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Daily brushing and flossing are fundamental to a child’s dental care. Brushing removes bacteria and prevents the formation of plaque on the teeth. Otherwise, bacteria in the plaque produce acid that eats away at the tooth’s enamel and causes cavities. A child should begin brushing as soon as the first tooth comes in. Flossing is also important, as it removes bacteria and plaque that the toothbrush can’t reach. With young children, floss their teeth daily. When the child is old enough, a floss holder can help. Your pediatric dentist can help develop a preventive plan to help your child avoid cavities.
What about fluoride?
Fluoride makes tooth enamel stronger in order to help prevent cavities. It’s important to find out if your community water has fluoride. Ask your pediatric dentist if your child is getting the proper amount of fluoride. Your dentist will help create a preventive plan for your child with the optimal amount of fluoride that he or she may need.
Don’t forget sealants
Sealants are a safe and effective way of protecting your child’s back teeth from decay. A thin plastic coating is bonded to the chewing surfaces of the molars. The sealant forms a barrier that doesn’t allow food or bacteria to penetrate into the grooves and pits of those molars, protecting against cavities.
Nighttime bottle feeding should be stopped by age 1. However, teeth should be brushed as soon as they appear in the mouth. This is also the time you should schedule your first visit with our office. When a child is transitioned to a “sippy cup,” water is the recommended content. If you choose to give your child any sugary liquids (like juice or milk with cereal, or chocolate syrup, in example), then you should rinse your child’s mouth with water right after, and limit sugary liquid intake to only 6-8 oz per DAY. Sipping sugary liquids all day, whenever your child wants, can contribute to cavities.
Clean the area around the sore tooth thoroughly. Rinse the mouth vigorously with warm salt water or use dental floss to dislodge trapped food or debris. DO NOT place aspirin on the gum or on the aching tooth. Take acetaminophen or Motrin for pain and see a dentist as soon as possible.
Rinse dirt from injured area with warm water. Place cold compresses over the face in the area of the injury. Locate and save any broken tooth fragments and place in water or milk. Seek immediate dental attention.
Find the tooth. Handle the tooth by the top (crown), not the root portion. You may rinse the tooth, but do not clean or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Try to reinsert it in its socket. Have the child hold the tooth in place by biting on a clean gauze or cloth. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a container of cool milk or salt water. See a dentist IMMEDIATELY! Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth.
1. Remain calm
2. Reinsert tooth quickly, or keep moist
3. See dentist immediately
Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek
Apply ice to injured areas. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a clean gauze or cloth. If bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes or it cannot be controlled by simple pressure, take the child to a hospital emergency room.
If a broken dental appliance can be removed easily, take it out. If it cannot, cover the sharp or protruding portion with cotton balls, gauze, wax or chewing gum. If a wire is stuck in the gums, cheek or tongue, DO NOT remove it. Contact the child’s dentist. Loose or broken appliances that don’t bother the child usually do not require emergency attention.
If your child suffers other dental trauma, including trauma to the teeth and supporting bone structures, contact your dentist or go to the nearest emergency room. Children who experience facial swelling or acute dental pain that does not respond to over-the-counter pain medicine should seek advice from the dentist on-call.