At Dental Care South, your local children’s dentistry, we want to provide quality care for all of our patients, even our smallest patients. We believe that a strong dental foundation is essential for life-long healthy teeth and that starts when your child’s first tooth erupts. It is our mission to teach children and their parents the correct techniques for tooth decay prevention, effective brushing and flossing, and overall good oral hygiene. Our family dentist and staff have put together prevention tips for your children and their dental treatment in Tuscaloosa.
Infancy & New Teeth
Some parents believe that children do not need to see the dentist until they have all their teeth, but this is simply not true. At Dental Care South, our family dentist wants to see your child at two years old. If they experience any problems before then, we are always happy to help. As your child’s new teeth erupt, we can actually see potential dental problems in the early stages and address them before they become major dental issues. A couple problems we can correct before they cause damage include:
- Baby bottle decay is caused by sugary substances in breast milk, formula, and juices, which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby’s mouth. If left untreated, baby bottle decay can lead to premature decay of your baby’s teeth. The best way to avoid this dental issue is by not giving your baby a bottle at bedtime or nap time. If a bottle is absolutely necessary, only fill it with water. This will prevent tooth decay on your child’s newly erupted teeth.
- Pacifiers or other teething rings are great to soothe a baby’s mouth and gum area when new teeth are erupting. However, when used too long, they can actually interfere with the development of your child’s teeth. For children under the age of four, pacifiers and teething rings are fine, but once they are four years of age, they should be discouraged and not used.
- Thumb-sucking, similar to pacifier use, is fine for babies and young toddlers. Thumb-sucking can help children fall asleep without a pacifier or soothe them during the pains of teething. For most children, they will naturally stop sucking their thumb between the ages of two and four years old. However, if this does not happen, thumb-sucking should be discouraged as it can cause malformed, crooked, or crowded teeth.
Primary & Permanent Teeth
As your baby grows and develops, 20 primary teeth will erupt, normally by the age of three. These teeth will then slowly fall out and be replaced by 28 permanent teeth. It is critical that oral hygiene is taught and taken seriously from a young age to ensure healthy teeth free from decay, cavities, and other dental problems. Our children’s dentistry wants you and your family to practice preventative dental care, including:
- Brushing effectively begins with babies through their childhood. A baby’s teeth and gums can be brushed with special infant toothbrushes that can fit over the parent’s finger. At this stage, water is perfectly fine to brush with. Once your child has more teeth, you can use a non-fluoride toothpaste, suitable for children under the age of two. Primary teeth can be brushed with a small, child-size toothbrush with soft bristles and a pea-size amount of toothpaste. Remember to teach your child to spit out the toothpaste after brushing.
- Fluoride is essential to build strong teeth and prevent tooth decay. Most public and community water systems have fluoride in the drinking water, however, your child may not be receiving an adequate amount of fluoride. Please ask our Tuscaloosa, AL family dentist about your child’s fluoride today.
- Toothaches are common in childhood and may be a sign of a new tooth erupting. However, they may also signify another problem like a cavity. To relieve the pain, your child can rinse their mouth with salt and water. If the pain does not subside, they may take an over the counter pain relief like acetaminophen, according to their height and weight. If pain is still occurring after medication has been taken, please contact our children’s dentistry in Tuscaloosa immediately.
- Injuries are normal during childhood, especially when playing sports. However, we can take steps to reduce them. For children playing sports or physical activities, they should wear a mouthguard to protect their teeth, gums, and jaw. If a more serious injury has occurred like a tooth falling out, fractured tooth, or damage to the mouth, please contact our team at Dental care South immediately.
- Sealants can be an important prevention technique against cavities. Our family dentist can fill in the small ridges of your child’s teeth to seal and protect each tooth from plaque and decay. This application can benefit your child for several years and keep them cavity free!
Schedule Your Child’s Next Appointment With Dental Care South!
Are you looking for children’s dental care in Tuscaloosa, AL? Look no further than Dental Care South. Our dentist will provide your child with top-notch dental treatment in Tuscaloosa like dental cleanings, dental crowns when necessary, and dental x-rays. Contact our team by calling our office directly or by scheduling an appointment online. We can’t wait to hear from you and start your child’s dental journey!