Children's Dental Health | Camarillo Smiles | Dentist Camarillo CA

Our Children's Blog offers practical information regarding the dental care and oral hygiene for your children. For more information call (805) 388-5700. Your Dentist Camarillo CA.

When Should a Child See a Dentist for the First Time

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The recommendation for when a child's first dental visit should occur vary considerably. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that all children be seen within six months of the eruption of the first tooth or no later than one year of age. The American Academy of General Dentistry recommends between 18 and 24 months of age, unless there is an apparent problem. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a child be seen by age three, or sooner if there is a need. At Camarillo Smiles, we tend to go along with the American Academy of Pediatrics and recommend that a child be seen by age three, or sooner if there is a need.

There is a reason for a visit earlier. Although there may not be many teeth to examine at one year of age, the first visit is designed to provide parents with valuable information regarding care and prevention of their infant's teeth through education and counseling. Infants can be infected with the bacteria that cause tooth decay very early in their life. We would love to talk about your infant's dental care at your regular appointment with us.

Things we need to talk about:

  • A review of your infant's diet and nutrition
  • The need for fluoride supplementation considering dietary and other sources of fluoride
  • Instructions for cleaning the teeth and gums
  • Discussion regarding pacifier, finger, or other oral habits
  • Injury prevention and trauma
  • Oral development and normal eruption patterns
  • Risk factors for decay

Ideally, we would like you to make the first visit appointment as early in the day as possible. Toddlers are usually more rested in the morning. If you have any dental fears yourself, try not to communicate them to your child. Most kid's have a real good time with us. Your interpretations and expectations are different from your child's. Let them have their own experience. Even saying something like, "we have to go to the dentist today" instead of "we get to go to the dentist" can have a negative affect on your child. Practice with your child's head on your lap. Depending on the age, explain how he or she should open wide, talk about the little mirror, the tooth counter, and Mr. Clean, who will make the teeth shine. Avoid words such as hurt, drill, or shot. Do not expect too much from your child. We will manage the behavior with age-appropriate expectations. A favorite toy or blanket can be taken with the child to hold. The book, Going to the Dentist, by Fred Rogers, is a great way to introduce the first visit. And there are many other books out there that are wonderful and are often available at our own Camarillo Library.

The child's temperament will determine how the appointment goes. We call these "Happy Visits" because we are bound and determined to have it be a Happy visit. Do not delay the first visit because you believe your child will not cooperate. You may be pleasantly surprised!

 

Common Questions About Children's Dental Health

WHEN SHOULD AN INFANT'S ORAL HYGIENE BEGIN?

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Even without teeth, oral hygiene should begin soon after birth. After each feeding, wipe your baby's gums, inside the cheeks, tongue, and roof of the mouth with a clean, damp washcloth or wet gauze pad. This removes plaque, the sticky film containing decay-causing bacteria

WHAT ARE THE WHITE PATCHES SOMETIMES FOUND IN A NEWBORN'S MOUTH?

Yeast infections in the mouth occur frequently in newborns. White patches can spot the tongue, cheeks, gums, or roof of the mouth. If they are removed, some bleeding will occur. Treatment is usually unnecessary; however, your doctor should be notified of this condition.

WHAT IS THE CONDITION KNOWN AS "TONGUE-TIE"?

A piece of tissue connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth, and if it's too short, a condition known as ankyloglossia results. This is common in newborns and usually resolves itself over time. The only reason to have the tissue cut is if the infant cannot nurse.

WHEN DO BABIES START GETTING PRIMARY TEETH?

The average age for the first primary tooth is five to six months; however, there is great variation.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF TEETHING?

Fussiness, excessive drooling, rash, diarrhea, changes in sleep and feeding patterns, and fever can signal a baby's discomfort. However, don't assume that a fever or these changes are caused just from teething. They also can be symptoms of other health conditions. Check with your doctor to ensure your baby receives proper medical care.

WHAT REMEDIES ARE RECOMMENDED FOR TEETHING PAIN?

We may recommend a pacifier, teething ring, or a special numbing ointment for the gums. Some teething rings and pacifiers can be chilled to extend their numbing effect. Older children will enjoy the soothing relief that popsicles provide.

HOW CAN YOU HELP YOUR CHILD'S TEETHING PAIN?

To help your child's teething pain, gently massage the infant's gums with a clean, wet finger, a small, cool spoon, or a clean, wet gauze pad. This often soothes the child's pain and irritation. A cold, rubber teething ring also helps.

CAN DECAY-CAUSING BACTERIA BE PASSED TO AN INFANT?

Yes, babies are exposed to bacteria from a variety of sources, such as a caregiver blowing on food to cool it, tasting food, sharing utensils, kissing the infant on the mouth, sharing a cup, or sucking on the baby's fingers. Care should be taken not to expose the infant to bacterial exposure from these sources.

SHOULD YOU GIVE A BABY A FLUORIDE SUPPLEMENT?

Babies living in areas where the water supply is fluoridated do not need fluoride supplements. If the water supply is not fluoridated, or if the baby is breastfed, the physician or dentist may recommend supplements starting at the age of six months. Besides tap water, and often bottled water as well, fluoride also is found in juices (especially cranberry juice) and baby foods (especially chicken). These sources may provide enough fluoride without the need for supplements, so discuss the need for fluoride supplements with your child's physician and/or us.

HOW SHOULD YOU CARE FOR A CHILD'S PRIMARY TEETH?

As soon as the first tooth erupts, primary teeth may be cleaned with a clean, wet washcloth or wet gauze. The gums also should be gently wiped. If a toothbrush is used, it should be an appropriate size.

WHEN SHOULD YOU START CARING FOR YOUR CHILD'S TEETH?

As soon as teeth appear, they are at risk for decay and need to be brushed twice daily with a soft-bristled brush. Do not use toothpaste until your child is two years old.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO CARE FOR PRIMARY (BABY) TEETH, SINCE THEY WILL FALL OUT ANYWAY?

Primary teeth serve as the foundation for a healthy mouth, including the gums and the proper positioning of permanent teeth. They serve as natural space maintainers, holding the space open until the permanent teeth are ready to take their place. If primary teeth become broken or decayed and are not properly treated, problems can occur with permanent teeth, which may contribute to other health problems. The result can be costly orthodontics and other treatments.

CAN JUICES HURT YOUR CHILD'S TEETH?

Because of the sugar content, juice and juice products have much greater potential to cause decay. Apple juice may cause staining of the teeth and should be diluted with water. Any beverage other than water has the potential to cause tooth decay, especially if the child drinks it frequently.

WHAT CAUSES "BABY BOTTLE TOOTH DECAY"?

Frequent, long-term exposure of a child's teeth to sugary liquids (including breast milk, formula, and milk) causes baby bottle tooth decay. The sugars in these liquids pool around the teeth and feed the bacteria in plaque.

HOW CAN YOU PREVENT BABY BOTTLE TOOTH DECAY?

You can prevent baby bottle tooth decay by wiping the child's teeth and gums with a clean, moist washcloth after each feeding to remove plaque. You should never let your child go to sleep with a bottle containing a sweetened liquid. Among these are milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice, and other sweetened liquids. Constant use of a sipping cup containing sweetened liquids also can cause baby bottle tooth decay.

WHAT PROBLEMS OCCUR FROM BABY BOTTLE TOOTH DECAY?

To repair the decay, extensive treatment or extraction of the teeth may be required. Because the children are usually around 18 months to 2 years of age, hospitalization with general anesthesia is often required to perform these procedures.

IS SUCKING HARMFUL FOR TEETH?

While sucking is a natural reflex, sucking on thumbs and pacifiers can cause problems after the permanent teeth erupt. Continued sucking after this time affects the proper growth of the mouth, alignment of teeth, and the development of the roof of the mouth that can result in the need for orthodontic treatment in the future.

HOW CAN PARENTS ENCOURAGE A CHILD TO STOP THUMB SUCKING?

Set a positive tone and praise the child when they're not sucking. Thumb sucking is a stress-reliever and offers comfort. Look for any factor that might be causing discomfort or anxiety and seek solutions to correcting them, rather than focusing on sucking as the issue. Reward the child when he or she doesn't fall back into the habit, especially during stressful situations. Schedule an appointment with the child's dentist to        talk about what is likely to happen if the habit continues. 

WHAT CAN PARENTS DO IF A CHILD HAS DIFFICULTY BREAKING A THUMB SUCKING HABIT?

Finding ways to take away the pleasure of thumb sucking reduces or eliminates the satisfaction gained from it. Bandage the thumb or put a sock over the hand at night. A dentist or pediatrician can prescribe a bitter-tasting medication to coat the thumb. A mouth appliance can be used to block the ability to suck.

AT WHAT AGE SHOULD CHILDREN STOP USING A PACIFIER?

Children should stop using a pacifier by two years of age.