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Posts for tag: baby teeth

Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay


Baby bottle tooth decay, or bottle mouth, is the name given to this common early childhood dental condition. Decay is caused by frequent and long exposures of an infant’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar. These liquids can include milk, breast milk, formula, fruit juice, sodas, sports drinks and other sweetened beverages. The symptoms vary, but often the child doesn’t eat or sleep well, wakes up for no apparent reason and cries frequently. The child is in pain.

 

Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when bacteria on the teeth, created from sugars in foods and beverages in the diet, form an acid that damages the tooth enamel. This acidic damage can lead to cavities and even infection and pain in your child.

 

Baby bottle tooth decay, or bottle mouth, gets its name from the prevalence of young children that suffer from cavities and decay primarily on their front top teeth, usually caused by going to sleep with a bottle or constantly drinking sugary beverages from a bottle. As the infant or child sucks the milk, juice, soda, etc., from a bottle, sugar sits on the front teeth, and bacteria use this sugar to form the acid that attacks the enamel.

 

If detected early, your pediatric dentist can apply a fluoride varnish to the affected areas to stop further damage. However, once the enamel has been severely damaged, and brown spots and cavities are visible, more restorative treatment will be needed.

 

Contrary to what many believe, baby teeth do matter. You don’t want your infant or young child to lose their teeth prematurely due to cavities. Baby teeth serve as placeholders for permanent teeth. When lost prematurely, the spacing of the permanent teeth can be affected, possibly leading to misaligned permanent teeth and the need for more extensive orthodontic treatment.  Young children that lose their baby teeth prematurely may also have a more difficult time eating a nutritious diet – and we all know that’s hard enough to do with all their teeth!
 

 

Tips for Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay:

 

  1. Never put your child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup containing anything but water.  (Even milk, formula and breast milk contain sugar that will cause the bacteria to create the acid that sits on the teeth and erodes the enamel.)
     
  2. Introduce a sippy cup to your child by 6 months old and try to ditch the bottle by 1 year old.
     
  3. Limit acidic foods in your child’s diet, especially juices.
     
  4. Brush your child’s teeth before bed or wipe your infant’s gums. Removing any sugar from the surface will help prevent bacteria from eating away at the enamel all night.

    *Once you have brushed your child’s teeth before bed, only offer water to drink. If your child has a snack or drinks anything other than water, be sure to brush again!

 As always, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry is here to help you with any questions you may have! Our dedicated team can help you come up with strategies for eliminating bedtime bottles and for preventing and treating tooth decay in your young children. Call us today at 864-760-1440 and let us give you and your child Something to Smile About!


Why You Should Bother with Baby Teeth

Baby teeth may be tiny, but they sure are mighty. Your child’s baby teeth actually set the stage for their future oral development, and taking care of them will help set the foundation for your child’s long-term oral health.


What is the purpose of primary, or baby teeth?

Aside from being cute, baby teeth actually play a big role in your child’s overall health. Baby teeth help the child chew, speak and smile. That means they contribute to your child’s nutrition, speech development and social development.


When do baby teeth arrive?

Your child’s primary, or baby teeth, are already present in the jaws at birth. They typically begin to erupt through the gums between 6 months and 1 year of age. Most children will have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are 3! That’s a lot of teeth in such a small mouth! And that’s why taking care of those teeth is so important.


What happens if I don’t take care of my child’s baby teeth?

When baby teeth are not cared for properly, by regular brushing and flossing, the child may develop cavities and/or painful abscesses. When a child has pain in their mouth, they are less likely to eat nutritious meals. They may also have a harder time playing, focusing and learning if they are in pain.

Severe dental decay on a child’s primary teeth can cause damage to the permanent teeth below if a dental abscess spreads below the baby tooth to the permanent tooth.


What happens if a baby tooth has to be extracted early (due to dental caries and decay)?

Many people think that if a baby tooth gets a cavity, it’s no big deal to just take it out and wait for the adult tooth to come in. This may not seem like a big deal, but remember, baby teeth play a major role in your child’s oral development! When a primary tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth underneath can begin to drift into the wrong space, causing adult teeth to come in crooked or crowded and leading to more orthodontic needs. This is why a pediatric dentist will often try to save the baby tooth, rather than extract it.


How can you take care of your child’s primary teeth?

Taking care of your child’s baby teeth doesn’t have to be hard. For infants, begin wiping their gums with a soft wash cloth within a few days after birth. As soon as the first tooth appears, it’s time to start brushing.

Aim to brush the tooth, or teeth, with an appropriately sized toothbrush twice a day. When two teeth are close enough to touch, they need to be flossed at least several times a week to prevent sugar and food from getting trapped between the tight spaces.

The earlier you begin practicing dental hygiene with your infant, the easier it will be and the smoother their first dental visit will go!


When should your child see the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends every child be seen by a dentist by age 1 or within six months after the first tooth erupts.


Anderson Pediatric Dentistry seeks to help you and your child achieve superior dental health. Our Anderson Pediatric Dentist team strives to provide top-quality dental care in a nurturing and fun environment. Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be scary and having a beautiful smile doesn’t have to be hard. From routine check-ups to dental sealants, cleanings to x-rays, we can take care of all your child’s dental needs. If you are looking for a dental home in the Anderson County or Upstate South Carolina area, call our office to at 760-864-1440 and let us give you Something to Smile About!

We hear it all the time. Do baby teeth even matter?


Yes! Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes! Baby teeth matter and we are going to tell you exactly why these little teeth are so important.


Your child’s primary teeth, often called their baby teeth, play a major role in their growth and development. We aren’t just talking about their oral health, here. We are talking about their overall, full-body, lifelong development and health.


Nutrition:


Baby teeth help your child eat and chew. They allow your child to eat a more balanced and varied diet, enabling them to receive the proper nutrition they need to grow and develop, both physically and mentally. Without teeth, the child cannot eat all solid foods and will not be able to break it down sufficiently for the body to absorb all the nutrients.


Speech:


Your child’s baby teeth aren’t just for cuteness. They actually help your child’s speech. The teeth play an important role in speech development and aiding the child in learning to form certain letter sounds. The tongue, lips and cheeks deflect off teeth when forming sounds. When teeth are not there, they cannot assist in the formation of the correct pronunciation of sounds, possibly leading to speech impediments.


Smile:


Who doesn’t love seeing a baby smile with just two front teeth? Those small little teeth are actually paving the way for your child’s permanent smile. Baby teeth take up space in the mouth and act as space holders in the jaw bone for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums. When a baby tooth is lost too early, or has to be removed because of decay, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty spaces, making it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in. This can lead to more crooked teeth and more costly orthodontic treatment later on.


Facial Development:


The tooth structure provides support for the child’s developing facial muscles, giving shape to your child’s face.


Focus and Attention:


A child in pain cannot focus on learning, playing and exploring the world. Dental pain from a decaying tooth can interfere with their ability to pay attention in school, can cause them to miss more school, and can affect their academic performance and grades.


Self-Esteem:


Decayed teeth can greatly affect a child’s self-esteem as it affects their social interactions with peers at school or in other social settings. A child that is embarrassed by their teeth may be hesitant to speak and engage with peers, may not want to smile and may have a harder time interacting with others. This can all lead to less confidence and lower self-esteem.


Check out this video from the ADA on why baby teeth are so important: Watch Video


As parents, it’s our job to help our children be happy and successful. Taking care of their baby teeth is an important part of helping them thrive! So, what can you do to care for your child’s primary teeth?

  1. Teach your child to develop good oral health care habits with their primary (baby) teeth. These early habits will help them keep those permanent teeth healthy for life!
  2. Limit juice and sugary drinks. Make water the beverage of choice.
  3. Do not put anything other than milk or water in a bottle.
  4. For infants, begin cleaning their mouth during the first few days after birth. Wipe gums with a clean, moist washcloth. Decay can occur as soon as teeth erupt, so start taking care of baby teeth as soon as you see them!
  5. For young children, start brushing teeth as soon as they come into the mouth. Brush twice a day, using a small amount of toothpaste- about the size of a grain of rice.
  6. As children get older, you should continue to supervise brushing, using a fluoride toothpaste and reminding them not to swallow toothpaste.
  7. As soon as two of the teeth begin to touch, you should begin cleaning between the teeth daily, using floss.
  8. Continue to supervise your child’s brushing until they can effectively brush alone, usually around 7-8 years old.
  9. Begin seeing a pediatric dentist before your child’s first birthday. Ideally, you should see your pediatric dentist for a check-up as soon as the first tooth arrives so that they can monitor the development, check for any problems and educate you on proper oral hygiene for your child.


If you are looking for a pediatric dental home for your infant, toddler or child, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry is here for you. As your local Anderson, SC pediatric dentist, we strive to offer our patients and their parents the best quality pediatric dental care in a safe and loving environment. We offer sealants, x-rays, laser dentistry, lip-tie and tongue-tie treatments, as well as emergency dental care and special needs dentistry. Give us a call at 864-760-1440 and let us give you Something to Smile About!

 

X-rays are a highly beneficial tool in the world of dentistry. An x-ray can help to diagnose tooth decay, gum disease and infections that may not be visible on the surface of the tooth. X-rays help monitor growth and development and allow the pediatric dentist to see potential problems before the tooth erupts. They also help screen for bone loss or pathology that may not be visible or currently be symptomatic. Without an x-ray, many of these problems could go undiagnosed. By using an x-ray as a reference, your dentist will be better equipped to prepare tooth implants, dentures, braces, and other similar treatments.  

 

However, like many things in life, there are drawbacks to dental x-rays, as well. Exposure to radiation can be harmful to humans, as it damages cells. Pediatric dentists and parents are, therefore, wise to know the truth about the radiation from x-rays and balance the benefits with any possible drawbacks.  

 

Anderson Pediatric Dentistry adheres to the ALARA principle. ALARA stands for "as low as reasonably achievable". This principle means that we strive to expose our patients to as little radiation as possible, using as few x-rays procedures as we can, while still providing the best patient care. We also follow th recommended practive guidelines to reduce exposure when performing x-rays. To do this, we use three basic protective measures in radiation safety: time, distance, and shielding. By usinf the following techniques, we are able to limit radiation exposure to our patients:  

 

·        Use of the fastest image receptor (the fastest film speed or digital speed) 

·        Reduction in the size of the x-ray beam to the size of the image receptor whenever possible 

·        Use of proper exposure and processing techniques 

·        Use of leaded aprons and, whenever possible, thyroid collars 

 

While x-rays do expose individuals to radiation, it’s important to remember that we are all exposed to certain levels of radiation in our everyday life. Eating a banana, living in a brick home and even watching television expose you relatively small levels of radiation each day. As pediatric dentists, we weigh the benefits of treating dental issues with the potential harm. A routine exam, which includes 4 bitewings is about 0.005 mSv. This amount is less than one day of natural background radiation and about the same amount of radiation exposure one would receive from a short airplane flight of 1-2 hours. (www.xrayrisk.com/faq.php). Using digital X-Rays, as we do at Anderson Pediatric Dentistry, significantly reduces this amount to be even less. 

 

There are ways for parents and dentists to help minimize the need for x-rays. Request a visual exam be done prior to consenting to x-rays. If you have current x-rays from a previous dentist, make sure to transfer these to your current dentist to eliminate the need for repeat x-rays. While dental x-rays are considered extremely safe, and often essential, it’s important to understand the procedures and any potential exposure to radiation so that you can be sure that the benefits outweigh the inherent risks.

 

If you have questions or concerns, never hesitate to discuss the need for x-rays with your pediatric dentist so that you can best care for and protect your child’s dental and overall health. 

Anderson Pediatric Dentistry strives to be your go-to resource for pediatric dental health. If you are looking for a dental home for your child, we welcome you to call our office today at 864-760-1440. Let us give you Something to Smile About! 

 

This month, our family will celebrate our youngest daughter turning two. It’s a bit ironic to celebrate a toddler turning two, as we all know that the terrible twos are anything but something to celebrate! But, along with the tantrums, defiance and unpredictability, two-year-olds also have some major milestones to look forward to. Getting their two-year-old molars is just one milestone that comes during this crazy year!

So, when will your child get his or her two-year-old molars? Do these teeth serve a purpose? And how can you care for your child during the teething and their new teeth once they arrive? Let’s find out!

The two-year-old molars are also referred to as second molars. They are the large, flat teeth at the very back of your child’s mouth. Their primary use is for grinding food. As your child grows and begins to eat more types of foods, these teeth are especially helpful for chewing and digestion.

Two-year molars usually arrive sometime between 23 and 33 months. Typically, the lower set will arrive fist, around 23 to 31 months, with the upper set following closely after around 25 to 33 months.

While I would love to tell you that they will arrive unnoticed, chances are, your child will experience some sort of teething symptoms, such as pain/ tenderness, irritability and crankiness. They may even have a low-grade fever. This is normal and to be expected, as these molars are large, and must force their way up through the gums, which is not always a pleasant experience.

Most two-year-olds are not able to identify the pain as “teething” and won’t be able to tell you what is wrong. You can help your child during this time by being aware of the symptoms and ready to help your child cope. Signs that your child is getting his or her second molars include:

-        Increased chewing on toys, fingers or clothing

-        Drooling more than normal

-        Irritability and crankiness

-        More nighttime fussiness, as they are less distracted and more focused on the pain

-        Low grade rectal temperature

(Please note that teething will not cause a high fever. If your child experiences a high fever, you should seek medical attention, as this is not caused by teething.)

 

 

Just like when your child got his or her first tooth, there are ways to help alleviate the pain and fussiness. Once you recognize the symptoms of teething, help your child through a rough few days by using these simple soothers:

 

-        Give the child a cold, wet wash cloth soaked in ice water

-        Offer teething toys for chewing

-        Distract your child with singing, coloring, building, dancing, etc.

-        Administer children’s Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen to help reduce discomfort for 1 or 2 days.
(pain that lasts longer than a couple of days needs to be evaluated by your pediatrician.)

-        Apply moisturizers to the skin around the mouth to prevent dryness caused by drooling.

 

Remember, teething only lasts a few days and your child will be back to his or her happy, active self. Once those two-year-old molars are in, be sure to take care of them with daily care!

If you have questions about your child’s oral development or you are looking for a dentist for your child, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry would love top be your dental home! Call our office at 864-760-1440 and let is give you Something to Smile About!