Prior to eruption of the first baby tooth you should brush baby’s gums and tongue using a finger brush or wet washcloth with an infant training toothpaste after feeding. Fluoride toothpaste should be used as soon as the first baby tooth erupts.
Your child should brush twice a day – once in the morning and once before bed. It is recommended to help them with brushing until they are eight years old. Brushing should be twice a day for two minutes each time – brushing the teeth, gums and tongue. Floss or floss sticks should be used once spaces between the teeth close. This usually occurs around 4 years of age. A fluoride mouthwash, such as ACT or Listerine Smart Rinse, should be used before bed once your child learns to swish and spit. It is important to note that the water in the Greater Westfield area is well water. This means it is not fluoridated and puts us at risk for more cavities. Talk with us about starting your child on a fluoride multivitamin as soon as the first tooth erupts.
It is important to maintain a healthy diet. Minimizing exposure to sweets and sugar is a must! We know everyone loves treats so we feel everything in moderation is a good rule of thumb. When choosing candy, chocolate is preferred over the sticky ooey gooey gummy bears and bubble gum. Xylitol lollipops and chewing gum have been found to prevent cavities. Choose these options instead! They are often sold at your local health food markets. Snacks can be tricky too. Constant snacking means constantly exposing your teeth to sugars and acids. Crackers, such as Goldfish, are big culprits for remaining stuck in the grooves of our teeth all day long, a potential cause for cavities. Choosing milk and water over juice, sports drinks and soda is ideal. Water is always the best choice – for our bodies AND for our teeth. The same applies for babies using bottles, sippy cups or breastfeeding. Even breast milk has naturally occurring sugars and coat the teeth when feeding. Early childhood caries sometimes known as “baby bottle decay” can occur when putting your child to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. Teeth should always be brushed or wiped after feeding in the night, including breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends switching from bottle to cup by 12 months of age. Dr. Frank loves talking with patients about healthy eating. Fun fact! He has his Bachelor’s degree in nutritional science. Feel free to pick his brain when you’re here!!!
Probiotics are very important for digestive health from infants to adults. There are even probiotics targeted to oral health to help prevent certain cavity-causing bacteria. Dr. Aimee recommends Hyperbiotics Pro-Kids ENT, which is sold at Target. Click here for more info. It is also important for growing teenagers to take calcium supplements.
Contact sports, such as hockey, lacrosse, soccer, football, skiing/snowboarding, skateboarding, or any activity that involves potential trauma to the mouth, requires a helmet and mouth guards. We always want to protect our pearly whites. There are many options for choosing a mouth guard. Ask at your next visit with Dr. Aimee or Dr. Frank!
Wisdom teeth are the third molars. They typically grow in between age 16-21. Many people do not have room in their jaws or their wisdom teeth grow in sideways, or impacted, and need to have them taken out. Often we will recommend removing wisdom teeth before they become a problem if we feel it is indicated, but problems with wisdom teeth present as pain in the lower jaw stretching to your ear & discomfort chewing.
“My ultimate goal is to make every child’s dental visit a positive experience. I find it incredibly rewarding to replace children’s dental fears with joy and anticipation for their next visit!”
– Dr. Aimee