Pediatric Dentistry Of Sunset Hills

"Every Child Deserves a Pediatric Dentist!"

Sunset Hills
314-822-2764
Wentzville
636-327-7645
Arnold
636-287-3333

Early Decay Prevention

Starting proper oral care at a young age is important to healthy adult teeth.

Protect Your Child's Teeth Early

At Pediatric Dentistry of Sunset Hills, we will treat your infant or toddler’s first dental visit like a well child visit at your pediatrician. You will stay with your child the entire time as a member of our dental staff reviews the medical and dental history of your child. The dentist will then complete a thorough dental examination with the infant in your lap in order to assess growth and development, oral hygiene, injuries, and other problems. The dentist will then clean the teeth as indicated, and provide suggestions about daily home care. Evaluate your child’s fluoride exposure, assess your child’s risk for developing tooth decay, discuss specific oral health concerns you may have like tooth grinding, pacifiers, or thumb sucking, and make recommendations on good feeding habits. The dentist will then answer any questions you may have, and plan for needed dental treatment or the next checkup.

Before Your Child Is Born

Even before your child is born, there are things you can do to help assure the baby’s teeth develop properly and healthy. A balanced diet is very important for the pregnant mom because the baby’s teeth begin to form between the third and sixth month of pregnancy. A diet that has proper amounts of vitamins A, C and D, protein, calcium and phosphorous helps develop healthy teeth. Inadequate nutrition on the mom’s part can result in poorly formed tooth enamel that can make the developing teeth have weaker, softer teeth, which are more prone to developing cavities once they erupt.

Taking Care of Your Teeth and Gums When Pregnant

A pregnant woman should be making sure her teeth and gums are in a healthy condition in order to avoid problems with her own teeth and gums. During pregnancy hormone levels increase. This can cause gums to become red, puffy, or become tender. This response can cause the gums to bleed easily when brushed. Mothers should see a dentist regularly throughout their pregnancy to help avoid problems, by having plaque removed and detecting any cavities, which may be occurring.

Teething

Some babies may become fussy, sleepless, or irritable when they are beginning to erupt teeth. They may be sleepless, lose their appetite or drool excessively. Teething infants may want to suck a finger, thumb, or pacifier for comfort. You can let your child chew on a cool washcloth, spoon, or teething ring. You can also give them the appropriate dose of children’s Tylenol or Ibuprophen a half hour before bedtime to keep them comfortable through the night. Avoid the numbing medications like Ora-Jel because this can numb the child’s tongue or lips and cause the child to injure themselves if they rub their numb tongue over the new, sharp teeth coming in. Diarrhea, rashes, or a high fever are not normal symptoms for a teething baby. If your child has any of these symptoms, it could be a sign of another illness; consult your with your child’s physician.

smiling childPreventing Cavities in your Child

Cavities occur when bacteria in a person’s mouth interact with the carbohydrates from food that may be on the teeth. The bacteria forms plaque, which in turn turns to acid if left on the tooth for an extended period of time. This acid will attack the enamel, making the tooth enamel chalky at first. This weakened enamel can break down even more, creating cavities in the teeth.

A baby may not start to get teeth until they are age 6 months or later,
but there are still some things you can do before teeth erupt to make sure they come into a healthy environment. The bacteria in a caregiver’s mouth can be passed on to their child. If a mom or dad has cavities that are present or gum disease, the “bad” bacteria that cause tooth decay can get transferred to the child through contact with the parent’s saliva.

Sharing utensils or cups, or blowing on food can cause the cavity causing bacteria to be passed on. If a mom or dad’s mouth is healthy, there is a much better chance that “good” bacteria, rather than “bad” bacteria will develop in the baby’s mouth. You can ask the dentist how to decrease the “bad” bacteria in your mouth.

For Our Younger Patients (Under age 3)

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child see a dentist by their first birthday, or within 6 months of the first tooth breaking through the gums. At Pediatric Dentistry of Sunset Hills, we will treat your infant or toddler’s first dental visit like a well child visit at your pediatrician. You will stay with your child the entire time as a member of our dental staff reviews the medical and dental history of your child. The dentist will then complete a thorough dental examination with the infant in your lap in order to assess growth and development, oral hygiene, injuries, and other problems. The dentist will then clean the teeth as indicated, and provide suggestions about daily home care. Evaluate your child’s fluoride exposure, assess your child’s risk for developing tooth decay, discuss specific oral health concerns you may have like tooth grinding, pacifiers, or thumb sucking, and make recommendations on good feeding habits. The dentist will then answer any questions you may have, and plan for needed dental treatment or the next checkup.

Infant Oral Hygiene Toothbrush

A child may not like getting their teeth brushed if they have never had a toothbrush in their mouth before. You can start wiping the gums of the infant even before any teeth are visible. The child will get used to this cleansing action after feedings, and they will be less likely to get upset when a toothbrush is introduced once they start getting teeth. A washcloth or burp rag is all that is needed to wipe the teeth in the beginning. Once teeth begin to come in you can get a soft bristled toothbrush that has a small head to fit in the baby’s mouth. Make sure the handle is long enough for you to hold onto it, however, since you will need to be the one brushing the child’s teeth. Check the toothbrush periodically and replace if bristles bent or worn. Teeth will not be cleaned effectively if the toothbrush is in bad shape.

Toothpaste

For children under the age of three, an ingestible, training toothpaste which is labeled "fluoride free" or a smear of fluoride containing toothpaste can be used until the child can properly spit the toothpaste out. Fluorosis can occur if excessive fluoride is accidentally swallowed over a long length of time, resulting in possible discoloration of the permanent teeth, which are still developing under the gums. Your child can practice spitting the ingestible toothpaste around 2 1/2 or 3 years of age, then switch to a "pea sized" amount of fluoride toothpaste when appropriate. The kid-flavored toothpastes are fine for your child to use. There is a better chance your child will brush longer if he or she likes the flavor.

Flossing

You can introduce flossing when your child’s teeth begin to touch. In many children, the very back molars are the only teeth that are close together. Tell your child that you will only floss in four spots (Between the last two teeth in each corner of the mouth) and let your child floss the easy areas in the front. Many children will not be able to floss on their own until they have the exterity to tie their own shoes.

Teamwork

As children get older, they get more independent and want to do things on their own. Let them brush first, and then tell them it’s mom or dad’s turn to check. Wet the toothbrush and clean the child’s teeth, telling them what a good job they have done. The child will get a sense of satisfaction and you will know that all of the plaque has been removed. You can even have a wall chart or sticker page hanging on the bathroom wall to monitor your child’s tooth brushing.

striped fish with toothbrushFeeding Habits

The Bottle

Your child’s teeth can be at risk for developing cavities as soon as they erupt into the mouth. The most common cause of cavities in children under the age of 3 is when they fall asleep with a bottle full of anything other than water. Formula, milk, and juice all contain sugars, which can combine with the bacteria in the mouth and create plaque. If sugars aren’t cleaned from the child’s teeth, the plaque build-up can eat away at the tooth surfaces and cause cavities if they rest on your child’s teeth for a long period of time. Teeth are especially vulnerable during sleep hours, when the mouth is dry due to less saliva, which protects teeth. Get into the habit of wiping your child’s teeth and offer only water if they are thirsty in the middle of the night.

The Sippy Cup

A sippy cup full of milk or juice can cause the same type of cavities if the child is sipping for long periods of time. Offering milk or juice at mealtime is fine because the child will be drinking it for only a limited period. Water should be given at all other times. Remember: It’s not the bottle or sippy cup that causes cavities; it’s the liquid that is in it.

Healthy Foods

A good diet is important for a child’s growth and development. The pre-school years are an important time to help your child establish good eating habits. Children should eat a variety of foods from the five major food groups:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Breads, cereals, and other grain products
  • Milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • Meat, poultry, fish, and alternatives like dry beans and peas, nuts,
    and eggs

The length of time a child eats is also important in preventing dental decay. A child that “grazes” throughout the day, snacking often, does not give the mouth a chance for saliva to build up in order to clear out the sugars that are in the mouth. Frequent snacking may mean frequent acid attacks and an increased risk for tooth decay.

Sticky Snacks

Candy is not the only thing that can cause cavities. Other foods can be worse for the teeth than others. Some foods can remain on the teeth for longer periods of time, increasing the chance for your child to develop tooth decay. Fruit snacks and fruit rollups have corn syrup and sugar added to it, making them bad snacks for a child's oral health. Even dried fruits like raisins have natural sugars, and can get stuck in between and on teeth, making it more difficult to keep the teeth clean. If your child takes gummy vitamins, make sure you brush and floss your child’s teeth afterwards. This type of vitamin is not only sticky, but it has sugar and corn syrup added to it as well.

Sweet snacks that are better for teeth include Jello, pudding, yogurt, and ice cream. These foods may have just as much sugar in them, but they are not going to be as sticky on the teeth, and will wash off with the mouth’s saliva.

Contact Information

We Love Taking Care of Kids Teeth! Contact Us Today!

Office hours are by appointment only.

Available days are determined by the treating doctor, please call 314-822-2764 Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Selected Saturdays are available for routine six-month Exam and Cleaning. Appointments only from 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

To request or confirm an appointment, simply contact the office during normal business hours at 314-822-2764.

Pediatric Dentistry
Pediatric Dentistry Of Sunset Hills
3555 Sunset Office Drive
Suite #210
Sunset Hills, MO 63127
314-822-2764
Wentzville
1008 Schroeder Creek Blvd
Wentzville, MO 63385
636-327-7645
Arnold
22 Arnold Mall
Arnold, MO 63010
636-287-3333
info@dentistforkids.net
 
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