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When Should I Take My Child To The Dentist?

The world is full of information and many new parents are subjected to information overload. You buy a parenting book, only to hear someone else swearing by the one you didn’t buy. Eventually you end up with a pile of parenting and child development books on your bedroom nightstand and feel more confused than ever. Sound familiar? Most people, whether they are first-timers or old hands at parenting, have some concerns or fears that they’re not doing the best for their children. This post will answer some of those common questions and hopefully free up some space on your nightstand!


When Should I Start Cleaning My Baby’s Teeth?

It is never too early to start your child on the path to good oral health. When teeth first appear start brushing two times a day with a “smear” of fluoridated toothpaste. From age 2 to age 5 you can increase to a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Always assist with your child’s brushing, they do not yet have the ability to brush their teeth effectively.

The difference between a "smear" and a "pea-sized" amount of toothpaste
The difference between a “smear” and a “pea-sized” amount

When Should I Take My Child To The Dentist?

Bring your child to see the dentist early. “First Tooth, First Birthday, First Visit” is a good rule of thumb. Sounds early doesn’t it? A big concern is Early Childhood Caries, also known as “baby bottle tooth decay” or “nursing cavities”. Once a child’s diet includes anything beyond breast-milk, teeth are at risk for decay.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, How Do I Prevent That?

Children should never fall asleep with a bottle and containing anything other than water. Drinking juice from a bottle should always be avoided. Advertising would lead us to think that juice is great for our growing children. However, 100% pure organic apple juice has just as much sugar as a Mountain Dew or Coke.

My Baby is Teething, How Can I Help?

Teeth begin to come in around 6 months of age and continue to errupt until age 3. While the teeth are “cutting” (as many in East TN say) your child’s gums will be sore. A chilled teething ring, cold washcloth or cool spoon are all ways to help ease your child’s discomfort. For the child who is deserving of all life’s luxuries, massaging their gums with a clean finger will provide relief.

Do I Need To See A Pediatric Dentist?

Pediatric dentists are specialist who have focused their dental practice around children. They are a great option for children that are unable to be seen by general dentists or require extensive treatment. We enjoy seeing children of all ages and welcome them into our practice. However, there are some special circumstances where referral to a specialist is indicated. IT is best to talk to your dentist in order to determine what is best for your child.


To conclude, we will leave you with some fun tooth facts!

  • ƒ Primary teeth are also called baby teeth. ƒ
  • By age 3 years, there are usually 20 primary teeth. ƒ
  • The spacing between children’s baby teeth is important because it allows enough room for the bigger, permanent teeth. ƒ
  • Primary teeth have thinner enamel and appear whiter (translucent/almost bluish) than permanent teeth, so disease may progress more quickly in primary teeth. ƒ
  • The biting surfaces of posterior teeth are grooved and pitted. ƒ Permanent teeth have wavy edges (mamelons) when they erupt, which smooth out with normal wear and tear.
  • Eruption is usually symmetrical (lower teeth usually before upper) in the following pattern for primary teeth: central incisors, lateral incisors, first molars, canines, second molars. Exfoliation often follows a similar pattern.
  • WARNING – MATH GENIUS’S ONLY: A helpful mnemonic to remember the timing of primary eruption is the 7+4 rule. At 7 months of age, children should have their first teeth; at 11 months (4 months later), they should have 4 teeth. At 15 months of age (4 months later), they should have 8 teeth; at 19 months, they should have 12 teeth; at 23 months, they should have 16 teeth; and at 27 months, they should have 20 teeth.
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