Faqs by Parents

Q. When Should My Child First See A Dentist?

A: 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.

Q. Why so early? What dental problems could a baby have?

A: The most important reason is to implement preventive practices that decrease a child’s risks of developing this devastating disease (early childhood caries).

The dental problem is Early Childhood Caries (also know as baby bottle tooth decay or nursing caries). Your child risks severe decay from using a bottle during naps, at night or Ad libitum breastfeeding.

Q. How can I prevent tooth decay from a bottle or nursing?

A: Encourage your child to drink from a cup as they approach their first birthday. Infant should not be put to sleep with a bottle containing fermentable carbohydrate.

At-will nighttime breast-feeding should be avoided after the first primary (baby) tooth begins to erupt.

Between –meal snacks and prolonged exposures to foods and juice or other beverages containing fermentable carbohydrates should be avoided.

Q. When should bottle-feeding be stopped?

A: Children should be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age.

Q. Should I worry about thumb and finger sucking?

A: 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 o their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or finders past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.

Q. When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?

A: The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush and water. If an infant falls asleep while feeding, the teeth should be cleaned before placing the child in bed. Toothbrushing of all dentate children should be performed twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste and soft toothbrush. For younger than 2 years of age ,use a smear amount of toothpaste, for 2-5 years of age ,use a pea size amount of a toothpaste.

Q. Any advice on teething?

A: From six months to age 3, your child may have sore gums when teeth erupt. Many children like a clean teething ring, cool spoon, or cold wet washcloth. Some parents swear by a chilled ring; others simply rub the baby’s gums with a clean finger.

Source: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

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Pediatric Dentist serving infants, children and teens in Philadelphia areas.