Here are some specific things to do to take care of your children’s dental health.

  1. Never have your infant sleep with their bottle. The formula, milk, or juices will cause extensive decay. If they fall asleep when you’re feeding them, make sure to take the bottle away.

  2. If your infant is inclined to suck their fingers or a pacifier, I would suggest that a pacifier is much better. An orthodontic shaped one, such as a “Nuk”, is shaped to fit their mouth much better then their fingers and will cause less distortion in the alignment of their growing teeth and mouth.  It will also be a lot easier for them to eventually stop using it. A pacifier is a “baby thing” that they will want to give up. Thumbs and fingers are always there and the habit is hard to break.

  3. Decay is enemy #1. Fortunately, it’s possible and completely achievable for them be completely decay free for a lifetime. As I described in the Care and Prevention section, eliminating sugar habits is our main priority.  Chewing sugar gum, sucking on hard candies, or sipping sugary drinks all day long are sure fire ways to cause decay. I know that they will probably eat plenty of things that contain sugar, but limit them to mealtimes or occasional snacks.  It’s the constant exposure to sugar from sugar habits that will cause problems. Please refer to the Care and Prevention section for a more detailed review of the causes and prevention of decay. Fluoridated water strengthens our children’s teeth and is very beneficial in preventing decay. The amount of the fluoride in our drinking water is very specific to obtaining the best results, which brings us to our next topic.

  4. When your child starts brushing, use a non-fluoridated toothpaste. Too many children will swallow the toothpaste instead of spitting it out. They get way too much fluoride this way which will actually harm the developing teeth.  The minimal benefits of the fluoride in the toothpaste are not worth the risk of getting too much from swallowing it. Let them get the proper amount from drinking water.
  5. When the first permanent adult molars erupt around six years of age, they usually have deep pits and fissures on the biting surface. These areas trap food and sugars and cause the tooth to be exposed much longer to their decay causing effects. These areas are the weakest part of the tooth and decay much more easily. Fortunately, a pit and fissure sealant can be applied to these surfaces. It’s a plastic resin that’s bonded in these grooves, sealing them off, and making them virtually undecayable. Remember though that the rest of the smooth surface of the tooth is still susceptible to the detrimental effects of sugar, so we still have to avoid those sugar habits.

  6. It’s recommended that your children’s teeth be examined starting at one year old. However, I usually do not start cleaning their teeth until they are three or four.  It’s usually too hard for them to do this before then. If you’re doing your part in preventing decay, it isn’t necessary before then anyway.  I do suggest bringing your child to your dental check ups by at least the age of two. This way they can get use to the office by visiting us three or four times before they actually get their own teeth cleaned.