During these sleepless nights and long days of caring for your adorable baby, it’s sometimes hard to remember that this cute little bundle will all-to-soon grow into an adult. We don’t think too much about it, but consider how much your baby’s jaw and teeth and gums change between birth and adulthood! We start with a mouth full of gums and begin sprouting teeth within a few months. A few years later, we lose those teeth, only to be replaced by a brand new set … not to mention how drastically our jaws change during these formative years. The growth is astounding. Our bodies are indeed miraculous.
Our job as parents is to do our best to insure that disease and traumatic accidents don’t interrupt the growth of our baby, including the teeth and jaw. Of course, accidents are called accidents for a reason and, no matter how healthy of a lifestyle we provide for our little ones, sometimes disease sneaks into our lives. But, those things aside, here are some steps you CAN take now to help your baby off to a life of stellar oral hygiene and dental health:
Don’t give your baby sugars. It’s bad for health overall and especially for oral health. The bacteria in our bodies love sugar. And, as you know from other posts on this blog, when the bacteria in the mouth multiply, a byproduct is acid. The acid erodes tooth enamel and that is followed by decay (cavities). No sugary snacks. No sugary drinks, in general. Especially be diligent to never, ever give *anything* (breastmilk, formula, juice, etc.) in a bottle immediately before or during sleep.
Minimize the opportunity for accidents at home
If only we could protect them from all the harms of this world … but we can’t. You can, however, childproof your home. Here’s an interesting oral health statistic for you: at least 50% of all accidents to teeth in children under 7 years old are due to children falling on home furniture. No, you don’t need to get rid of all of your furniture, but do pay attention to sharp edges and hard surfaces. The seat of a dining room chair is the “perfect” height for a small child to fall into and damage teeth. Consider making the main play area away from furniture. Once your child begins to play sports, invest in a mouthguard (ok, so it’s not really childproofing your home … but it’s still a good tip!)
Give your baby a gift and practice oral hygiene now, no matter how small he or she is. If oral hygiene is just a normal part of life, your babies will grow up naturally taking care of their gums, teeth, and tongue and will get the payoff of a beautiful smile. Even before there are visible teeth, you can clean your baby’s gums with a clean, wet cloth after each feeding (brush after eating). Once there are some teeth, begin using a tiny, very soft brush after each meal. Don’t use more than the equivalent of a grain of rice of toothpaste.
Visit the Dentist as birthday gift
Turning 1 year old is an important milestone. Mark it by taking your baby to his first dental appointment! Again, this sets up a habit of taking care of teeth and it also provides the opportunity for the dentist to detect problems early.
Baby, baby, please brush your teeth
You may think that we already addressed this topic in the “Don’t wait to start oral hygiene” section, but you’re wrong. This encouragement is for YOU! You strive to be a good example for your children. Let that intention extend into involving them in your own oral hygiene from day one. Take your baby into the bathroom with you when you brush your teeth. Make a point of brushing after meals … and take your baby along, always explaining about the importance of cleaning your teeth after eating. Make a game of it – Smile in the mirror with your baby, have fun and enjoy these precious months!
Oral health. It’s important. Going to the dentist for preventative and maintenance care is a key factor in ensuring that your child has great oral health. Maybe you, yourself, fear going to the dentist. Or, maybe your best friend has told you stories about how her child fears going to the dentist and what an ordeal it is to get her teeth cleaned.
What can you do to decrease your child’s fears and anxieties about going to the dentist?
- Do NOT tell them that it is scary. Instead, exude a sense of excitement about how cool it is to go to the dentist.
- Start taking your child to the dentist early. If you child grows up going to the dentist regularly, then she is less likely to equate this activity as something to fear or be anxious about. Instead, you can set out your semi-annual visits as a special “date” and a fun event that happens regularly.
- Before you go to the dentist, educate your child about what to expect. Sure, going to the dentist can seem like a trip to a foreign country with all of the peculiar goings-on in the office. Let your child know what to expect. You can also read books about going to the dentist, watch videos on the internet (make sure to preview first!), and make-believe “Going to the Dentist.”
- Give them the experience as an observer. Part of educating your child is to lead by example. Schedule a dental appointment for yourself prior to when your child’s appointment will be and take your child with you. Now, if you are one of the approximately 15% of adults who fear going to the dentist, you will have to exercise your best self-control and make use of your best acting abilities to exude excitement and calm about going!
- Take the time to find a good pediatric dentist. Especially for small children, these offices are an excellent choice because they will often use smaller instruments, give better treasure chest rewards after the appointment, and provide a child friendly environment.
- During the exam, stay with your child and remain calm and positive and curious. This behavior will calm and reassure your child.
- Finally, remind your child that this is something that everyone does (or should do) and that it will help them to be healthy and strong.
It’s true, going to the dentist can be stressful, especially when there are procedures to be completed. But with encouragement and a positive attitude, your child can and will enjoy this part of their healthcare.
Once upon a time, my adorable 4-year-old son was being a big boy and helping his daddy change the tires on our truck. He was so proud of himself, being with his dad and doing hard work. So proud that he decided that he was certainly strong enough to pick up one of those big ol’ tires all by his little ol’ self. He knelt down, shimmied his hands under the tire, took a deep breath and lifted that side of the tire up with a giant grin on his face, “Look Daddy!” he shouted just before losing his grip and dropping the tire
…which hit the ground hard
…and bounced up into the air, smashing squarely into those adorable top baby teeth.
All of them. They were jammed up into the gums.
This certainly seemed like a dental emergency to me. Despite all of our efforts to protect his teeth – regular brushing, trying to get regular flossing in, wearing a mouth guard when he played ice hockey (yes, at 4-years-old, he was already an avid ice hockey player!), and going to the dentist twice a year.
But was it an emergency?
Dental emergencies are typically due to injury. This was definitely an injury. Emergencies typically involve a tooth being knocked out, cracked, or chipped. His teeth were all intact. *Really* intact – as in jammed up into the gums! The other categories of emergency are extreme pain or an object that is jammed between teeth. It was hard to tell if he was in pain or not because he was scared.
As parents, we felt that this incident qualified as an emergency. And then it hit us: We had no idea what to do in the case of a dental emergency! Through trial and error and talking with the dentist, we learned how to respond correctly. I hope that you never have to deal with an injury to your child’s teeth. But, if you do (and you probably will because kids will be kids), here is a plan for response to a dental injury:
- Stay calm!
- Stop the bleeding quickly. Mouths bleed A LOT and your job as the responsible adult it to get that bleeding stopped as quickly as possible. Use gauze or a clean cloth and apply gentle, but firm pressure to the wound. As the bleeding slows, you will be able to assess the injury better. Sometimes, a cut in the lip seems like it’s going to be a serious injury, but as the bleeding is staunched, you can see that it’s nothing that a little ice and a few snuggles won’t cure.
- Check the wound. If you find a cracked or chipped tooth, you’ll need to get to the dentist as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
- (if applicable) Find the tooth! If your child has knocked out a tooth, find it and then call the dentist. Dentists can actually put baby teeth back in (who would have thought that was possible?!?) and your dentist may want to do this. The other reason to find the tooth is that it will enable the dentist o assess whether or not the entire tooth was knocked out.
- Keep the tooth moist. Yes, you read that correctly. Once you find that precious tooth (especially if it’s an adult tooth), do your best to keep it moist. If you can, put the tooth back in your child’s mouth in its proper place. Have your child gently bite down on a piece of gauze or even a tea bag to help keep the tooth in place (and prevent swallowing). If you can’t put the tooth in his mouth, then put it in a container or milk.
- Call the dentist.
My poor little guy’s gums turned an ugly purple color and bled so much when he injured his teeth. To our amazement, the dentist didn’t tell us to rush to the emergency room or even to get into the office immediately. He did set up an appointment for the following day and gave us some tips, like giving only cold liquids and children’s Tylenol to help with the pain.
Much to our surprise, when we went to the dentist the next day, he took one look and proclaimed that we had nothing to worry about. All of the teeth were intact and he informed us that they would slowly move back down to their normal position and that one day, he would lose those baby teeth and they would be replaced by healthy permanent teeth.
I didn’t really believe him. My son’s gums were soooo swollen and discolored. Howe could it be possible that everything would be fine? But, in the end, his little body healed itself and today, he has a healthy set of permanent teeth. Well, almost, there’s still one baby tooth hanging on in there, but I’m sure it’ll come out in due time.
Best advice in the case of a dental injury? STAY CALM and contact your dentist.
Losing milk teeth, commonly known as baby teeth, is a natural part of childhood. Around the age of 6, your child should lose their first tooth. This process is exciting for the child and a little sad for the parents, because they realize that this is the stepping stone to growing up and entering the next stage of life.
So, the question arises as to what to do with these baby teeth? Some parents just throw them away, some may bury them for good luck, and some may keep them for sentimental or scientific reasons. If you decide to keep them, it is very important to remember that you should clean and dry the tooth thoroughly, prior to storage, as any moisture can lead to mold.
If you keep one or all of your child’s milk teeth, below are some suggestions on what to do with them.
There are some lovely keepsake boxes on the market today, that are especially designed to have a holding spot for each of your child’s baby teeth.
Baby books have been a long time tradition in many families. They will usually contain the first lock of hair, pictures, and dates of special occasions. Also, the first tooth lost which will be cleaned and stored in an envelope with the date.
There are craftsman that will mold the shape of your child’s tooth, and artistically design jewelry, in order to incorporate the tooth mold. You may also find artists that will create a beautiful piece of jewelry using the original teeth.
If you are a bit of an entrepreneur, you can legally sell your baby’s teeth, once they fall out. The above mentioned craftsmen are always looking for milk teeth for their creations. The going rate is about $5 per tooth.
School Science Project
The science fairs are in full force during grade school years. If you keep your child’s baby teeth for a few years, they can use them for their science project. One project could involve testing the effects of various beverages on real teeth, such as coffee and soda. A project like this may warrant “bonus” points, for promoting good reasons to brush your teeth after consuming certain foods and drinks.
Future Medical Cures
Baby teeth contain stem cells that have the potential to treat diseases and grow replacement bones or tissue for the body, if needed. When the teeth are properly stored, they have the potential to treat diseases in the future.
There are many storage facilities around the United States that are especially designed to store this type of DNA; however, the initial price averages about $1,200, with annual storage fees above $100. Although a costly alternative, this option appeals to many people, because even though there may not be a current treatment or cure for a particular disease – that doesn’t mean that one won’t be found in the near future.
Brought to you by: thekiddsplace.com
When it comes to the topic of child safety, every internet source has their own slanted narrative, and so does every individual mom who has done their research and experimentation. Just like every other baby product, Amber teething necklaces carry the weight of some controversy. They are said to be either the greatest teething craze invented, or, a grave threat to your child’s life, or somewhere in between.
Not familiar with the trend? Amber teething necklaces are a snug (not too loose or tight) strand of amber beads for children to wear during the painful season of teething. The warmth from their skin is said to activate the oil in the amber resin, which releases a natural pain reliever called succinic acid. This is then absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream and simply acts as a “helper” when teething toys, cold objects, or even baby tylenol isn’t quite cutting it.
If you’re not sure whether this product is right for your child, let’s get all the pros and cons out of the way.
- Needs to be removed before every nap (to prevent choking while unsupervised.
- Even while supervised, events like strangulation can occur
- If the strand breaks, a child may attempt to eat the stones or possibly block their airway in the process
- Because of the above reasons, it is not recommended by most pediatricians.
- Some skeptics say the beads have to be heated to at least 200 degrees fahrenheit to excrete the oils (two times over normal body temperature)
- The releasing of succinic acid is seen as more holistic and ancient medicine and is not officially backed by science, despite very consistent claims that it does, in fact, work.
- Seasoned “natural” moms recommend putting the necklace on as early as two months, so that your child gets used to wearing it and it then just behaves as another article of clothing. Many mothers that start the use of the necklace very young and watch their child acclimate are more at ease when it comes to risks of choking.
- Succinic acid not only supposed to relieve pain (and is helpful for adults too, suffering from arthritis or other joint pain) but is said to be immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, and has a calming effect on the wearer.
- Many moms swear it reduces drooling significantly. This may be due to succinic being an alkalizing acid, which has metabolic benefits.
- Succinic acid is FDA approved, this being because it is an element that commonly occurs in our food. So while the benefits cannot be proven medically, the acid itself is not harmful.
For many, the benefits do not offset the possible risks. If this is you, it is definitely best to use your best judgement. Every child is different, and every mother knows what’s best for their individual baby. On the flip side, pro-amber necklace moms say they have little or nothing to fear because their baby adjusted to the wearing of the necklace, so they are aware of it but they never not attempt to remove, break, or eat it. They also notice a significant difference when the child is wearing it versus not, or have used it on one child but not their sibling. Thankfully modern technology has also provided us with more security measures for our children, such as video monitors and baby breathing monitors (like Snuza). This allows mothers to keep their eyes or ears on their babies 24/7.
For more information on this subject, as well as how succinic acid breaks down molecularly, please click the links below.
Easter is the biggest holiday of the spring with so many children eager to dive into the fun. However with all the excitement and tradition of Easter, there is the downside of the amount of candy consumed. Easter is definitely a holiday that has morphed into a day of sugar and treats. As a parent, this can be a bit worrisome if you’re concerned for your children’s dental health. There are some good tricks though that can still give your kids fun surprises but cut down on the amount of sugar consumed.
Sugar-free gums which use zylitol or any other alcohol sugar, are excellent alternatives to still give your children something sweet to chew on but without the high sugar content. Alcohol sugars don’t cling to the teeth as regular sugars do and are not loved by the bacteria in the mouth.
Stickers are also always a favorite with kids. Its easy to find stickers with your child’s favorite Disney character or superhero that they will easily love just as much or even more than a piece of hubba bubba.
Trailmix with yummy nuts and some semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips will significantly cut down on the amount of sugar found in a regular amount of m&ms but is still a yummy treat!
Play dough is a super fun alternative as well. I don’t think there is a child out there who doesn’t like play dough! Pick dough in your child’s favorite color and they will be entertained for a much longer time than if you gave them jelly beans.
Baking some treats with half the sugar or alternative ingredients is always a healthier option than anything you would buy at the store. Baking with date sugar, coconut sugar or maple sugar can be some good alternatives that are still sweet but not hard on the teeth like cane sugar!
- Creating coupons is always a fun way to make Easter baskets more interactive. Having a coupon for a trip to the movies, a local arcade, a theme park or just a fun outing with mom and dad can be a great idea. Kids love going on adventures more than getting piles of sugar to eat.
Mostly all kids love getting and eating candy. As a parent it can be very easy to want to give into these wishes but I think most kids would agree that is given some of these fun Easter basket alternatives, they would choose them any day over a bag of candy!
Choosing the best foods to put in your child’s lunch or give them as a snack can often be a challenging task. As a parent you want to choose something they will like but also something that is healthy for their body and their teeth. If a child is regularly eating candy or sugary snacks during the day, that sugar will just sit on their teeth until they brush them in the evening. Here is a list of some snack options that promote children’s dental health as well!
- Oranges, sweet peppers or strawberries all contain the popular nutrient vitamin c. This vitamin is especially helpful in fighting certain types of bacteria in the mouth because they don’t like its acidic nature.
- Nuts or foods containing seeds have healthy oils in them which can coat the teeth and act a protective barrier to invading bacteria. Some examples could be peanuts, almonds, whole grain breads or hearty granola bars.
- Milk and Dairy products can also be healthy for teeth because they are an excellent source of calcium, which is helpful in keeping kids teeth strong and resilient. Dairy products also increase the acidity of the mouth and thus ward off any acid loving bacteria.
- Apples, Carrots or celery can be excellent choices because they mechanically clean the teeth. Their crispness acts as a kind of abrasive surface on the teeth, helping scrape off any plaque or buildup.
- Always give water. Children of course love juice and sugar drinks however the less you give these to your children, the better off their dental health will be. Always promote drinking water because it helps rinse the mouth as well as hydrate.
These are just a few ideas to help inspire healthy snacks, which are also healthy for the mouth. Limiting the amount of times your child snacks a day is also very helpful in keeping the sugar loving bacteria to a minimum. Being a parent is never easy, but promoting and instilling healthy snacking habits in your child will always pay off, especially concerning their dental health.
Teething or the development of baby teeth is something every child has to go through during their early years of life. It is a process, which normally causes discomfort and restlessness and can therefore be an exhausting period for the child and the parents.
Teething typically begins anywhere from 3 months to one year when the primary teeth are finding their way to the gums surface. The soreness at this time is most often due to the swelling of the gums as the teeth begin to move. This discomfort can leave the child fussy and unsettled. Every baby is going to be different during this time however, here are some remedies, which will hopefully help, ease the process!
- A clean finger -moving over the surface of the gums can relieve some of the teething pain.
- A damp washcloth put in the fridge and then offered to your baby to chew on can offer some cool relief.
- Breastfeeding can be a simple and soothing option to help distract your baby and relieve some of the pain.
- There are also certain pain relievers or Tylenol you can ask your doctor to recommend.
- Amber Teething Necklaces-are a trending holistic solution with the belief that the heat from your child’s skin warms the amber beads which then releases oils containing succinic acid which are then absorbed into the blood. Succinic acid is a natural pain-relieving agent.
- Mesh Teethers-can also be a good solution by placing frozen fruit inside and giving the baby something cold but yummy to chew on.
These remedies are not a solution to everyone’s teething baby problems. However, hopefully they offer some temporary relief or more sleep filled nights.
Easing into a tooth-brushing routine can often be a difficult process with young children. The magic of being a “big kid who brushes their teeth” doesn’t last for very long, eventually making the repetitive routine of teeth brushing a bit painful.
There are always some tips and tricks however, which can make this adjustment process much simpler!
- Let your kids practice by letting them brush your teeth. This can be a promising solution because it allows them to feel like you are in this process with them and not just the tooth-brushing dictator.
- A reward system can also be effective. Add stickers to a calendar or quarters to a jar or maybe a fun game before bed. This helps give the child incentive and makes them feel like they are doing something right by brushing their teeth. (Just don’t make it candy or chocolate on a daily basis, as this is semi-counter intuitive to purpose of brushing teeth!
- Changing toothpaste can also be effective by adding a new flavor and helping it feel like a new experience. Sometimes even making toothpaste optional at first, can make the initial experience a bit less dramatic.
- Giving independence. Allowing your child to put on his or her own toothpaste and do a lot of the brushing themselves as well as rinse out their own mouth can help them feel responsible and in control.
- Brushing to music makes tooth brushing into more of a party or game, which can help break up the monotony of the routine.
- Use an Analog timer. These timers are a fun visual for children and can help give them a 3D image to watch as well as know how long they need to brush.
Brushing teeth is never an easy task at the beginning, but hopefully these six simple tips help you better negotiate with your reluctant brushers!
Tooth pulling or extraction is a common topic of discussion within the dental community. No one wants to voluntarily get a tooth pulled. Teeth were intended by the body to last a lifetime of wear and tear, however there a multiple reasons as to why tooth extraction should be or must be done.
Space is needed!
The mouth is only so big. Your skull determines that. However, the relationship between the size of the mouth, the dental arch and the size of the teeth sometimes do not coexist in harmony. Crowding in the mouth can be caused by any of the aforementioned factors and can lead to many harmful side effects, such as bite alignment, infection, smile aesthetic or just overall discomfort.
There are some instances where space could be made by braces or other teeth correcting techniques, however the time required to complete the job is too drastic and may jeopardize tooth and gum health. Thus pulling the tooth is the wiser and safer option.
Having a Bite, which is not properly aligned (malocclusion), though seemingly harmless, can actually affect the health of the mouth greatly. If the mouth is too crowded, the upper and lower teeth may not be properly aligned. This is an issue because it can cause irregular wear on particular teeth, jaw discomfort when chewing or frequent biting of the cheeks and tongue. All of which have a negative effect on the overall health of the mouth and teeth.
Profile and Smile
An out of place tooth can negatively affect the profile and smile which has an overall impact on your dental hygiene. If the mouth is overcrowded or there is a tooth with strange alignment or placement, the profile of the teeth will be affected. This tooth can be a danger to the hygiene of the mouth if it is hard to reach when cleaning or very easily traps debris throughout the day.
Though the extraction of teeth is always an undesired procedure, the life-long positive effects of having a mouth with space, a bite with perfect alignment and a healthy profile and smile are well worth it!