Parent Resources
Below is a listing of commonly asked questions regarding children's teeth, nutrition, emergencies, and treatments that might be recommended by your dentist. Want to learn more about a different topic? Simply click "back to top" to come back to the list of questions. Have a question not addressed on this list? Please email us and we will have a dentist contact you. More information can also be found on the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry website for parents, at www.MyChildrensTeeth.org.


All About Baby Teeth
Are baby teeth really that important to my child?
What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?
Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?
How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?

About Visiting the Dentist
When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?
What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?
How do I find a pediatric dentist in my hometown?

About Dental Treatments
How do dental sealants work?
How safe are dental X-rays?

Protecting Your Child's Teeth
How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?
How do I make my child's diet safe for his teeth?
What can I do to protect my child's teeth during sporting events?
How can parents help prevent tooth decay?

Dental Pain & Emergencies
What should I do if my child has a toothache?
Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child's teeth?
What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?



Your Questions Answered

What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?
A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.

More: Dental Care For Your Baby
back to top

When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?
In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.
back to top

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.

More: The Pediatric Dentist
back to top

How do I find a pediatric dentist in my hometown?
Click on the Find A Pediatric Dentist button located above. Enter your city, state and zip for a list of pediatric dentists nearest you. If your entries result in "no matching pediatric dentist records were found," broaden your search by entering the state only or nearest city and state.
back to top

Are baby teeth really that important to my child?
Primary, or "baby," teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.

More: The Pediatric Dentist
back to top

What should I do if my child has a toothache?
First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child acetaminophen for any pain, rather than placing aspirin on the teeth or gums. Finally, see a dentist as soon as possible.

More: Emergency Dental Care
back to top

Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child's teeth?
Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.

More: Thumb, Finger and Pacifier Habits
back to top

How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?
Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child's teeth. Take your child to a pediatric dentist regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child's first birthday.

More: Dental Care For Your Baby
back to top

How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?
A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.

More: Regular Dental Visits
back to top

Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?
The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child's gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use a "smear" of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age. For the 2-5 year old, dispense a "pea-size" amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child's toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively.Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.

More: Enamel Fluorosis
back to top

How do I make my child's diet safe for his teeth?
Make sure your child has a balanced diet, including one serving each of: fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat fish and eggs. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will also aid in protecting your child's teeth from decay. You can also ask your pediatric dentist to help you select foods that protect your children's teeth.

More: Diet and Dental Health
back to top

How do dental sealants work?
Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years.

More: Sealants
back to top

How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?
Have your pediatric dentist evaluate the fluoride level of your child's primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride internally through water (especially if the fluoride level is deficient or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride), then your pediatric dentist may prescribe fluoride supplements.

More: Enamel Fluorosis
back to top

What can I do to protect my child's teeth during sporting events?
Soft plastic mouthguards can be used to protect a child's teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. A custom-fitted mouthguard developed by a pediatric dentist will protect your child from injuries to the teeth, face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head.

More: Mouth Protectors
back to top

What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?
The most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then find the tooth. Hold it by the crown rather than the root and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and take your child and the glass immediately to the pediatric dentist.

More: Emergency Dental Care
back to top

How safe are dental X-rays?
There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Pediatric dentists are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Lead aprons and high-speed film are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.

More: X-Ray Use and Safety
back to top

How can parents help prevent tooth decay?
Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, the dentist can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach to their children. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.

More: Preventive Dentistry
back to top









About OAPD  | Member Resources  | Policies & Guidelines  | Education Meetings  | In the Community  | Parent Resources  | Join OAPD  | Contact Us  | Officers & Board Members  | Membership Benefits  | Become A Member  | Member Directory  | Classifieds  | Public Health Resources  | Dental Organizations

The information contained on the OAPD website is offered as information only and not as professional or legal advice.

Specific information provided on the OAPD website is provided in order to assist pediatric dentists in Oregon, and their staff, in making clinical decisions regarding the clinical care of their patients and cannot substitute for the individual judgment brought to each clinical situation by the patient's pediatric dentist. Scientific recommendations should be used with the clear understanding that continued research may result in new knowledge or recommendations.

For Parents: Accessing health information on a website should be not considered a substitute for or an alternative to a family consulting directly with their child's pediatric dentist. This website does not provide clinical diagnosis or treatment recommendations, or render any opinion concerning the quality of care provided by any specific pediatric dentist to an individual patient. The OAPD does not intervene or mediate in communications between families and their child's pediatric dentist.



Oregon Academy of Pediatric Dentists | www.oapd.org | -
Portland, Oregon



 

 

Copyright © 2013-2017 Oregon Academy of Pediatric Dentists and WEO MEDIA. All rights reserved.  Sitemap