Here’s some basic information on the role baby teeth play in your child’s mouth, some basics on starting an early cavity and tooth decay prevention program, and what to do about a couple common behaviors related to primary teeth.

Basics and Function of Baby Teeth

Baby teeth will generally begin to grow into your child’s mouth around six months of age. They hold a few important purposes for all children:

  • Basic chewing and food consumption
  • Helping form early speech patterns
  • Helping form and hold the shape of the face, including preparing the mouth and jaw for adult teeth to eventually grow in

As we noted above, healthy young mouths should generally have a full set of 20 primary teeth by roughly age three.  These teeth may not always be perfectly spaced or shaped. They will fall out gradually over a period of years, and adult teeth will begin to grow in and replace the primary teeth around the age of six.

Early Cavity and Decay Prevention

Some basic cleaning tips for baby teeth that will prevent the risk of bacteria or other dangers that lead to cavities and tooth decay:

  • Before your baby even has visible teeth, you can begin the process of cleaning their gums, often after feeding. Use a damp gauze pad or cloth to gently wipe the area and soothe their gums.
  • Once teeth begin appearing, they should be brushed twice a day using a child toothbrush (these come with soft bristles that don’t irritate their gums). Use fluoride toothpaste in small quantities.
  • As soon as baby teeth grow in next to each other and are touching, begin flossing them daily.
Thumb Sucking

Some children may suck on their thumbs, which can be a natural habit but not one that should be encouraged.  It’s a habit that could possibly lead to problems with tooth alignment, bite and development during growth.  Gently discourage this when you can. If your child has not stopped sucking their thumb on their own by age four, here are some additional tips to assist them:

  • Focus on ways to redirect the feelings that lead to thumb sucking into other areas that help detract from it and make the child feel at ease.
  • Be positive and offer praise or reward for not sucking.
  • Sometimes it can be helpful to have your child’s dentist and/or doctor explain to the child why thumb sucking can be bad and help them stop.
Teething

Another common issue is teething, where infants and toddlers experience gum soreness, as new teeth get ready to break through.  To help relieve soreness you can give your child teething toys, a cold washcloth to chew on and ibuprofen if they are over six months of age to help with the discomfort.  If you have any questions or concerns about a particular product you should talk with your child’s pediatric dentist.

For more on baby teeth and their care, or to learn about any of our pediatric dental services, speak to the staff at Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry today.

The post Understanding and Caring for Baby Teeth appeared first on Salt Lake Pediatric Dentist.

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In part one of this two-part blog, we went over some of the basic reasons why the first dental visit for a young child is so important. Not only are you performing vital tasks in terms of checkups on their baby teeth and limiting the risk of decay, you’re also creating a healthy foundation for good oral health for you, your child, & your pediatric dentist moving forward.

At Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry, we’re proud to offer information & resources on first dental visits and much more as part of our child dental services. Part 2 of our “first dental visit” blog post will focus on the benefits of these visits.   We’ll also talk about some things you should be prepared for as a parent – both in terms of incentivizing your child for the appointment itself and some of the early dental care areas you’ll learn about and be responsible for in the beginning stages of the oral care of your child.

First Visit Tips

Young children may be nervous or struggle with new experiences like their first dental visit.  There are some things that parents can do to make this easier for everyone.  These tips are helpful for making the most of the initial visit.  They can also be good for setting ongoing expectations that a visit to the dentist means a low stress positive experience for everyone moving forward.

A few general themes we recommend here:

  • Scheduling: Wherever possible, schedule during your child’s most docile and cooperative periods. Most children tend to be more calm in the morning, soon after waking up, so this can be a good time to schedule your first appointment. Avoid scheduling during nap time or during periods where kids are typically active or cranky.
  • Bribes: Some parents use bribes to convince their kids to go to the dentist, however we highly recommend against this. The same goes for using the dentist as a punishment. Both of these set bad examples and portray going to the dentist in a negative light.
  • Positivity: It is best to be positive about the entire dental experience, including teaching & encouraging your child to put into practice some of the things they’ve learned about good oral care.
Preventing Tooth Decay and Cavity Risks Early

A big theme during your first dental visit will be establishing an oral care routine that prevents tooth decay and cavity risks in your child. Here are some general tips or suggestions:

  • Breastfeeding: Breast milk contains sugar, so be sure to wipe baby gums and teeth after breastfeeding to limit bacteria buildup. As soon as there are visible teeth to brush, begin brushing these after each feeding.
  • Bottles and snacking: We recommend avoiding fruit juice and sugary drinks until at least age 1, and then limiting their consumption ongoing. The last thing your child drinks before bed should be water. Avoid giving too many sugary snacks.
  • Pacifiers: It is good practice to never put a pacifier or feeding spoon in your own mouth before you give it to your child, as this can pass on sugar, germs, or bacteria that could lead to tooth decay or sickness.

For more on first dental visits for your child, or to learn about any of our pediatric dental services, speak to one of the doctors at Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry today.

The post First Dental Visit, Part 2 – Tips and Future Care appeared first on Salt Lake Pediatric Dentist.

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When it comes to a lifetime of oral health, the early stages are very important. Early child dental care is an absolute must if you want your kids to have healthy teeth and gums throughout their lives, and it starts with the initial visit to a pediatric dentist.

At Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry, we’re here to help with this. We have numerous resources available for your child’s first visit to our office; from the timing to the things you should be thinking about before and after. In part one of this two-part blog, we’ll go over some of the timing details surrounding your child’s first visit to the dentist.

Baby Teeth and Development

The American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry both recommend that your first dental visit for your child occurs either at the appearance of their first tooth or at their first birthday – whichever comes first. This is known as a “well-baby checkup,” and it’s important for a few reasons.

For one, it helps promote strong tooth development. Baby teeth generally begin to appear when the child is about six months old, with central teeth emerging into view by eight to twelve months in most cases. Molars generally won’t begin coming in until a year or even two years in, but it’s very important to begin your dental relationship with a pediatric dentist at the first sign of teeth.

Decay Risks

One of the primary reasons the above is true is due to the risk of decay in baby teeth, which become susceptible to decay as soon as they appear in the mouth. Babies drink a significant amount of sugar through breast milk, formula, and various juices.  The acids & sugar in these liquids can attack the teeth and contribute to tooth decay.  In addition to brushing & flossing, your child’s dentist can give you tips and advice on how to avoid this (we’ll also go over some of these in part two of this blog).

Habits and Products

The first visit to your child’s dentist isn’t just for them – it’s also beneficial for you as a parent. Your dentist can show you basic tips on cleaning your child’s teeth, feeding them, various oral habits, and even the right kinds of products to purchase for your child. They can ensure appropriate care is being met, as well as answer any questions you may have about your child’s oral health.

Creating a Foundation

In general, making an early visit to a pediatric dentist with your child sets a foundation for good oral health for the future. Your child will become more comfortable with the doctor and the office, which can make regularly, scheduled visits easier.  Your dentist will also become more familiar with your child and their oral health needs.

In part two of this blog, we’ll discuss some specific tips for your child’s first visit and a few other early oral care tips. To learn more about this or any of our child dental services, speak to one of the doctors at Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry today.

The post First Dental Visit, Part 1 – Why It’s Important appeared first on Salt Lake Pediatric Dentist.

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As a parent of a young child, you have several responsibilities in a variety of areas. One of these is the oral care of your child.  With infants, toddlers, & young children you will be in charge of the important task of brushing and flossing their teeth.

At Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry, our children’s dental services include a full range of preventive services, including helping parents with these important care areas at home. Let’s go over some basic tips we can offer on brushing and flossing your child’s teeth.

Brushing Tips

As soon as your child begins to show visible teeth developing, you should begin brushing them twice per day using a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. Some basic tips for the very early stages here, during which you’ll be fully responsible for brushing:

  • Always set the toothbrush against the gum line, or the area where the tooth meets the gums.
  • Place the brush at a 45-degree angle, allowing you to reach both the gums and the surface of the tooth while brushing.
  • Move in gentle, light circles on the outer surface of each tooth, then on the inside surfaces and chewing levels.
  • Use only a grain of rice sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste once a day until your child can spit.  This amount of fluoride is safe to swallow and is less than a fluoride supplement.

Over time, as your child becomes more capable in several areas, you can begin teaching them to brush their own teeth. Stand behind them in the bathroom to start with, helping show them how to hold the brush, move their arm and even perform tasks like spitting and cleaning the brush off. If possible, turn this into a fun learning experience for your child that comes with minor rewards, such as picking their own toothbrush if they do well with their brushing. By age 10 or so, most children should be fully capable of brushing on their own.

Flossing Tips

Flossing starts a bit later than brushing – it should begin as soon as your child has two teeth directly next to each other, creating a small crevice where food or other items can stick. Once this happens, flossing should be done daily, using the following basic steps:

  • Break off the proper amount of floss and wind the majority around your index or middle finger, whichever you choose. Hold it firmly between this finger and your thumb.
  • Using a plastic flosser is another great option that is often easier for the child and for parents trying to floss the child’s teeth.
  • Floss the areas between connected teeth gently, using a rubbing motion. Never snap or press the floss into their gums. When you hit the gum line, curve the floss so it stays near the tooth. Use up-and-down motions to remove debris from each gap area.
  • Repeat for all areas & gaps between teeth.

As is the case with brushing, your child will eventually be able to floss their teeth by themselves.  Many parents find a flossing aid is beneficial during these early years, when children might not quite have the dexterity in their fingers to adequately floss on their own. After a transition period where you show them what to do and help them along, kids can floss their own teeth.

For more tips on helping young children with brushing and flossing, or to learn about any of our pediatric dental services, speak to the staff at Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry today.

The post Brushing and Flossing Tips for Parents of Younger Children appeared first on Salt Lake Pediatric Dentist.

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When it comes to a lifetime of oral health, the early stages are absolutely vital. Early child dental care is an absolute must if you want your kids to have healthy teeth and gums throughout their lives, and this starts with the initial visit to a children’s dentist.

At Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry, we’re here to help in this area. We have numerous resources available for your child’s first visit to our office, from the timing to the things you should be thinking about both before and after. In part one of this two-part blog, we’ll go over some of the timing details surrounding your first visit to the dentist with your child.

Baby Teeth and Development

The American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry both recommend that your first dental visit for your child occurs either at the appearance of their first tooth or at their first birthday – whichever comes first. This is known as a “well-baby checkup,” and it’s important for a few reasons.

For one, it helps promote strong tooth development. Baby teeth generally begin to appear in children by six months old, with central teeth erupting into view by eight to 12 months in most cases. Many molars won’t begin showing up until a year or even two years in, but it’s very important to begin your dental relationship with a child dentist at the first sign of teeth.

Decay Risks

One of the primary reasons the above is true is due to the risk of decay in child teeth, which begins immediately as soon as they appear in the mouth. Babies drink a huge amount of sugar through breast milk, formula and various juices, and the acids in these can attack the teeth and begin the decaying process. Your dentist, however, can give you tips and advice on how to avoid this (we’ll also go over some of these in part two of this blog).

Habits and Products

The first visit to your child’s dentist isn’t just for them – it’s also for you as a parent. Your dentist can show you basic tips on cleaning your child’s teeth, feeding them, various oral habits, and even the right kinds of products to purchase for your child. They can ensure fluoride needs are being met, plus perhaps most importantly can answer any and all of your individual questions about your child’s mouth care.

Creating a Foundation

In a general sense, making an early visit to the dentist with your child sets a foundation for the future. Your child gets comfortable in their office as early as possible, including learning to recognize the familiar face of your dentist. On the flip side, your dentist gets to know you, your family and your general needs.

In part two of this blog, we’ll discuss some specific tips for your first visit and a few other early oral care areas. To learn more about this or any of our child dental services, speak to the pros at Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry today.

The post First Dental Visit, Part 1 – Why It’s Important appeared first on Salt Lake Pediatric Dentist.

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At Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry, one of our points of pride as a family dentist is our various preventive dentistry services. We’re here to address major oral issues with the utmost care and expertise, of course, but many of our primary services involve taking the right early steps to ensure these major issues never crop up to begin with.

One form of preventive dentistry that may be right for your child is known as a dental sealant. What is a dental sealant, what are they used for and when might they be a good choice for someone in your family? Here’s a look.

Dental Sealant Basics

Dental sealants are basic dental tools that allow us to seal off the various gaps and pits found between the teeth, most commonly the molars at the back of the mouth. They can fully block some of these gaps from being open, which in turn stops food particles and other promoters of bacteria from entering these areas – which are tougher for toothbrushes and even floss to reach in many cases. Because cavities and other issues of tooth decay are primarily caused by this bacteria lingering in the mouth, dental sealants are a major tool available for preventing these kinds of issues.

In nearly all cases, dental sealants will be made using a liquid resin. This resin is cured by either light or chemical exposure, designed to stick to the applied area.

Who They’re For

In the vast majority of cases, dental sealants are used for children who are beginning to see molars growing in the backs of their mouths. This tends to take place between ages six and 12 in most children, and they may struggle with significant food particles and other issues in between these newly erupting teeth.

It is possible for adults to get dental sealants as well, but this is far less common. This will only be done for people who are at an exceedingly high cavity risk.

Length of Use

Depending on the needs of the child receiving them, dental sealants can last up to 10 years in some cases. They can be replaced if needed, though they tend to hold up well to stress. In most cases, this 10-year barrier is not approached and kids only need to keep sealants in their mouths for a few years.

Sealant Application Process

If your child is worried about receiving dental sealants, you can calm their nerves easily. Applying them is simple and easy, with no pain whatsoever and no drilling or sharp tools. The dentist will simply clean the tooth and then apply a bonding agent, then apply the sealant and allow it to cure either through light or a chemical rinse. Once the sealant is cured properly, the dentist will simply remove and lasting residue and the child will be all set, with no downtime or pain.

For more on dental sealants, or to learn about any of our dental services, speak to the staff at Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry today.

The post Are Dental Sealants Right for My Child? appeared first on Salt Lake Pediatric Dentist.

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At Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry, we’re here to offer more than just child dental services. These are the foundation of our business, of course, but we’re not just here to provide a quick cleaning and get you out the door – we want to take an active role in your child’s oral care, including proactive expertise to help you with various home issues that may crop up within the dental world.

One such area? Various dental emergencies or issues that might require immediate attention. Some of these areas could eventually mean a visit to our dental offices, though others can be handled on your own if you have the proper know-how. Let’s look at a few dental incidents that might take place for children in the home, plus how to handle them.

Tooth Knocked Out

If your child has a tooth knocked out, your response will vary depending on what kind of tooth it is:

  • Baby tooth: No action necessary unless the tooth was knocked out in a way that caused bleeding or other issues – baby teeth should not be replaced, as this may damage the permanent tooth that’s already begun to grow in.

  • Permanent tooth: If a permanent tooth is knocked out, do your best to find it and soak it in water. Never handle it by the root – only by the crown. Also never use soap on the tooth, rather just plain water. After rinsing, store the tooth in a plastic bag or cup along with milk or your child’s saliva. Do not use water in this storage container. From here, make an appointment with our pediatric dentist to have the tooth re-inserted.

Chip or Fracture

Like above, if a baby tooth is chipped or fractured, this is usually not a large concern unless it creates bite or eating issues. If a permanent tooth is damaged in this way, though, you should act as quickly as you can. Rinse out your child’s mouth to prevent infection risk, and keep any part of the fractured tooth that you can in a bag or a glass of milk. Bring the fractured piece and your child in for an appointment as soon as you can.

Oral Cuts

If your child is cut anywhere in the mouth, first rinse it out with cool water. Apply gauze or simple cloth to any bleeding areas. If bleeding is so significant that it cannot be stopped this way, go to your doctor or the emergency room.

Toothache

In most cases, toothache can be handled without a dentist visit. Clean the affected area and rinse it with warm water, plus floss near it to make sure there’s no debris causing the pain. You can also use salt water or various other painkilling methods. If pain lasts for more than a day or gets more severe with time, visit our office.

Head Trauma

It’s important to make one note regarding any head trauma a child receives during any oral damage: If there’s head injury of any kind, it’s important your child seeks standard medical attention along with dental attention. Call 911 or take them to the nearest emergency room to have them checked for a concussion or any other head injury if this is even a minor possibility.

For more on handling dental incidents in the home, or to learn about any of our dental services, speak to the staff at Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry today.

The post Preparing for Home Dental Incidents appeared first on Salt Lake Pediatric Dentist.

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Perhaps the single most common dental issue for young children is a simple one: An unwillingness to brush regularly. Brushing the teeth can feel like a chore for children of all ages, particularly the youngest ones who struggle with attention span and focus.

At Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry, we’re here to help. Our pediatric dental services include helping parents find strategies for reluctant brushers and flossers, plus other basic tooth care areas. Let’s go over three strategies we often recommend that can help unwilling brushers get into the habit more regularly.

Electric Toothbrush

In some cases, a big part of your child’s anxiety toward brushing their teeth might relate to their inability to fully brush properly. Very young children often struggle with traditional toothbrushes, finding they don’t quite have the dexterity to reach all their teeth – the electric toothbrush requires less motion to operate properly, helping solve this issue.

That’s not the only benefit of an electric toothbrush, either. They also come with timed brushing segments that make absolutely sure your child brushes for two minutes at a time every single time, a huge asset for parents who struggle to keep kids focused for the entire 120 seconds.

Holding Focus

As we’ve noted, focus and distractions can be a big issue for many children when it comes to brushing. Many children simply don’t have the attention span to do a single task for two minutes straight, much less a task they don’t enjoy.

If this is the case for your child, consider ways to help hold their focus. One great outlet here might be educational videos on tooth brushing – these are designed to engage children and hold their interest while also teaching them about why brushing the teeth is important and how to do it. These videos are available for a variety of ages and in several different styles. Ask our dentist about which might be right for your child here.

Brushing Together

Parents are the example that young children always strive toward. If you wear your hat a certain way, you can bet they’re going to emulate you and try to copy that style. This same theme extends to numerous other areas, and can also be used to your benefit with stubborn brushers.

Simply turning brushing into a group activity is a great way to incentivize your kids. If they see you brushing regularly, they’re going to want to do the same thing. This also allows you time to give them tips on their brushing and help them if needed, plus ensures you can keep them accountable for brushing the entire two minutes every time.

For more on encouraging stubborn children to brush their teeth, or to learn about any of our pediatric dentist services, speak to the staff at Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry today.

The post Tips for Stubborn Tooth Brushers appeared first on Salt Lake Pediatric Dentist.

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