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Arizona Sunset Dental P.C. | Newsletter in Tucson

Arizona Sunset Dental P.C.
Hiram Cervantes, DDS  &  Jose A. Osete, DDS

(520) 797-4551



Keeping your child’s teeth healthy

Mothers have a hard enough time keeping a child’s hands clean, let alone caring for the little one’s teeth! It is difficult to know when is the right time to begin brushing your child’s teeth or even schedule the first visit with the dentist. Many parents make the mistake of thinking that their child is too young to see a dentist. Some children do not see a dentist until they enter school.

The fact is that you can begin training your children to become comfortable with brushing their teeth as early as a few months old. Infants should have their gums cleaned once per day either with a clean washcloth on the end of your finger or by using a gum cleaner specially made for infants. The baby will welcome the cleaning as it massages their tender gums and alleviates some of the pain associated with teething. 

Brushing your child’s teeth on a regular basis lays the foundation for a lifelong routine of oral care. Just as it takes time to train a child to use the potty or wash their hands before eating, it takes time to instill healthy oral hygiene.

Parents should train their children with a soft, child size toothbrush. Children’s toothpaste has a milder taste than regular toothpaste and is good for training. Children should brush their teeth twice per day. Children under 7 years old need assistance, while older children can brush with supervision. Developing good dental habits early on ensures that your child will carry on those habits well into adulthood.  

What about baby teeth?

Many parents consider baby teeth expendable, as they will be replaced by adult teeth. While it is true that the teeth themselves will eventually fall out, they are subject to the same tooth decay as adult teeth are. Baby teeth that contain decay will also produce the same amount of intense pain that adult teeth do. If left untreated, the decay within the baby teeth can enter the jaw and permanently hinder the growth of the adult teeth.

Studies have shown that when a child’s tooth is removed prematurely, the jaw contracts. When the adult teeth come in, there is not enough room and they are overcrowded. This is one of the main reasons that caring for the baby teeth is paramount.

What about preemies?

Parents of premature children often wonder what the effect is on the child’s teeth. Premature children are at greater risk for developing dental problems such as delayed tooth eruption, tooth discoloration and a greater instance of braces down the road. Premature tooth eruption is common because the birth disrupts the development of the teeth in the womb. Premature infants are at greater risk for infections in general, and the resulting infections can also disrupt the formation of the tooth structure.

As with any other condition caused by premature birth, the earlier the baby is born, the higher the risk for these complications. A pediatric dentist can educate the parents of newborns on the associated conditions and may schedule more frequent checkups as a result.

When is it time to take you child to the dentist? The answer is as soon as your child is eating solid food. Pediatric dentists make a visit to the dentist as easy as possible on the child. They have everything from televisions in the ceiling, to exam rooms decorated with popular cartoon characters. Afraid that your child may bite the dentist? Don’t be. Pediatric dentists are trained to work with children in a caring and cooperative manner. Pediatric dentists are passionate about working with children. They are not put off by crying, kicking, or children who will simply not open their mouth. Some pediatric dentist offices have soundproof exam rooms so your child will not accidentally overhear another little one’s screaming and be frightened. They have literally seen it all!

If you have never taken your child to the dentist or brushed their teeth, it is never too late to begin. You should immediately begin your child on an oral health care regimen. The most important thing is that you teach your child how to maintain a healthy set of teeth.

Tucson Dentist | Newsletter. Hiram Cervantes is a Tucson Dentist.