Baby teeth are not a permanent fixture, eventually knowing they will be lost and replaced with permanent teeth. Before baby teeth even come in, many professionals recommend starting good oral health practices in infancy. To give your babies oral care before, during, and after the baby teeth stage, we at Smile Reef would like to elaborate on why it is important.
Importance of Pediatric Dental Care
Being well versed in caring for baby teeth for patients from the time they are infants until they are in their teens, pediatric dentists possess 2 more years of postdoctoral training. With no teeth, you may be wondering why an infant needs oral hygiene does at all. To remove the formula residue from off their gums, tongue, and surrounding mouth, the biggest advantage is using a soft bristled, newborn-sized toothbrush. The little ones can be accustomed to brushing their teeth early in life, while removing any lingering bacteria.
Why Do We Have Baby Teeth?
During the formative years, the primary teeth, or baby teeth, serve several purposes. Children use them to learn how to speak and they are obviously required for proper eating and chewing from the moment these teeth grow in. To ensure the correct development of the muscles and bones in the jaw, the primary teeth provide the spacing requirements for the eruption of the permanent teeth as well. For infants and toddlers, this is why there is strong emphasis on dental hygiene. Using a small toothbrush at an early age, children can become accustomed to using a small dab of fluoride toothpaste. Encourage their teeth-brushing habits by doing it alongside them. Most children learn by watching.
When Do Permanent Teeth Come In?
Permanent teeth begin to make an appearance at about 6 years of age. The lower front teeth and the molars are generally the first teeth that appear. Typically all the permanent teeth will have erupted, excluding the wisdom teeth by the age of 14. In an effort to minimize or even prevent orthodontic issues and promote optimal growth, dental care is imperative in the early years.
What Age Should a Child Go to the Dentist for the First Time?
It is encouraged you book their first dental visit around the first birthday though we recommend beginning oral hygiene practices for your infant starting at day one. In addition to giving the professional an early start on proper development, X-rays do not start until later, but that first visit is a good introduction to pediatric dentistry. Below you will see the breakdown of your child’s X-rays, dental X-rays are one of the primary diagnostic tools used in the industry.
Pediatric Dental X Rays for 3 Year Old
Occlusal X-rays: To help determine the development of the upper and lower front teeth, occlusal x-rays usually only need to be taken once. Being frequently taken at around 3 years old, the image allows the dentist to assess the formation of a child’s permanent teeth beneath their baby teeth.
Bitewing X-rays: To monitor early detection, bitewing X-rays are used to detect cavities. A part of regular professional care, these x-rays are usually included for children 3 or 4 years of age. These X-rays help the pediatric dentist locate any caries that have developed between the teeth as well.
Pediatric Dental Care
Your child can benefit from having well developed and cared for teeth well into adulthood with the help of early oral hygiene maintenance at home and with pediatric dentistry. Contact Smile Reef today to make your appointment if your child is due for an exam in the Las Vegas, Nevada Valley.
Even at this young age, dental care and proper hygiene is important. Infants can start teething as early as 6 months of age. The early teeth are still susceptible to cavities that need to last, though your children’s baby teeth are temporary. The development can be harmfully impacted from early cavities, or baby bottle tooth decay. Today, we at Smile Reef would like to discuss the basics of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.
What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
To a child’s teeth, tooth decay is caused by the frequent and long-term exposure of liquids containing sugars. The upper front teeth are where it generally happens, but other teeth can be impacted. Baby formula, milk, fruit juice, sodas, along with other sweetened drinks are the most common culprits that contribute to baby bottle tooth decay. Due to these liquids pooling around the infant’s teeth and gums, the bacteria that causes plaque is fed. Every time a child consumes a sugary beverage, acid attacks the teeth and gums also. Tooth decay sets over several encounters. Children who frequently have their pacifier dipped in syrup, sugar, or honey as well as infants that are breast-fed who have prolonged feeding habits can develop this condition. When infants sleep with sweet beverages left in their mouth, the risk increases significantly. It will lead to infection and pain if this condition is left untreated. It will require an extraction should a tooth become severely decayed. In the event their teeth are infected or lost too early, your child may develop poor eating habits, crooked/damaged adult teeth, or speech problems.
How to Treat Cavities in Baby Teeth
Depending the child’s age, severity of the tooth decay, and other circumstances, dictates treatment for baby bottle tooth decay. You can apply preventative techniques, and your child’s dentist will discuss treatment options if you catch the condition early enough. White spots on the baby’s teeth is one of the early symptoms. To re-mineralize all of the teeth, fluoride treatment or placing fluoride varnish at this stage can be used. You will need to change your baby’s diet and eating habits as well. Fluoride treatments will no longer be sufficient, later stages of baby bottle tooth decay may develop. Symptoms of a more severe case of baby bottle tooth decay include brown or black spots on the teeth, swelling or irritability, fever, which could indicate infection, bleeding or swollen gums, and bad breath. If your child has any of these symptoms, see the dentist as soon as possible.
How to Prevent Bottle Rot
To help stave off baby bottle tooth decay, implement good oral hygiene at an early age.
1) With a clean gauze pad or washcloth, white the baby’s gums after each feeding.
2) Begin brushing their teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush without any toothpaste, or a fluoride-free one when the first tooth comes in. Ensure the gums are cleaned and massaged where there are not any teeth.
3) Once baby’s teeth come in, floss.
4) If it is not in the water supply, ask your doctor about supplements, make certain your baby is getting enough fluoride.
5) For a cleaning and checkup, schedule a dental visit around their first birthday.
6) Sugary beverage exposure needs to be limited. For diarrhea treatment, bottles should only be filled with water, milk, formula or electrolyte- enriched beverages. Avoid exposure to soda.
7) Never let your baby fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth.
8) In sweet coatings and limit sugary snacks, don’t dip the pacifier.
Call Smile Reef and schedule your appointment today when your child is ready for their first dental exam or you have concerns about baby bottle tooth decay!