Dental Tips for Kids
- Children's Dental Emergencies
- What's the best toothpaste for my child?
- Does your child grind his teeth at night? (Bruxism)
- Thumb Sucking
- Early Infant Oral Care
- Your Child's First Dental Visit
- Proper Brushing Techniques for Children
- Early Childhood Dental Tips
- Children Dental Tips for Halloween
- Back-to-School Dental Tips
- More Useful Dental Tips for Children
Children's Dental Emergencies
No parent wants their child to suffer or be in pain. When it comes to health issues, the mouth is one of the most sensitive, and therefore, most painful places to have a problem - especially for precious little ones. Knowing what to do in a dental emergency can not only protect your child's beautiful smile, but it can also save them much misery and tears. Whether it is a toothache, chipped tooth or cut tongue, our professionals at Jason C. Croft DMD, General Family Dentistry have the solution to keep your child healthy and smiling.
Here are some common children's dental emergencies and quick solutions:
You must clean the affected area thoroughly with warm water, making sure that you get rid of food remnants and anything else that might be stuck in the tooth or gum causing irritation. If the cheek or affected area is swollen, you should apply ice or a cold compress. If your child continues to experience pain, contact your child's dentist.
Cut/Bitten Tongue, Lip, or Cheek
Apply a cold compress to the affected area. Use gauze and apply moderate pressure if bleeding occurs. Call your dentist or visit the hospital if bleeding does not cease.
Knocked Out Permanent Tooth
Time is very crucial in saving a tooth! First, you should contact your dentist immediately. Next, try to find the tooth. Make sure you hold it by the crown - not root. Do NOT clean the tooth with anything but water, and try not to handle it excessively. Have your child reinsert the tooth by biting down on gauze. If this does not work, put the tooth in a cup with your child's saliva, as you transport it to the dentist.
Knocked Out Baby Tooth
The good news is that most times this is not an emergency and no treatment is necessary. If your child is in pain for an extended amount of time and something appears to unusual, contact your dentist.
Chipped or Fractured Permanent Tooth
Contact your dentist immediately. Using only water, rinse your child's mouth out and place a cold compress on the affected area. Attempt to find the tooth and locate any fragments to bring to the dentist. Time is a very important factor in saving the tooth and avoiding infection.
Chipped or Fractured Baby Tooth
Since baby teeth are meant to fall out, this is usually not something to stress over. Contact your child's dentist.
Blow to the Head
You should take your child to the closest hospital emergency room ASAP.
Possible Broken or Fractured Jaw
Take your child to the closest hospital immediately. Make sure your child stays still and keep the jaw from moving.
If an emergency ever occurs and you are not sure what to do, visit the nearest hospital emergency room immediately and contact your child's dentist. At Jason C. Croft DMD, General Family Dentistry we know that emergencies can be scary and painful. We also know how important your children are, which is why we work hard to provide tips, continuous education, and support to our growing community.
What's the best toothpaste for my child?
Tooth brushing is crucial for maintaining excellent oral health. It is important to brush one's teeth at least twice daily. This prevents plaque build-up which can cause cavities, as well as bad breath, gum problems and stained teeth. Parents should not only begin brushing their children's teeth as soon as they appear with a soft toothbrush, but they should also begin teaching good brushing and flossing habits immediately.
Since many children are extremely picky about the tastes they will tolerate, and parents are picky what they put into their child's mouth, choosing the right toothpaste can be tricky. While there are so many toothpastes out on the shelves, parents must be careful about the one they select. As a result of harsh abrasives (which can contribute to wearing away tooth enamel), many kinds of toothpaste can harm young smiles.
Shopping for Toothpaste
When picking out toothpaste for your child to use, make sure to select one that is recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) as shown on the box and tube. ADA recommended toothpastes have undergone extensive testing to make sure that they are safe to use and will not cause any harm to teeth. To further select a tube, you might look for a toothpaste that is also recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that kills bacteria that causes cavities and tooth decay, as well as one that provides protection against eating and drinking.
It is important to remember, and tell your children, that they should spit out toothpaste after brushing their teeth to prevent ingestion of too much fluoride, which could cause fluorosis. If your child is incapable of or too young to spit out toothpaste, you should purchase one that is fluoride free, or use only a "pea size" amount. For additional questions on selecting an appropriate toothpaste, contact your child's dentist.
Does Your Child Grind Their Teeth at Night?
Nocturnal grinding of teeth, also known as bruxism, is a common condition of many children. While most children outgrow bruxism between the ages of 9-12, it can cause serious dental problems over time if not corrected. As a parent, it is important to recognize bruxism, the causes and the possible treatments.
Many parents often become concerned about their child grinding their teeth at night. The primary indicator is the sound created by the child as he or she grinds their teeth while sleeping. The parent may also notice wear (teeth getting shorter) to their child's teeth. While recognizing bruxism is fairly easy, determining the causes and appropriate treatment is not so clear. Although a definitive cause has yet to be determined, dentists contribute grinding to several theories. One theory is that it is due to stress. Increased anxiety as a result of a new environment, divorce, changes at school, etc. can influence a child to grind their teeth. Another theory has to do with the pressure in the inner ear at night. When present, pressure changes, such as that experienced in an airplane during take-off and landing, can cause a child to grind his or her teeth as they move their jaw in an attempt to relieve this pressure.
The positive news about bruxism is that most cases do not require any treatment. However, if there is excessive wear on the teeth, a mouth guard (or night guard) might be necessary. While a mouth guard does prevent wear to the teeth, there is a risk of choking if it becomes dislodged during sleep, and it may hinder the growth of your child's jaws.
If you believe your child has bruxism, and you are not sure what to do, or if you fear your child will not outgrow it, contact your pediatrician or dentist for additional advice.
While thumb sucking has long been a topic of controversy, many studies show that a majority of children will go through a thumb sucking phase at some point during their childhood. Thumb sucking is a natural reflex caused by an innate sucking instinct that is normal in babies, infants, and young children. It makes children feel calm and content, while also providing a sense of security. Thumb sucking most often induces sleep, as it is very relaxing for a child.
In order to prevent serious dental problems relating to tooth alignment and proper mouth growth, thumb sucking should be stopped before your child's permanent front teeth are ready to come in. Most children cease from sucking their thumb between the ages of two and four. Another factor that can influence future dental problems is how intensely your child sucks on his or her fingers or thumbs. Children who suck their thumbs gently or simply place them passively in their mouths are far less likely to experience problems than those who vigorously suck their thumbs.
Pacifiers should not be considered an alternative for thumb sucking. Like thumb sucking, pacifiers can cause the same dental problems and greatly affect the growth of your child's teeth. The use of the pacifier can, however, be controlled more effortlessly than a thumb sucking habit, as a parent can simply remove the pacifier from their child's mouth. If you have concerns or further questions about thumb sucking or pacifiers, contact your child's dentist.
Our professionals at Jason C. Croft DMD, General Family Dentistry offer these suggestions to help your child ease off of thumb sucking:
- Children often suck their thumbs due to anxiety. Center on correcting the cause of stress, instead of the thumb sucking.
- Since many children suck to feel comfort, attempt to provide them with more comfort and security so that they will feel less of an urge to suck their thumb.
- Reward your children when they abstain from thumb sucking, especially during difficult periods, such as a nightmare.
- Have your child's dentist talk to them. They can give confidence to children to stop sucking, as well as enlighten them on what could happen if they continue.
- Lastly, you can try to break your child's habit by putting something on their hand at night, such as a sock.
Early Infant Oral Care
We all know that one of the most lovable things about your child is his or her bubbly, beautiful smile. It is never too early to begin oral care for your child and promoting good oral health and habits. You can start your child on their way to a great smile for a lifetime by taking care of yourself during pregnancy and cleaning your child's mouth regularly.
During pregnancy, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that women obtain oral health care and counseling. Periodontal disease, a disease that attacks the gum and bone around the teeth, can be very serious for both the mother and baby. It can greatly harm the mother's mouth, as well as increase the risk of premature birth and low birth rate. It is important that pregnant women talk to their doctor and dentist and are educated on ways to prevent periodontal disease. Additionally, mothers with poor oral health have a greater risk of passing bacteria, which causes cavities, to their little ones. The friendly professionals of Jason C. Croft DMD, General Family Dentistry recommend that mothers follow these simple steps to stay lively and ensure a healthy baby:
- Visit your dentist on a regular basis
- Brush and floss daily to prevent plaque buildup.
- Maintain a healthy diet, watching your intake of foods and drinks high in sugar & starch.
- Use toothpaste with fluoride that is recommended by the ADA and rinse every night with an alcohol-free, mouth rinse with .05 % sodium fluoride to reduce plaque.
- Do not share utensils, food or drinks in which bacteria could be transmitted to your child
After your child is born, you should immediately begin cleaning their mouth after every feeding by gently wiping the gums with a clean, wet cloth or gauze. When your child begins to get teeth, you should introduce him or her to an extra soft, kid-friendly toothbrush. Your child should brush their teeth at least twice a day, using a small amount of ADA recommended toothpaste (remember to make sure they do not swallow it). You should also floss your child's teeth gently each day, making sure areas that are particularly close together are clean.
In order to maximize both you and your child's dental health, as well as encourage lifelong habits and a beautiful smile, oral care can never be started too early or taken too seriously.
Your Child's First Dental Visit
As most of us remember, going to the dentist for the first time can be extremely exciting, but also scary. Many children feel grown up and are excited about the stickers, toothbrushes, and "cool" stuff they receive, but many also fear the tools that go into their mouths or stories they have heard. Since maintaining good oral health is crucial, your child will most likely see a dentist for the rest of their life; therefore, a child's first dental visit can be life changing. It is important that both you and your child are at ease and well prepared before your child's first dental appointment.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) all encourage establishing a "dental home" for your child by the time they turn one. A dental home provides parents with a dental location other than the emergency room. The major associations, as well as dentists, believe that children who have a dental home are more likely to receive proper oral health care.
It is not hard to make your child's first visit to the dentist pleasant and positive. Depending on your child's age, you should inform them of the upcoming visit and tell them that the friendly dentist and their staff will explain all procedures and answer any questions. As a general rule of thumb, the less you say concerning the visit, the better. Since children often have anxiety about their first appointment, it is best to avoid words such as needle, drill, pull or pain. These words might contribute to unnecessary fear for your child. Most dental offices make a habit of using carefully chosen words that describe what will happen but are pleasing and non-frightening to the child.
Typically, at your child's first appointment, the dentist will discuss with your child and you the correct ways to care for a young mouth, appropriate use of fluoride, oral habits, oral and facial accident and trauma prevention, developmental milestones, and healthy diet. Equipped with the correct information and preparation, a child's first dental visit can be very fun and educational—an experience to look forward to!
Proper Brushing Techniques for Children
It is important for your children to get a good start to their day with dental hygiene. The important aspect of this is knowing proper brushing techniques. When your child knows properly brushes his or her teeth, they get an added bonus of good oral health - a beautiful smile. The real benefit of good oral care is preventing cavities that can be both painful and cause early tooth loss. Proper care also prevents gum disease that can cause eventual tooth loss, bad breath, and can even be the beginning of other serious health problems.
Check out these proper brushing techniques!
- Outer & Inner Surfaces: Place toothbrush at a 45-degree angle; starting along the gum line use gentle, short, tooth-wide strokes against the gum line.
- Chewing surfaces: Hold the brush flat and brush back and forth.
- Inside surface of front teeth: Tilt brush vertically; use gentle up-and-down strokes with the toe of the brush.
- Brush the tongue: Use a back-to-front sweeping method to remove food particles and freshen the mouth. Remember to gently brush the roof of the mouth too.
- Brush long enough to thoroughly clean all tooth surfaces. The brushing motion itself helps remove stains, so don’t cut short the effectiveness.
Early Childhood Dental Tips
Breast or Bottle Feeding
- Prevent “baby bottle tooth decay” by limiting the time an infant is exposed to sugary liquids like milk or juice.
- Children should not be put to sleep with a bottle. Allowing a child to suck on a bottle for longer than a mealtime can be hazardous to gums and erupting teeth.
- Once your child can sit up, encourage him or her not to drink from a bottle while lying down; not only can liquids linger longer in the mouth, but drinking while lying down can also cause ear infections.
- Juice should not be offered from a bottle because sugars can linger in the mouth and promote cavities.
- As a baby approaches his or her first birthday, parents should encourage drinking only from a cup versus a bottle.
Thumb or Finger-Sucking
- Sucking a thumb or other finger is a normal habit and most toddlers stop by age two. If a toddler has not stopped sucking a thumb or finger by age four, contact our office.
- If a child sucks a finger when permanent teeth are erupting, crowded or crooked teeth can result, as well as bite problems.
- Pacifiers function in virtually the same way as a finger for a child and are acceptable until age two.
- A pacifier habit is often easier to break than a finger-sucking habit, partially because you can simply take it away from a child.
- Teething can last up to three years and can cause your child to have sore gums, as well as increased salivation, drooling and a slightly-elevated temperature.
- To alleviate your child’s discomfort, give your child a chilled teething ring or a cool spoon. These will serve to numb your child’s gums.
Children Dental Tips for Halloween
Scare Cavities Away With These Useful Oral Hygiene Tips
Trick cavities by choosing the right treats
The best treats are those that can be easily brushed or washed away from teeth by saliva or water. Options include sugarless/low-in-sugar candies and chocolate.
Avoid treats that are sticky, chewy or hard.
Treats that cling to teeth such as gummy candy provide nourishment for plaque-causing bacteria that cause cavities. Treats that are difficult to chew, such as hard candy, may damage teeth and in some cases can crack a tooth. Avoid these types of treats particularly if your child has braces because candy residues can become trapped between teeth and wires.
Limit sweets intake to keep cavities in check
Constant snacking on candy cause tooth enamel to be continuously exposed to acids produced by the bacteria inside the mouth. Remember that sweets should be a treat and not part of everyday eating. Every sugar dose equals about 20 minutes of a plaque attack so remember to brush or drink plenty of water after eating sugary treats.
Brush for at least two minutes twice a day, every day
This is particularly important if your child eats candy before going to bed because the dry environment of the mouth at night is an ideal playground for plaque. Make brushing fun by choosing fluoride toothpaste in your child’s favorite flavor, playing a favorite song while brushing or rewarding children with stickers for every good brushing.
Floss your way to better teeth
Flossing removes plaque that can’t be removed by brushing alone from under the gum line and between your teeth. Flossing before brushing loosens the plaque and debris, which allows it to be brushed away easily. Check with a dentist to determine when children should begin flossing.
Back-to-School Dental Tips
Gear Up for Sports
An injury can take the fun out of gym class and after-school sports but proper sporting gear can help. Sprained ankles and shin splints can be avoided by wearing sport-specific sneakers and use a mouthguard to protect teeth from getting chipped by a fly ball or errant puck or hockey stick.
Check in with your Pediatrician and Dentist
Children who feel sick or are in pain as a result of a toothache will be less likely to do well in class. Keep everyone smiling by making appointments with the pediatrician and dentist to ward off illnesses and detect vision, hearing and dental problems.
Keep Smiles Healthy
According to a report by the U.S. Surgeon General’s office, oral-health related problems cause the loss of 51 million school hours per year. Combat tooth decay by getting children to brush for the recommended two minutes twice a day and using proper brushing and flossing techniques.
Encourage Healthy Snacking
Teach children about healthy snacking and avoiding junk food. Stock pre-cut fruits, vegetables, cheese and pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in their lunch boxes and in the fridge. Also, stick with nutritional drinks like pure milk, water and fruit juice instead of plaque and cavity-inducing drinks like sodas and other artificially-flavored drinks.
Select a Back-friendly Book Bag
The wrong book bag can make your child’s walk to school a real pain in the neck--and back. Before you buy a back pack, make sure the straps are well-padded or opt for a bag with wheels and a handle.
Back-to-school time should be fun for everyone. With a little planning, keeping your family healthy and smiling will be a breeze.
More Useful Dental Tips for Children
- Be sure to visit your dentist regularly and brush twice a day.
- Brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes each time.
- Use a soft brush so it is gentle on the gums and remember to change your brush every 3 months.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen the enamel on your teeth.
- Floss - floss - floss!
- Eat healthily and choose snacks that are better for teeth such as fruits, vegetables, low-fat yogurt and cheese.