Dr. Ben Danieldon, MD and Oral Health
Before teeth – wipe gums at least 2 times a day.
When should I start brushing my baby’s teeth?
As soon as baby teeth appear, please start brushing. Let your toddlers brush along with you when they want to be just like mommy or daddy. Babies can start to see a dentist as soon as their teeth start to come in. Toddlers need to see the dentist for regular checkups, too. Ask your dentist for a “happy visit” to meet and greet your toddler, and to start what hopefully will become a lifelong positive experience with dentists. Find a pediatric dentist in your area who can spot potential problems before they happen. For more information on finding a dentist visit Smile CA at https://smilecalifornia.org/find-a-dentist/
Why is using a cup advisable with my toddler?
Your child needs to eat a lot of different foods to grow. If he fills up on drinks from a bottle, he will not eat enough of the other good foods. He could have other problems from using a bottle too long: tooth decay, anemia, too much weight gain or ear infections. (Source: WIC)
Can children get tooth decay?
Children can get tooth decay when they drink from a bottle, or even a training cup, many times during the day or night because milk, baby formula, juice, and sweet drinks all have sugar. This sugar can rot your child’s teeth if he or she goes to sleep with a bottle or drink from a bottle or training cup still in his/her mouth. Tooth decay can be very painful. Baby teeth are important! The health of the baby teeth determines the health of the permanent teeth. Baby teeth help your child eat well and talk, and they help the permanent/adult teeth come in straight and healthy. Baby teeth are not “throw away” teeth.
Dental decay is the #1 chronic disease among children
Local dental screenings of third graders found at least 25% of our children in Solano County have significant dental issues and approximately 21% needed to see a dentist soon. Shockingly, 4% have critical issues like broken teeth, urgently needed root canals, and even abscesses (pockets of infection) that can become dangerous enough to require a trip to the emergency room if not seen by a dentist right away.
Dental pain and school attendance
Did you know that if your student is having a hard time in school, it could be due to a toothache? When students miss school, it is much easier to fall behind. Dental pain from an infection makes it difficult for a student to concentrate in school and participate in activities. A child who picks at food and avoids hard, crunchy food like carrots and apples may have a toothache or serious abscess (infection). Have your child visit a dentist twice a year, brush twice a day and floss. Brush as soon as possible after eating foods that stick to the teeth.
Protect your child’s teeth with dental sealants and fluoride treatments
The American Dental Association reports that sealants reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars! Sealants last for years. They prevent food from collecting in the tiny cracks and crevices in molars that are hard to reach with a toothbrush, thus preventing cavities. Your dentist or registered dental hygienist can coat the tops of your child’s molars with dental sealants.
Dentists and dental hygienists also can provide fluoride varnish for your child’s teeth. Fluoride varnish is a gel applied to teeth to protect them from cavities. These treatments strengthen tooth enamel and support oral health.
Young people whose permanent teeth were treated with fluoride varnish experienced a 43% reduction in decayed, missing and filled-tooth surfaces. There was a 37% reduction in decayed, missing and filled-tooth surfaces when fluoride varnish was applied on first or baby teeth.
Eating sugary foods and drinks, as teens often do, puts them at a higher risk for gum disease and tooth decay. Teenagers who continue to get regular check-ups ensure good oral health well into adulthood.
Good oral health is important during pregnancy
It’s important to visit your dentist during pregnancy. Maintaining good oral health is a vital part of your prenatal care. Click here to learn more about oral health and pregnancy.
Once your baby is born, let your family members and caregivers know that it is possible, without knowing, to transmit oral bacteria to your baby by kissing him/her on the mouth. And, putting spoons, bottle nipples or pacifiers in your mouth to “clean” them if they fall on the floor or are otherwise dirty, in fact, transfers bacteria from your mouth to your baby which contributes to future tooth decay!
Breastfeeding is best for mom and baby
When possible, breastfeeding is healthiest. To help make it easier, there are many lactation resources available. A dental decay risk from bottle-feeding happens when your baby falls asleep with a bottle of formula, breast milk, or juice in his/her mouth. The sugary liquid pools in your infant’s mouth and soaks there for hours. This repeated exposure to sugary drinks leads to tooth decay. If you need to lay your baby down with a bottle, make sure it contains only water.
Remember: after your baby eats or drinks, wipe his/her gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth.
As we get older, taking care of our health becomes more and more important. Good oral health can help prevent tooth loss and improve physical health.
As an older adult, you are prone to gum disease and other oral health problems, but by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and seeing your dentist regularly, you can lower your risk.