Why is Fluoride Important to My Child’s Dental Health?

Why is Fluoride Important to My Child’s Dental Health?

Your child’s overall state of health can be affected by the condition of their gums and teeth. For this very reason, your child’s pediatrician will talk to you about good dental habits for kids before their first tooth even erupts. It’s also why it’s so important to get your children to the dentist by the age of one to start regular checkups. Read more about this in our post, “At What Age Should You Take Your Child to the Dentist?

Once your child’s very first tooth comes in, it is recommended by pediatricians and pediatric dentists that they started getting fluoride varnish treatments in order to help prevent tooth decay. Watch the video below to hear Dr. Jason Horgesheimer talk about the benefits of fluoride varnishes at South Davis Pediatric Dentistry.

Why are Fluoride Varnishes Important?

Fluoride varnishes are used to protect the teeth and to help prevent tooth decay. These fluoride treatments can be done two or four times per year. How often you get the treatments for your child is directly related to how likely it would be for your child to get a cavity.

“One of the benefits of coming to the dentist on a regular six-month basis is a fluoride treatment. Fluoride varnishes are simply smeared on the teeth and it’s very beneficial to intercept small little cavities. One or two applications of these fluoride varnishes can actually remineralize or strengthen these cavities so that we don’t need to actually restore them with a filling.” – Dr. Jason

While there are some pediatricians who will apply fluoride varnishes at their office, it is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that the fluoride varnishes are applied at a dental office instead. Keep reading to learn more valuable information from the AAP regarding the use of fluoride varnish.

What is a Fluoride Varnish?

This is a type of dental treatment that can help prevent cavities and tooth decay, slow down the progression of tooth decay, or stop it altogether. Fluoride varnish is made with the mineral fluoride that’s known to strengthen the outer coating on the teeth, which is known as enamel.

It is important to realize that fluoride varnish treatments alone cannot completely prevent the formation of cavities. However, fluoride varnish treatments can help to prevent tooth decay and cavities when a child is also brushing their teeth with the right amount of fluoridated toothpaste, flossing regularly, eating a healthy diet, and visiting their pediatric dentist on a regular basis.

Are Fluoride Varnish Treatments Safe?

Fluoride varnish is safe. They are used by dentists and doctors around the entire world to help prevent cavities and prevent tooth decay from getting worse. The treatment alone contains a very small amount of fluoride and hardly any of it is swallowed. It hardens quickly immediately after it is applied. Then after four to twelve hours, it is brushed off.

Most children enjoy the taste of fluoride treatments as they are quite palatable. Some of the brands could make your child’s teeth appear yellow or dull, but this goes away once the treatment is brushed off.

How is Fluoride Varnish Applied to My Child’s Teeth?

The tincture which is known as the fluoride varnish is simply painted on the tops and the sides of each tooth with a little brush. At first, the substance may feel a bit sticky but as soon as it comes into contact with saliva it hardens. While your child might be able to feel the hardened varnish, they are not able to lick the varnish off of their teeth.

No pain is involved during the application process. However, some small children may still cry because they are fearful of the procedure. Brushing the varnish onto the teeth only takes a couple of minutes, and if the child is crying it can actually be applied at that time as their mouth will be slightly opened. In the case of small children, you may be asked to hold your child in your lap while you sit knee-to-knee with the person who is applying the varnish.

How Should I Care for My Child’s Teeth After the Fluoride Varnish is Applied?

Once the varnish has been applied to your child’s teeth, there are some general guidelines that you should pay attention to regarding the proper care for their teeth. Your doctor or pediatric dentist may offer other special instructions, so be sure to review with them as well.

  • Your child can start eating right after the varnish has been applied, but needs to avoid hot foods and drinks. Only cold and warm foods or liquids should be consumed right after the treatment.
  • Wait at least four to six hours before the child brushes or flosses their teeth. Many dentists will advise you to wait until the next morning to do so. Be sure that you instruct your child to spit everything out during the brushing of the fluoride varnish.

Other Reminders to Maintain Your Child’s Dental Health

  1. Be sure your child is receiving care by a dentist who is specially trained to work with pediatric patients.
  2. Ensure that your child receives enough – but not too much – fluoride.
  3. Fluoride and fluoride varnishes are never meant to be swallowed. Be sure your child understands this.
  4. Remind your child and check on them to be sure they are performing tooth brushing and flossing regularly.
  5. Provide a healthy, balanced diet for your child full of fruits and vegetables.

It’s advised by the American Academy of Pediatrics to take your infant in for an oral health risk assessment by age six months or when their first tooth comes in (whichever comes first). This is especially true if the parents or other members of the family are especially prone to caries and tooth decay. Regardless, it’s important to have the child’s dental “home” established by their first birthday.

Do you have a baby that needs to be scheduled for their first check-up? Do you have children that are in need of fluoride varnish? Whatever the case may be, call the South Davis Pediatric Dentistry at (801) 294-8880 to get an appointment set up today. Physicians and parents throughout Bountiful, Centerville, Farmington, and Kaysville trust us for their child’s dental health needs, and so can you.



Teething Tips for New Parents: Navigating the Journey with Your Baby

Teething Tips for New Parents: Navigating the Journey with Your Baby

Welcoming a new addition to the family is a moment of pure joy for parents, but as your little one grows, new milestones and challenges arise. One such milestone that often comes with its fair share of excitement and anxiety is your baby’s teething journey. Teething marks a significant developmental stage in your child’s life as those first tiny teeth start to emerge, but it can also be accompanied by discomfort and sleepless nights.

In this article, we will provide you with essential tips and valuable information to help you confidently navigate this teething phase. From recognizing the signs of teething to offering soothing remedies and addressing potential concerns, we aim to empower you to provide the best possible care for your teething baby.

Recognizing the Signs of Teething

Babies usually start teething around 6 months old. Some babies show signs of their first tooth at four months years old and others don’t show any signs until after 12 months old. There are also very rare cases of babies being born with their first teeth but most babies will develop a complete milk teeth denture by the time they are three years old.

As your baby’s teeth begin to push through the gums, they may exhibit certain signs that indicate teething is underway. These can include increased drooling, irritability, chewing on objects, swollen or tender gums, disrupted sleep patterns, touching their face constantly, pulling on their ear, a slight increase in body temperature, a rash of the face, flush on the cheek on the side of the face where the tooth is coming out. Understanding these signs can help you differentiate between teething discomfort and other possible causes, enabling you to provide the appropriate support.

If you are still breastfeeding your baby when they start this process, try to offer them a chewing toy sometime before their feeding time and you can always use your finger before feeding to check if they are in the mood of latching or chewing.

Soothing Techniques and Remedies

There are various safe and effective methods to alleviate your baby’s teething discomfort. One popular approach is providing a clean and chilled teething ring or a damp washcloth for them to gnaw on. The gentle pressure and coolness can help soothe sore gums. Additionally, using your clean finger to massage your baby’s gums can provide temporary relief. It’s important to avoid using teething gels that contain benzocaine or other numbing agents, as they can be harmful to infants.

Every baby is different, so what might work for your friend’s baby might not always work in the same way for your baby and that is ok. Some other ideas to try are:

  • Try to put a pacifier or baby ring in the fridge, cold yet not frozen.
  • You can give them a sippy cup with cool water, only if the baby is older than 6 months.
  • You can cut fruit and veggies, like melon for your baby to chew on.
  • Give your baby a cool metal spoon for them to suck on.
  • A warm bath can help your child relax and manage the uneasiness in a better way.
  • If the discomfort continues, and you get the green light from their pediatrician, you can provide your child with baby acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

If all fails, remember that during this period of changes and restlessness for your baby, there is no better remedy than receiving your love and attention, so don’t be shy on turn on the snuggles and cuddles with your child. Nothing is more healing and reassuring as love, especially coming from their main take caregivers.

Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene

Even before the first tooth emerges, it’s crucial to establish good oral hygiene practices; in fact, it is recommended for parents to bring their baby to the Pediatric Dentist while breastfeeding – you can read more about the benefits of doing so here. Wiping your baby’s gums with a clean, damp cloth after feeding can help remove bacteria and prevent gum irritation. Once the first tooth appears, you can start using a soft-bristled infant toothbrush with a rice grain-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Regular brushing, even with just one tooth, helps instill healthy habits and protects emerging teeth from decay.

If you implement games and music while you do these practices you can create a beautiful and fun family/play time for your kid, making dental care something that is part of their routine in an enjoyable way.

Common Concerns and When to Seek Professional Advice

Teething is a natural process, but it’s common for parents to have concerns along the way. One frequent worry is the timing of tooth eruption. Remember, every child is unique, and the order and pace of tooth eruption can vary. However, if your baby hasn’t shown any signs of teething by their first birthday, it’s advisable to consult a pediatric dentist. Similarly, if you notice any severe symptoms like a high fever or diarrhea, it’s essential to seek professional advice to rule out other potential causes.

If you see any signs of bleeding on your baby’s gums, we alert you to get an appointment with a pediatric dentist as soon as possible to make sure the bleeding is not a symptom of gum disease or any other dental issue.  Likewise, if your baby’s temperature continues for three days in a row or this fever is accompanied by other symptoms, like not wanting to feed or constant diarrhea, you should visit your pediatrician to make sure there is not an ear infection, or a bacterial or viral issue happening besides the teething.

By being well-informed about the teething process and armed with practical strategies, you can help ease your baby’s discomfort and make the teething journey a smoother one for both of you. Remember, patience, love, and consistent care are key during this phase. Celebrate each new tooth as a sign of growth and embrace the beautiful smile that awaits your little one at the end of this teething adventure.

The Power of Nurturing Smiles: Breastfeeding

The Power of Nurturing Smiles: Breastfeeding

As parents, we understand that you want to provide your little one with the best possible start in life. Today, we delve into a topic that holds immense significance for your child’s overall development and dental health—breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural way to nourish and bond with your baby. In this article, we’ll explore the remarkable connection between breastfeeding and dentistry, highlighting its numerous advantages beyond nutrition alone.

Why It’s Recommended

Breastfeeding offers a multitude of benefits for your child’s teeth, contributing to their overall dental health and well-being. Here are a few significant advantages:

  • Proper Jaw and Dental Development: The act of breastfeeding involves the natural sucking motion that stimulates the development of your baby’s oral muscles, tongue, and jaw. This exercise helps in aligning the teeth and promotes the proper growth and positioning of the jawbones. The gentle pressure exerted during breastfeeding also aids in the development of a well-formed palate, which can contribute to better overall dental alignment as your child grows.
  • Reduced Risk of Malocclusion: Malocclusion refers to misalignment or improper positioning of the teeth, such as crowded or crooked teeth.
  • Decreased Risk of Tooth Decay: Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby, offering a unique blend of nutrients and antibodies that help protect against infections and diseases. When your child breastfeeds, the milk helps maintain a balanced oral environment by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.

The Nutrition Factor

Here are some key nutritional components found in breast milk that have a positive impact on your child’s dental care:

  • Calcium: This is crucial for the development of strong teeth and bones. Calcium helps in the mineralization of tooth enamel, the protective outer layer of teeth, making them more resistant to decay and cavities.
  • Phosphorus: Phosphorus works synergistically with calcium to strengthen tooth enamel, contributing to the formation of healthy and durable teeth.
  • Immunoglobulins: Breast milk contains various immunoglobulins, such as secretory IgA, which help protect against infections and promote a healthy oral environment. These antibodies can inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth, reducing the risk of dental caries and gum disease.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Breast milk is a natural source of vitamins and minerals essential for your child’s overall health, including vitamins A, C, and D. These vitamins are crucial for the development and maintenance of healthy gums and teeth.
  • Optimal Nutrition: Breast milk is tailored specifically to meet your baby’s nutritional needs. Its composition adapts as your child grows, providing the appropriate balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and other nutrients. This optimal nutrition supports the development of strong and healthy teeth, ensuring they have the necessary building blocks for proper growth and maintenance.

It’s important to note that breastfeeding alone may not provide all the required nutrients for your child’s dental care in the long term. As your child transitions to solid foods, it’s essential to introduce a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods.

No Space for Guilt

Breastfeeding is great, however, it’s important to remember that there are various reasons why breastfeeding may not be possible for every parent, and it doesn’t diminish your ability to be a loving and nurturing caregiver. Here are some strategies to help overcome guilt in such situations:

  • Educate Yourself: Gain a deeper understanding of the reasons why breastfeeding may not be feasible for you. You can even read this article about the reasons why not to. Knowing the factors that influence your decision can help alleviate guilt by acknowledging that you’re making the best choice for you and your baby’s unique situation.
  • Seek Support: Surround yourself with a supportive network of family, friends, and healthcare professionals who understand and respect your decision.
  • Focus on Bonding: Remember that nurturing and bonding with your child go beyond breastfeeding. There are numerous ways to establish a strong emotional connection and provide love and care. Skin-to-skin contact, eye contact, talking, cuddling, and responding to your baby’s needs are all vital elements in fostering a deep and loving bond.
  • Prioritize Self-Care: Practice self-compassion, engage in activities that bring you joy, seek emotional support when needed, and prioritize self-care to maintain a positive mindset.
  • Remind Yourself of Your Love: Reflect on the love and care you provide for your child in various other aspects of their life. Your role as a parent extends far beyond breastfeeding, and your commitment to their well-being, happiness, and growth is what truly matters.

You can also check out our article about How Utah Pediatric Dentists Can Help with Breastfeeding Struggles

When Breastfeeding is Not an Option

Here are some important considerations:

  • Choose a Suitable Formula: Consult with your pediatrician to select a suitable formula that meets your baby’s nutritional needs. Look for formulas that are designed for infants and contain essential nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus, which are important for dental development.
  • Limit Sugary Drinks: Instead, encourage your child to drink water, which is not only hydrating but also beneficial for oral health.
  • Introduce a Balanced Diet: Gradually introduce a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods. Focus on incorporating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy products. These food groups provide essential vitamins and minerals necessary for dental health.
  • Limit Sugary and Sticky Foods: Minimize the consumption of sugary and sticky foods, such as candies, cookies, and dried fruits. These foods can cling to the teeth, increasing the risk of cavities.
  • Promote Regular Oral Hygiene: Establish good oral hygiene habits early on. Clean your child’s gums with a damp cloth before their first tooth erupts, and once teeth appear, start brushing them gently with an age-appropriate toothbrush and a small smear of fluoride toothpaste.

Remember, every parent faces unique challenges, and what matters most is the love, care, and nurturing environment you create for your child. In addition to nutrition, maintaining good oral hygiene practices, regular dental visits, and instilling positive dental habits play a crucial role in your child’s dental health.

A Fun and Easy Guide to Brushing and Flossing for Kids

A Fun and Easy Guide to Brushing and Flossing for Kids

Good oral hygiene is crucial for your child’s dental health, and as parents, it’s your job to make brushing and flossing a fun and engaging experience. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the correct and proper way to brush and floss your child’s teeth while incorporating creative and entertaining techniques to make the process enjoyable.

Brushing and flossing are essential daily routines that work hand in hand to prevent a host of oral health issues. Together, these practices help maintain fresh breath, prevent tooth decay, reduce the risk of gum inflammation, and contribute to a healthier, brighter smile.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Before we dive into the brushing and flossing routine, let’s gather all the necessary tools:

  • A soft-bristle toothbrush
  • Child-friendly toothpaste (with fluoride)
  • Dental floss
  • A timer or a fun toothbrush timer app

Step 2: The Brushing Routine

We’re going to create a memorable acronym, “SMILE,” to make brushing a breeze:

  • S – Start with a Song: Begin by singing a fun toothbrushing song. Invent your own or find one online. Here’s an example:

Squish, squish, brush from left to right,

Making our teeth sparkle, oh so bright.

Inside, outside, top, and bottom, too,

Say goodbye to plaque, it’s what we do!

  • M – Magic Toothpaste: Let your child apply a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to their brush. Toothpaste with fluoride is recommended to prevent cavities.
  • I – Inside and Out: Brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth using small circular motions. Don’t forget the molars!
  • L – Last for 2 Minutes: Set a timer for 2 minutes or use a toothbrush timer app. Make it a game to see if your child can brush until the timer beeps.
  • E – Easy Does It: Remind your child to be gentle while brushing to avoid hurting their gums.

Bonus Tip: After brushing, encourage your child not to rinse with water immediately. This allows the fluoride from the toothpaste to continue protecting their teeth.

Step 3: The Flossing Routine

Now, let’s tackle flossing in a fun and easy way:

  • F – Find the Spaces: Show your child how to use dental floss to clean their teeth. Explain that this is where food particles hide.
  • L – Light Touch: Teach them to be gentle while flossing, so they don’t harm their gums.
  • O – One Tooth at a Time: Encourage your child to floss each tooth individually, making sure to reach the gumline.
  • S – Silly Sounds: Make flossing more enjoyable by creating silly sounds every time they floss between two teeth. It’ll bring laughter to the routine!
  • S – Smile and Show Off: After flossing, ask your child to smile and show off their clean, shiny teeth. Praise their efforts!

Order Matters Not: There’s no proven advantage or disadvantage in the order in which you floss or brush your teeth. The key is to do both effectively.

When buying dental supplies, consider these tips:

  • Toothbrush: Look for a soft-bristle toothbrush with a small head. It should be age-appropriate, with colorful designs your child will love.
  •  Toothpaste: Opt for toothpaste with fluoride to help prevent cavities. Make sure to check if the one you choose is adequate for your child’s age.
  • Dental Floss: Choose a soft, flexible dental floss designed for children. Floss picks with fun shapes can also make flossing more appealing.

Remember that replacing supplies is very important, you should replace toothbrushes every 3-4 months or sooner if the bristles are frayed. Toothpaste and dental floss also have expiration dates, so check them periodically.

Nutrition’s Role in Dental Health

While proper brushing and flossing are essential, nutrition also plays a crucial role in your child’s oral health. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products provides essential nutrients for healthy teeth and gums. Limiting sugary snacks and beverages, as we have mentioned in previous articles, can be harmful to dental health.

To learn more about how nutrition affects your child’s oral health, check out our article, How Nutrition Affects Your Child’s Oral Health. It delves deeper into the connection between diet and dental well-being, providing valuable insights for parents.

Why Is It Important for Children to Know How to Floss?

Teaching children how to care for their teeth isn’t just about preventing cavities; it’s about empowering them to take control of their well-being. When children learn the fundamentals of good oral hygiene, they gain a sense of responsibility for their health that extends beyond the classroom. It’s a skill that will serve them well throughout their lives because good dental health not only impacts physical health and aesthetics but also plays a significant role in mental health and self-esteem.

For parents, knowing that their children are equipped with the knowledge and habits to maintain a healthy smile brings peace of mind. It’s one less thing to worry about in the hustle and bustle of the school year. By instilling these habits early, parents can set their kids on a path to lifelong dental health, helping them smile with confidence and enjoy the benefits of a bright, healthy, and self-assured future. So, as the school bell rings, let’s make dental care a part of the back-to-school routine, ensuring that our children embark on this new academic journey with vibrant smiles and the knowledge to care for them.

If you need further insights into maintaining a dazzling smile for your kids, read our article How To Avoid A Yellow Smile On My Kids.

Regular Dental Visits

While following these fun and easy steps for brushing and flossing is vital, regular dental check-ups are equally important. These visits help ensure your child’s dental health is in tip-top shape and allow the dentist to catch any issues early.

Maintaining your child’s dental health can be both easy and enjoyable. By creating a fun routine, incorporating songs, and emphasizing the importance of nutrition, you can help your child develop good oral hygiene habits that will last a lifetime. So, let’s encourage a nutritious diet, schedule those important dental appointments, and make brushing and flossing an adventure that your child looks forward to every day.