As your child grows, he or she will need regular checkups and hygiene visits to ensure optimal oral health. Our team will also teach oral homecare techniques so that your child can learn how to effectively brush and floss, with your help at first, then on his or her own. The dentist may recommend dental sealants or fluoride supplements. Sealants are thin, clear coatings that protect hard-to-clean back teeth from the sugars that cause tooth decay. Fluoride attracts other minerals to strengthen tooth enamel and ward off cavities. Because most bottled water does not contain fluoride, your child may be deficient in this essential mineral. Sealants and fluoride supplements are quick and easy protective measures that can save your little one from cavities.
Let us help your children learn the importance of optimal oral health from a young age. In some cases, we refer children to pedodontists, who are specialists in children's dentistry. We will help you make the best choices for your child's unique and precious personality.
Common Questions About Children’s Dentistry
When should my child start seeing the dentist?
Dental problems can begin at any age, so early exams and preventive care will ensure the health of your child’s smile, as well as instill good oral care habits. Your child should visit a dentist for the first time between the ages of 18 and 24 months or sooner if you have concerns.
When should I start cleaning my children's teeth?
You should begin cleaning your children's teeth with a damp washcloth or toothbrush as soon as they begin to erupt. Tooth brushing is an important job for parents of preschoolers. Children are usually unable to brush their own teeth well until they reach eight years of age. Be sure to check your child's teeth regularly for any chalky white or brown spots which could be the beginning of tooth decay.
Is my baby teething?
With the eruption of the primary baby teeth, parents can expect their baby to display increased salivation, restlessness, fretful behavior, and an increased tendency to put fingers and hands in his or her mouth. Other symptoms can include fever and systemic disturbances such as croup or diarrhea. These symptoms occur with tooth eruption and should be treated as advised by your pediatrician or dentist.
How can I provide relief from teething symptoms?
From the age of six months to three years, discomfort from teething can occur periodically and last for several days with each eruption. You can attempt to alleviate discomfort by offering your baby something clean to bite on such as a teething ring, cool spoon, wet washcloth, or toothbrush. You can also try massaging your baby's gums with your clean finger.
What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD)?
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is a common, yet preventable problem. It can result from a baby's teeth being exposed for long periods of time to liquids containing sugar. Common culprits include breast milk, formula, cow's milk, and juice. Make sure you never allow your baby to sleep with a baby bottle containing sugary liquid in his or her mouth. Limiting sweet or sticky snacks can also help prevent BBTD. Children with healthy teeth can chew food well, speak clearly, and share precious smiles.
Tooth decay is entirely preventable through parental awareness and the development of good oral hygiene habits. Make sure you always remove your baby from the breast and/or remove the bottle from his or her mouth when he or she falls asleep. Hold your baby while bottle feeding and always take a bottle filled with milk or juice away from a sleeping child. If your child requires a bottle at bedtime, provide a bottle filled with water or try comforting your child with a pacifier or a favorite toy or blanket.
Fluoride has been proven to reduce the incidence of tooth decay. Many municipal water systems supply fluoridated water. However, if your water supply is not fluoridated or contains less than recommended amounts of fluoride, supplements may be necessary for your children. If necessary, the administration of fluoride supplements should begin shortly after birth and continue through the time of eruption of the second permanent molars (approx. 12 years of age). Check with your healthcare provider to make sure your child is getting the right amount of fluoride.
What about soft drink consumption?
The recent large increase in soft drink consumption in our society has caused a huge increase in tooth decay, especially among young people. Soft drinks in general have approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar per 12 ounce can. They also generally are very acidic. These two factors dissolve tooth enamel very quickly. The dentition of a young person can go from decay-free to hopelessly decayed in a matter of a few years. It is an unprecedented public health disaster that was recently acknowledged by the Surgeon General. Because of the marketing efforts of soft drink manufacturers, we now have a whole generation of Americans who believe that the only option when thirsty is to reach for a can of pop. So… please be aware of this and protect your children and yourself. If you or someone you know has a problem with soft drink (or sweetened fruit juice) consumption, we can help with information and strategies to getting unhooked from the soft drink addiction. Reach for a glass of water instead!
How can I protect my athlete's teeth from injury?
A mouthguard is worth its weight in gold! It protects your smile by cushioning blows to the face and neck. They reduce the possibility of a concussion and protect teeth and soft tissues. Children and adults alike should make a mouthguard a mandatory part of their sporting equipment. Custom-fitted Pro-Form mouthguards are available from Grand Rapids Dental Care and will provide the best protection for teeth, braces, and fixed bridges while causing little interference with speaking or breathing. Although ready-made mouth guards can be purchased at sporting goods stores, they are the least effective and least comfortable option. Never wear removable appliances like retainers when playing sports.
Your Search for a Grand Rapids Dentist is Over!
Call today and reserve your appointment with Dr. Mike Hagley at our Grand Rapids dental office, we practice comprehensive dentistry for families in the Hibbing, Nashwauk, Deer River, and greater Itasca County areas. We look forward to helping you achieve a lifetime of happy, healthy smiles.