Q: When should I take my child to the dentist for their first check-up?
A: Your child should have their first visit once their first primary tooth erupts or no later than their first birthday.
Q: What is a pediatric dentist?
A: A pediatric dentist has two to three years of additional training after graduation from dental school. Practice is limited to infants, children, adolescents, and children with special needs.
Q: Why are primary teeth important?
A: Primary or “baby” teeth are important for proper chewing and eating, providing space for the permanent teeth and guiding them into the correct position, and permitting normal development of jaw bones and muscles.
Q: How should I care for my child’s teeth?
A: Begin daily brushing with a small soft-bristled toothbrush. A toothbrush will remove plaque and bacteria that can lead to decay. A ‘smear’ of toothpaste containing fluoride should be used for children less than 2 years old. A ‘pea-sized’ amount of toothpaste is appropriate for children 2 through 5 years. A balanced diet combined with good oral hygiene will give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.
Q: What are good snacks for my child?
A: Healthy eating habits lead to healthy teeth. Bacteria are particularly fond of foods containing sugars and carbohydrates. These foods provide bacteria with energy which allows them to stick to teeth and produce enamel-eating acid. Like the rest of the body, the teeth, bones, and the soft tissues of the mouth need a well-balanced diet. Children should eat a variety of foods from the five major food groups.
Most snacks that children eat can lead to cavity formation. The more frequently a child snacks, the greater chance of tooth decay. If your child must snack, choose nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, yogurt, and cheese. Milk and juice are appropriate for consumption at meal times, however, water that contains fluoride should be consumed between meals.
Q: How do sealants work?
A: A sealant is a clear or white plastic coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces (grooves) of permanent back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier to food, bacteria, plaque and acid, thus protecting these areas of the teeth to cavities.
Q: How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?
A: A check-up every six months is recommended in order to prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, if your child is at high risk for developing cavities, a three month check-up may be recommended