What to Expect at a Pediatric Dentist
|At St. Helens Pediatric Dentistry we know how important it is to establish a good relationship with the patients who dread us the most, our children. Teaching children to establish good oral hygiene habits is an exhausting task, but a task we are happy to conquer. Dr. Moore is happy to educate parents and children alike on the importance of daily caring for their teeth. Our FAQ below has been prepared for your benefit.
What is a pediatric dentist?
At what age should my child visit the dentist?
How do I clean my baby's teeth?
How can parents develop good brushing habits?
How much toothpaste should children use?
Are cavities in children inevitable?
My child plays sports, should I get a mouth guard?
What is a pediatric dentist?Pediatric dentists are general dentists who have completed an additional specialty with a pediatric-focused residency in a hospital setting. This takes additional education and training along with a willingness to show incredible patience and care for our very important patients. Back to the top
What age should my child visit the dentist?Dr. Moore adheres to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry guidelines, which states that it is best for a first dental visit by their first birthday. By starting a relationship with our office early, we can set a positive foundation for dental care with your child. This time will be used to look for any possible problems, and to discuss with parents how best to care for their child's teeth. We can also answer questions about what to expect in the future including teething and how you can help them. Back to the top
How do I clean my baby's teeth?Before cleaning them, we recommend that you help keep your baby's teeth from getting dirty. Babies really should have no sugary foods. We ask that parents refrain from giving their babies juice, children under the age of one should only be drinking breast milk, formula, or water. Back to the top
For those first teeth, Dr. Moore recommends using a damp cloth. With the cloth wipe along the gums and teeth, no toothpaste is necessary. This is especially important for nursing moms, we ask that you clean your children's teeth frequently following breastfeeding.
With multiple teeth fully erupted, switch to using a soft-bristled toothbrush. It is ok to use a very small amount of fluoride-free toothpaste, or none at all. Once your child is old enough to spit out the toothpaste, it will be time to switch to fluoridated toothpaste. We also recommend toothpastes that contain xylitol, a naturally-occurring sweetener that has been found to inhibit decay-causing bacteria in the mouth.
We ask that parents assist in the child's tooth brushing until about 3rd grade.
How can parents develop good brushing habits?Start your child's oral hygiene habits right away. Establishing habits the younger the better. You can introduce silly songs, games, or even with a sticker chart. Make it fun, but above all, be firm about the importance of brushing their teeth. When the child reaches about six years of age, introduce flossing to your child. Many children respond well to flossing sticks, though be aware of them being a possible choking hazard. Back to the top
How much toothpaste should children use?The amount of toothpaste depends on the age.
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||babies need no toothpaste, simply a damp cloth
||toddlers over the age of two, we recommend a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste, it's important that they don't swallow it, have them spit
Are cavities in children Inevitable?No! Not necessarily! With education, awareness, regular dental visits, and dental sealants, we are seeing more and more children reach adulthood never having experienced a cavity. Back to the top
My child plays sports, should I get a mouth guard?A majority of sports related injuries are related to the mouth. Impacts to the teeth are very common and our little athletes can end up with chipped, fractured, loosened, or teeth that have been knocked out. Mouth guards can protect them. Besides teeth, mouth guards minimize injuries to your child's lips, tongue, face or jaw because there is a cushion between them and the teeth. Back to the top
Mouth guards are important, and we do recommend your little athlete wear them.
For more information on caring for your child's teeth, contact William Moore, DMD, at our St. Helen's Pediatric office. 503-438-7145