Hygienist holding a set of Invisalign

6 Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Your Child’s Dental Health By Stephen Dowell, DDS on August 13, 2021

Dental impairments and oral health-related diseases in children can lead to unwanted stress in parents and children. Regular pediatric dentistry visits can greatly reduce a child’s risk of developing these types of health issues. Pediatric dentistry focuses on all stages of oral development in minors with the goal of helping them achieve optimal oral health. Dr. Dowell practices dentistry for the entire family in Minerva, Carrollton, and Dover, OH.

We have assembled a list of pediatric dentistry FAQs to answer your most urgent questions:

What Should I Use to Clean My Child’s Teeth?

A soft-bristled toothbrush designed for infants and a minuscule amount of fluoride toothpaste can clean emerging baby teeth. Brushing before bedtime removes plaque-building bacteria that have formed throughout the day and lead to cavities.

Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste for children three and older. Supervise to ensure they aren’t brushing too hard, are reaching all areas of the mouth, and don’t swallow any toothpaste.

When Should My Child Have Their First Dental Visit?

The general rule is “the first visit by the first birthday” to prevent dental problems. The first tooth typically emerges when a child is between six months and one year old.

How Harmful is Thumbsucking?

Thumbsucking is normal and can be healthy. Infants use sucking behaviors as a way to self-soothe during stressful situations. Sucking behaviors encourage emotional regulation at a young age.

However, the pressure created within the mouth from thumbsucking can impact tooth development in a number of ways, including:

  • Malocclusion (open bite and overbite)
  • Callouses, ingrown fingernails, and other skin issues
  • Speech impediments

How Can I Help My Child Through the Teething Stage?

Healthy baby teeth are essential. They shape the child’s face and hold space for permanent teeth. Oral development also affects your child’s diet and language acquisition.

The teething stage can be an ordeal for both babies and parents. If your baby is keeping you up at night, try these at-home remedies:

  • Massage your baby’s gums with a clean finger or wet gauze to relieve pressure.
  • Offer a cold spoon or chilled teething ring to soothe gums.
  • Relieve fever and discomfort with over-the-counter NSAIDs.

What Causes Cavities?

Childhood cavities are painful and can cause lasting damage to the gums and the permanent teeth underneath. Oral infections caused by cavities can affect the child’s overall health. Three factors that create the perfect storm for tooth decay are:

  • Bacteria
  • Carbohydrates (such as sugar)
  • Poor oral hygiene

Baby bottle tooth decay, also known as early childhood caries, is the severe decay of baby teeth caused by frequent, long-lasting feedings. The enamel (outer coating) of baby teeth is slimmer than permanent teeth, making them especially susceptible to decay. Breast milk and formula contain sugars that stick on the teeth if not removed. Germs in the mouth can turn this sugar into acid that erodes enamel.

Saliva helps wash away some bacteria. During sleep periods, saliva production decelerates. The oral bacteria have time to consume the sugars on the outer coating of teeth and produce the acid that causes cavities.

What Do I Do if My Child Loses A Permanent Tooth?

  1. Immediately notify your dentist.
  2. Pick up the removed tooth and clean it.
  3. Gently and quickly place the tooth back into the socket to re-implant the tooth.
  4. If the tooth cannot be re-implanted, store the tooth in cold milk until you make it to the dentist’s office. Tooth survival is dependent on getting to the office as soon as possible.

Schedule an Appointment for Your Child Now

Pediatric dentistry sets the stage for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Message us online or call (330) 617-8867 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Dowell.


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