Useful Info: Dental Facts

  • Baby bottle tooth decay is the most common cause of tooth decay in a child younger than 3 years.
  • The chewing surfaces of back teeth are the most likely to decay. Sixty-six percent of cavities occur in the back teeth.
  • The ideal time for placement of braces is 8-14 years of age because the head and mouth are still growing and teeth can be more easily straightened. Usually braces are worn for 18-30 months, and then a retainer is worn for a few months to two years.

Useful Info: Protect Your Child's Teeth

  • Children playing contact sports should wear a mouth guard. A mouth guard may be purchased at any sporting goods store.
  • If your child has front teeth that protrude, you should discuss the problem with your dentist. The risk of broken teeth is far greater if your child has protruding front teeth.
  • A child with a neuromuscular disorder or frequent seizures should wear a helmet and mouth guard to protect the head and face during falls.

Useful Info: Good News for Parents

Before the age of 3 years, it is unlikely that using a pacifier or thumb or finger sucking will cause any permanent harm to your baby’s teeth or smile. The children most likely to have significant dental problems use a pacifier (or suck their thumb or finger) frequently for long periods of time and continue the habit after 3 years of age. Thumb or finger sucking is the hardest habit to break – 20 percent of children continue the habit after age 5.

Useful Info: Call Your Dentist

If a baby tooth is knocked out

If a baby tooth is knocked out, there is no way to “save” the tooth. If the gum is bleeding, cover your finger with gauze and press down on the bleeding area. Call your dentist to determine if he or she feels it is necessary to fit your child with a “spacer.” A “spacer” takes the place of the baby tooth and holds the place for the permanent tooth until it comes in.

If a permanent tooth is knocked out

Rinse (but do not scrub) the tooth, holding it by its crown. Do not touch the roots. It is wise to plug the drain before you begin rinsing. Insert the tooth into the socket with gentle pressure. Replace the tooth quickly, within 20 minutes if possible. It is uncommon for the tooth to survive if replacement is delayed longer than two hours. Take your child to the dentist immediately so that the tooth can be immobilized. If you are unable to replace the tooth, take your child and the tooth to the dentist. Transport the tooth in milk.

Useful Info: Clean Teeth are Healthy Teeth

  • Put only water in your baby’s naptime or bedtime bottle.
  • Wipe your baby’s gums with a clean, damp cloth after each feeding.
  • Start brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears.
  • Nonfluoride toothpaste in small amounts should be used beginning at 12 months of age.
  • Schedule your child’s first visit to the dentist at 12-18 months of age.

By age 4-5 years, children are usually able to brush their own teeth. However, to ensure thorough cleaning, their tooth brushing should be supervised until age 7 years.
Children should use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride toothpaste should not be used until the child is old enough to spit out the extra toothpaste and rinse with water after brushing.
Once all the baby teeth have come in, you should floss your child’s teeth. Children can usually floss alone after age 8, although you may need to supervise them.