Top 3 Questions About Your Child’s Teeth
As a family dentist, we believe that starting good dental health early is key to maintaining good dental health throughout a person’s lifetime. We start seeing patients when they are about age 1, usually when the first tooth begins to erupt.
Parents are always interested in how they can protect their children’s health, and we are glad to offer our professional advice. To help you out, here are the most often-asked questions about a child’s teeth.
How important is it to maintain baby teeth?
Even though baby teeth are small and will eventually fall out on their own, they play a crucial role in chewing and alignment of permanent teeth. They can even affect the way a child’s speech. If your child loses their baby teeth early, the spaces left can create eating problems, speech problems, and crooked adult teeth, as well as create pockets for bacteria to collect. As we know, bacteria build-up is the most common cause of tooth decay, cavities, and gum infections.
We recommend starting good brushing habits as soon as you see the first tooth in your child. For infants, use a wet washcloth to gently rub the tooth clean. Begin training your child in proper brushing habits as early as age 2. Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and teach your child not to swallow the toothpaste.
Will thumb sucking hurt my child’s teeth?
Thumb sucking and use of a pacifier are soothing activities for a young child, but should be discouraged by about age 3 if the child has not stopped on his or her own. Past the age of four, these practices could affect development of permanent teeth.
Is offering drinks in a baby bottle okay?
When children suck on a bottle or sippy cup filled with sweetened or sugary drink such as formula, fruit juice, sodas and milk, their teeth are exposed to these sugars for an extended period of time. These liquids cling to the teeth, forming a film that feeds the bacteria that lives in the mouth. The interaction between the bacteria and sugar creates an acid that attacks the tooth enamel causes cavities. This is called “baby bottle decay.” Water or breast milk are the best liquids to offer. Infants and toddlers should not be put to bed with a bottle; ensure that they finish their drinks prior to sleeping.
Children’s Dental Care is Important to Us at Advanced Family Dentistry
As a family dental practice, Advanced Family Dentistry sees patients from about age 1 throughout their lifetimes, and it is important to start good dental care on the right foot. We encourage new parents to ask us questions about how to care for their children’s teeth. We are glad to provide answers, education and training in proper dental health. We are proud when we don’t have to perform dental procedures on a child! That means we—and you as parents—have done our jobs right.
If you are looking for a caring family or pediatric dentist, contact our office to set an appointment. We are location in Reston, VA to serve families locally and throughout Northern Virginia and the DC metropolitan region.
Dr. Sonny Kim is a Diplomat of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI), the highest education level for general dentists in this field.
Advanced Family Dentistry
Dr. Sonny Kim, DMD
11876 Sunrise Valley Dr., Suite 101
Reston, VA 20191