Why It’s Important to Take Care of Baby Teeth

A common misconception about baby teeth is that caring for them isn’t necessary since they eventually fall out. In reality, caring for baby teeth is just as important as caring for adult teeth.

When you don’t properly care for baby teeth, your child is more vulnerable to tooth decay. Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood and can lead to many problems such as:

  • Mouth pain – Mouth pain can lead to a variety of other problems, including difficulty chewing and struggling in school. This begins to affect your child’s overall wellbeing. 
  • Complications with adult teeth – Untreated tooth decay can lead to infections and tooth extractions, which can cause complications with adult teeth. Permanent teeth can drift into the empty space reserved for other adult teeth, leading to crowding or misalignment.

What’s the best way to care for baby teeth? 

Starting a good oral hygiene routine with your child from a young age can help decrease their chance of developing tooth decay:

  • Wipe your baby’s gums with a clean cloth.
  • Once their teeth come in, brush two times a day.
  • Take your child to the dentist for regular checkups.
  • Limit sugary foods.

Schedule your child’s routine dental checkup today to keep those baby teeth healthy!

Happy National Children’s Dental Health Month!

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. This month aims to raise awareness about the importance of oral health to children, their caregivers, teachers, and many others. According to the ADA website, National Children’s Dental Health Month began as a one-day event in Cleveland, Ohio, on February 3, 1941. The first national observance of Children’s Dental Health Day was held on February 8, 1949. After this, it became a week-long event in 1955. Finally in 1981, the program was extended to a month-long observance known today as National Children’s Dental Health Month. The observance has since grown from a two-city event into a nationwide program. 

This month’s theme is “Brush, Floss, Smile.” It’s just as important to take care of baby teeth as it is to take care of adult teeth. Teaching your child good dental habits from an early age can help them develop a lifetime of good oral health. Having your child brush twice a day and floss at least once a day is important to keep those smiles healthy! The ADA has provided plenty of activity sheets to help make learning about good oral habits fun:

Our dentists love getting to help teach your children the proper way to care for their teeth and getting them interested in learning good oral habits. Schedule your child’s appointment with us today to start their oral health journey off right! 

Dental Benefits Are Back!

Welcome to 2023! With the new year comes new beginnings, resolutions, and the best part – insurance resets! Dental insurance benefits typically reset at the beginning of the year, making room for your child to get preventative care and any needed dental treatment either free or at a more accessible price. A common myth is that caring for baby teeth doesn’t matter since children eventually lose them . . . but this couldn’t be further from the truth! Caring for your child’s teeth from a young age helps to prevent cavities and tooth decay, both of which can delay the development of permanent teeth. So it’s important to keep up with their routine check-ups! 

What is preventive care?

While plans vary, most dental insurance providers cover preventative care in full. Preventative care often includes oral exams, professional cleanings, and X-rays. These all can help to monitor your child’s oral health and ensure that they aren’t developing anything concerning such as cavities.

What is an annual maximum?

An annual maximum is the most a dental insurance provider will pay toward your dental work in a given benefit year. This amount can vary depending on the type of plan you have. At the beginning of a new benefit year, your annual maximum resets, so the entire amount is available again. Any unused funds do not roll over, so it’s a good idea to take full advantage of them.

Does this mean dental work will be free?

Even if the entire amount of your maximum allowance is available, there may still be a cost associated with your child’s treatment. Your annual maximum applies only to the portion your dental insurance plan pays on your behalf. This means that any deductibles or copays that you pay do not count towards your annual maximum. Once the annual maximum is reached, any further dental services your child receives are 100% your responsibility to pay until the next plan year.

Make oral health a priority this year!

This new year, take advantage of your dental benefits and make your child’s oral health a priority. If you have any questions about treatment options available to your child or would like to make an appointment, give us a call or schedule online

Knowing Which Toothbrush Is Best for Your Child

November 1 was National Brushing Day, which reinforces the importance of children’s oral health and promotes good tooth-brushing habits. Choosing the best toothbrush for your child is important to ensure that they can properly care for their teeth. With different ages comes different toothbrushes, and it’s important to know when to switch them out. 

0 – 3 Years Old

Although your child doesn’t have any teeth at the beginning of this stage, you can start by wiping their gums with a damp cloth after feeding to keep them clean. Once their teeth begin to erupt through their gums, you can use a toothbrush with a tiny head. This allows the toothbrush to be able to fit into their mouth and keep their teeth clean while helping your child get  used to brushing their teeth.

3 – 5 Years Old

As more teeth begin to erupt, a toothbrush with a smaller head and a larger handle is best. This makes it easier for your child to hold since they have smaller hands. At this stage, you should supervise and help out your child brush to ensure that they are effectively cleaning their teeth.

5 – 8 Years Old

For these ages, a slimmer handle is recommended for your child’s grip and larger jaw size as compared to previous brushes. While your child is becoming more independent with brushing in this stage, it is still important to supervise and make sure they are properly brushing.

8 Years and Older

Once your child has reached the age of 8 or older, they can begin to brush their teeth themselves without supervision. Your child’s toothbrush at this stage is very similar to an adult toothbrush. The American Dental Association suggests that powered toothbrushes may make the process easier for some children, although manual brushes work just as well.

Figuring out which toothbrush to buy for your child can be difficult, but our pediatric specialists are here to help! Ask what brush they recommend for your child at their next appointment to ensure they’re getting the best clean possible. 

Keeping Your Child’s Smile Healthy for Dental Hygiene Month

Every year in October we celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month! This is the time of the year when we recognize the work dental hygienists do, and help raise awareness on the importance of good oral health. As your partner in oral health, your dental hygienist helps to keep your child’s teeth clean and educate on and treat all forms of gum disease. Here are a few tips from our hygienists on ways you can keep your child’s smile healthy.

Stick to a routine.

It’s much easier for your child to remember to brush when you make it part of their daily schedule. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends keeping a regular routine of brushing two times a day. If your child is due for a cleaning or dental work, be sure to schedule and keep their appointment.

Brush to their favorite song.

It is important to brush for two minutes. An easy way to time your child is to brush for the length of their favorite song. As well, make sure they are using soft bristles to avoid damaging their gums. Make sure that they focus on the gumline and scrub every surface of each tooth. While both manual and electric toothbrushes are effective when used correctly, some of the benefits of electric toothbrushes include built-in timers, light indicators that indicate if your child is brushing too hard, and notifications that let them know when to replace the brush head.  

Use a toothpaste with fluoride.

Choose a toothpaste that has fluoride, a mineral that helps prevent cavities. Also, make sure the toothpaste has the ADA seal of approval, which means it is safe and effective.   

Choose an effective oral rinse.

Choose an oral rinse that will kill bacteria in your child’s mouth. If they have dry mouth, it’s best to use an alcohol-free rinse.

Drink lots of water.

The ADA explains that water, particularly water with fluoride, can strengthen teeth and help to prevent tooth decay. Be sure your child drinks a lot of water to help rinse acids and food particles away. This is especially important when eating dried fruits like raisins and cranberries, which tend to stick to your teeth. 

Don’t forget to floss.

While flossing may not be their favorite thing to do, it is beneficial to clean between your child’s teeth to reduce bacteria. Any floss will do, though you may want to choose a waxed floss if your child has tight contacts. If you know your child will not floss, make sure to get another tool to clean between their teeth, such as a water flosser, interproximal brushes, and toothpicks.  

Achieving optimal oral health requires a partnership between you and your child’s hygiene team. If you’d like to discuss your child’s oral health or are ready to make an appointment, contact us today. We’d love to see their smile!

Schedule an appointment today!

Making Your Child’s Tooth Fairy Visit Magical

As children grow, they begin to lose their baby teeth. Most kids lose their first tooth around the age of 6, and will continue to lose their baby teeth until around the age of 12. With each tooth loss, comes the tooth fairy!

National Tooth Fairy Day is celebrated today, August 22.  Losing a tooth is always exciting, because that means the tooth fairy will be paying your child a visit. Children leave their tooth under their pillow and anxiously await for sleep to arrive so that the tooth fairy can leave them a reward. Getting to be the tooth fairy is fun, but it can also be difficult to come up with ways to make it special for your child. 

Here are a few tips on how to make a visit from the tooth fairy magical!

  • Leave gifts — Whether it’s a couple of dollars or a toy you know your child will like, leaving a surprise under their pillow can make your child feel special. 
  • Write letters — Leaving letters for your child from the tooth fairy regarding oral health can be a great way to encourage them to brush their teeth and keep their teeth clean — since the tooth fairy said so!
  • Make a gift box — Create and leave a gift box under your child’s pillow that they can decorate themselves to help get excited about the tooth fairy. They leave their teeth inside, and in the morning their gift will be waiting for them! 
  • Add some magic — Adding things like glitter, stickers, or even a signature to the letters under your child’s pillow can help add to the excitement and magic of the tooth fairy. 

There’s nothing better than seeing the excitement on your child’s face when they realize they’ve been visited by the tooth fairy, and it can even be fun for you in the process! Do you have questions about your child’s baby teeth? Schedule an appointment to chat with one of our experienced pediatric specialists.

KidzSmile Dentistry is a part of Mortenson Dental Partners.

Why It’s Important to Take Care of Baby Teeth

A common misconception about baby teeth is that caring for them isn’t necessary since they eventually fall out. In reality, caring for baby teeth is just as important as caring for adult teeth. When you don’t properly care for baby teeth, your child is more vulnerable to tooth decay. Tooth decay is the most common […]

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