What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?

A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any  soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed  specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.


When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?

In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric  dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first  birthday.

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric  dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental  school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric  dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and  children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.


Are baby teeth really that important to my child?

Primary, or "baby," teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do  they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in  forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to  erupt.


Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child's teeth?

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem  if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these  habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or  fingers past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended by  your pediatric dentist.


How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?

Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in  their bed-time bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss  your child's teeth. Take your child to a pediatric dentist regularly to  have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be  scheduled by your child's first birthday.


How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?

A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and  other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you  when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral  health.


Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?

The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a  soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to  appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a  soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use a "smear" of toothpaste to  brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age. For the 2-5 year  old, dispense a "pea-size" amount of toothpaste and perform or assist  your child’s toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the  ability to brush their teeth effectively.  Children should spit out and  not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing. 


How do I make my child's diet safe for his teeth?

Make sure your child has a balanced diet, including one serving each of:  fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and  meat fish and eggs. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will  also aid in protecting your child's teeth from decay. You can also ask  your pediatric dentist to help you select foods that protect your  children's teeth.


How do dental sealants work?

Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the  teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the  teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can  effectively protect teeth for many years.


How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?

Have your pediatric dentist evaluate the fluoride level of your child's  primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough  fluoride internally through water (especially if the fluoride level is  deficient or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride), then  your pediatric dentist may prescribe fluoride supplements.


What can I do to protect my child's teeth during sporting events?

Soft plastic mouthguards can be used to protect a child's teeth, lips,  cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. A custom-fitted mouthguard  developed by a pediatric dentist will protect your child from injuries  to the teeth, face and even provide protection from severe injuries to  the head.


What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?

The most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then find the tooth.  Hold it by the crown rather than the root and try to reinsert it in the  socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and  take your child and the glass immediately to the pediatric dentist.


How safe are dental X-rays?

There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Pediatric dentists are  especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children  are exposed. Lead aprons and high-speed film are used to ensure safety  and minimize the amount of radiation.


How can parents help prevent tooth decay?

Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning  with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, the dentist can recommend a  specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for parents  to supervise and teach to their children. These home treatments, when  added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your  child a lifetime of healthy habits.