Frequently Asked Questions For Children Ages 0-2
- When does the first tooth come in?
- When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?
- What is the best way to clean a baby’s mouth?
- Should I worry about my baby swallowing the toothpaste?
- When do primary (baby) teeth erupt?
- What age should a child have the first dental check up?
- Does my baby need a fluoride application at the dentist?
- When do you think my child should give up the bottle?
- Which measures should I take if I am nursing my baby?
- Do you think it is O.K. to use a pacifier?
- Could my child’s temperature be from teething?
- What do you recommend for teething?
- Why do some children get tooth decay before they are two years old?
- What can be done about my child grinding teeth at night?
- Are primary teeth important?
- Do injuries to the primary teeth affect the permanent teeth?
Visiting a dentist when the first tooth erupts or by the first birthday is recommended to help reduce the number of infants and children who suffer from preventable tooth decay. Why? Seeing the child early gives the dentist the opportunity to examine the mouth and confirm normal oral development. Most importantly, the teeth can be examined for cleanliness. It gives the dentist the opportunity to provide advice on prevention and make the best care plan for your child. It also gives parents the chance to discuss feeding practices, teething and mouth habit. If the child is determined to be at risk of getting cavities, the dentist can apply extra preventive measures like Fluoride varnish. The best plan is to prevent problems from happening rather than to fix problems once they do.
For those babies not being breast fed, there is general agreement that around one year of age is a good time to wean baby from the bottle. Pediatric dentists like to see children give up bottles as soon as possible. That is because they see an alarming number of children ages 0-2 with Early Childhood Caries. This type of decay, which begins on the front teeth, can result from prolonged use of a milk or sweetened liquid bottle, or when it is put into bed with the baby. Same thing can happen when the baby drinks sweet liquids from a sippy cup.
Weaning from the bottle seems to follow two paths. The first is stopping the bottle suddenly. It is a “cold turkey” approach. The second method is a gradual reduction in the usage of the bottle. Reduction usually begins during the day when baby is able to drink from a cup. The last and most difficult bottle to be discontinued is the bottle before bedtime.
Parents should keep in mind that it is not the bottle or the sippy cup that cause the problem. It is the sweet drinks in them that can cause cavities. If your baby has to suck from a bottle or a sippy cup after the teeth erupt, the best is to put only WATER in them. This approach also helps by creating the healthy habit of drinking water rather than sweet drinks.
- About 1 in 10 children experience tooth decay before they are two years old. In certain communities that number can be much higher. The most common cause is when a baby is placed in the crib at night with a bottle of milk or sweetened liquid. The contents of the bottle cling to the teeth all night. Tooth decay begins! The same effect can occur with a sweetened pacifier. In rare circumstances, babies who are breast fed throughout the night over a long time are also at risk. The decay experienced by these toddlers has a typical pattern. It usually is evident near the gum line of the upper front teeth. Because of the age of these children, treatment becomes a major problem sometimes even requiring general anesthesia. Parents need to be alert and keep the teeth healthy by brushing twice a day with the size of a grain of rice of fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first tooth erupts. Occasionally when illness or some other disturbance affects growing teeth, the quality of the enamel is poor. These teeth can decay early and more easily. A dental examination around one year of age helps identify these problems, and allows your dentist to implement additional preventive measures, like the professional application of fluoride varnish.
- Many children have unfortunate accidents and can damage their mouths and teeth. A wide range of injuries can occur. Sometimes the damage to the primary teeth are of little concern and sometime they are severe and teeth can be moved about or knocked out. The more serious injuries can cause damage to the permanent teeth that are still forming in the jaws. The amount and type of damage depends on the age of the child as this reflects the stage of development of the underlying second tooth. The amount of injury will not be seen until the permanent tooth comes into the mouth. A consultation with the dentist as soon as the injury happens is always recommended as evaluation of the damage (usually with x rays) and necessary measures to limit the problems can be implemented.