7 Surprising Health Benefits of Straight Teeth 1200 630 Lance Alder, DDS

7 Surprising Health Benefits of Straight Teeth

Straight teeth often indicate a healthy mouth, but there are several other reasons to straighten your teeth and get a better smile with InvisalignⓇ.

1. Healthier Teeth

When teeth are too widely spaced out or too crowded together, they can become inflamed and red. This is often a sign or cause of periodontal disease. Straighter teeth are also easier to clean and maintain, while crooked teeth make it more difficult to get brush bristles and floss into the crevices.

2. Self-Esteem and Confidence

Typically, people who don’t like the way their teeth look don’t smile as much. Our faces are meant to be full of expression, but without showing our teeth, we are holding back from all of the most happy emotions. A smile is a sign of confidence, so your potential for personal success and mental health are improved with the ability to flash a better, straighter smile.

3. Clear Speech

Teeth play a more important role in speech than you may realize. Teeth with an irregular configuration or a central gap will often cause a noticeable difference in your pronunciation. By straightening your teeth, you can begin to speak more clearly.

4. Lower Injury Risk

When your teeth are protruding or crooked, they have a better chance of getting chipped or knocked out. Irregular teeth also bite your cheeks or tongue more often, causing painful sores. Teeth in their proper places stay where they belong and injuries occur far less often.

5. Better Digestion.

Straight teeth are better for chewing, which is the first step in the food digestion process. Food that is more thoroughly chewed helps speed the process along, while poorly chewed food requires more digesting to be done in the stomach and intestines, so you get less nutrition out of the food and may experience indigestion more frequently.

6. Decreased Head or Neck Pain.

Crooked teeth may put excessive stress on gums, jaw bone, and joints, contributing to jaw misalignment. This can lead to chronic headaches and face or neck pain. Straight teeth, however, help keep the body in alignment and lessen stress and pain.

7. Improves Overall Health

When your teeth are straight, you will have reduced bacteria in your mouth, making you less prone to infection. Oral infections may lead to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and pneumonia, the longer they are left unattended.

The act of smiling itself can make you happy, as studies have shown time and again. And happiness is often correlated with healthiness.

If you’ve always wanted straight, healthy teeth, now’s the time to find out more about Invisalign®. This transition could be to more than just a better looking smile, you could soon experience the many health benefits of straight teeth.

5 Reasons For Your Child to See the Orthodontist Early 1200 630 Lance Alder, DDS

5 Reasons For Your Child to See the Orthodontist Early

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that parents have their children see an orthodontist for the first time at around age 7. Although this age is too soon to begin many treatments, this first visit occurs at a good point in your child’s development, and allows your family several benefits.

  1. Discuss Concerns

As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else. Over the years, you may have noticed things about your child’s teeth or mouth that you can discuss with your dentist, who can then refer you to an orthodontist, particularly if related to:

  • Late or early loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Thumb Sucking
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Facial imbalance
  • Grinding or clenching teeth

Your orthodontist can tell you if your child’s problem is serious and what can be done to improve it.

  1. Identify Potential Problems

At around age 7, your child’s mouth already displays many of the characteristics that it will retain for his or her life. Many potential problems can be identified at this point, and plans can be made to deal with issues early on.

Potential problems that will need to be attended to include:

  • Tooth Loss and Eruption – teeth that are lost too soon or too late, or have difficulty coming through
  • Crowding and Spacing – too much or too little space between teeth and in the mouth
  • Alignment – crooked teeth that are susceptible to uneven wear or damage in case of trauma
  • Protrusive Front Teeth – front teeth that stick out too far, also known as an overbite
  • Underbites – lower teeth that project beyond the upper, subject to bite shifting and damage to the front teeth
  • Posterior Crossbites – crowding that leads to the jaw shifting laterally, leaving little room for anterior eruption
  • Anterior Openbites and Deepbites – vertical problems with the bite when it is either too deep or has insufficient overlap
  1. Interceptive Treatment

For many of the problems above, small fixes can be applied while your child is still young to prevent the issue from becoming worse. Sometimes this means applying minor treatments that do not impede growth. Other times it involves teaching your child habit changes that will prevent the problem from worsening. Interceptive treatment helps to deliver final results faster and makes future treatment more effective.

Acknowledging potential issues early on while planning to correct them can help boost self-confidence during a time when your child’s self-image is still developing. Their teeth are only one part of them, not the whole picture.

  1. Parental Planning

If your child will need to have orthodontic work done in the future, the sooner you know about it, the better you can plan. Parents can get insurance and financing information early on, and know their payment options as soon as possible. Both parent and children can spend time researching treatment options to decide which type of braces will work best for them, and to know exactly what is out there.

Families can also schedule big events or other family needs around the treatment requirements to help make it a smooth process for everyone.

  1. Getting Used To the Idea

Oftentimes kids may be hesitant about receiving orthodontic treatment, and feel uncertain about what wearing braces might mean for them. If given enough lead time, your child can learn for themselves about how nearly all activities can still be done with braces. They can still play many sports and most instruments, and may see very little negative functional impact on their abilities while wearing braces.

It is always better when you can give your child time to understand the importance of braces in the long run, and the negative effects of forgoing treatment. Learn about the limited time that your child will actually be wearing them, and try to remind them of the relative shortness of that time period.

With one trip to see the orthodontist early on, parents can better plan for needed treatment, and children can learn about positive habits to keep the problem from becoming worse. An early assessment allows for early correction, and gives your child an even better smile several years earlier.

A Parent’s Guide to Emergency Dental Care 1200 630 Lance Alder, DDS

A Parent’s Guide to Emergency Dental Care

What counts as a dental emergency and how should you handle it as a parent? It’s stressful to have to make such a call for your child in the moment. This guide can help you make an informed decision and give you an idea of what to expect before it happens.

Always keep your dentist’s emergency information easily accessible, so you can contact him or her quickly in case of emergency.

It’s a Dental Emergency When:

1. A Permanent Tooth is Knocked Out

Find the tooth right away and hold it by the crown, not the root. Rinse with water if it appears dirty, then attempt to reinsert the tooth back into the socket. Have your child bite down on clean gauze to keep the tooth in place. If you are unable to re-implant, store the tooth in milk or water.

Call your dentist IMMEDIATELY to make an emergency appointment. The quicker the tooth is reimplanted, the better the chance of saving it.

2. A Tooth is Chipped, Fractured or Displaced

Gently rinse the damaged area of the mouth with warm water, then apply a cold compress where bruised. Find and save any broken tooth fragments in cold milk or water.

Call your dentist IMMEDIATELY to make emergency appointment.

3. A Severe Blow to the Head or a Jaw Fracture

Go to the nearest emergency room or contact an emergency medical team immediately.

A severe head injury can be life-threatening, so don’t hesitate to get help for your child as soon as possible.

4. There is Facial Swelling

Continue to apply cold compresses to the affected areas in order to reduce swelling.

If swelling persists, call your dentist to make emergency appointment.

5. There is Uncontrolled Bleeding From the Mouth

Continue to apply pressure to the wound to slow and stop the bleeding.

Call an emergency medical team or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.  

If any of these situations arise and you are unable to reach your dental office for some reason, please go to the emergency room or an urgent care facility immediately.

It Is Not a Dental Emergency When:

1. A Baby Tooth is Knocked Out

Usually, it is better not to reinsert a baby tooth once it has been knocked out, as it can interfere with your child’s emerging permanent teeth. If a baby tooth has been knocked out prematurely, rinse your child’s mouth with water and make an appointment to see your dentist soon.

2. Your Child Has a Toothache

If your child has a toothache:

  • Carefully clean all teeth and gums in the sore area, checking for stuck food or debris
  • Have your child rinse their mouth vigorously with warm salt water
  • Apply a cold compress if his or her face is swollen
  • Give your child Tylenol or Motrin for pain
  • Call during office hours to make an appointment to see the dentist soon

If severe pain or swelling persists, go to the emergency room or call your dentist to make an emergency appointment.

3. Your Child Has a Cut Lip, Tongue, or Cheek

Apply pressure to the damaged area with clean gauze or a cloth.

If bleeding continues, see #5 above and contact your dentist.

4. There is Bleeding After Baby Tooth Falls Out

Apply pressure with clean gauze or a cloth, and have your child bite the gauze.

If bleeding continues, see #5 above and contact your dentist.

5. A Red Blister Appears on the Gum

If a red blister has appeared on the gum at the space where the tooth is erupting, it is called an eruption cyst, and is a normal occurrence. Allow the tooth to erupt on its own and do not interfere.

Always try to keep calm and take action if you think your child may have an emergency, dental or otherwise. Remember these steps and stay present to reassure your child that you are there with them, no matter what is happening.

What Parents Need To Know About Cavity Treatment Options for Children 1200 630 Lance Alder, DDS

What Parents Need To Know About Cavity Treatment Options for Children

Sometimes, even if your whole family is diligent about good oral hygiene, children do get cavities. Once a cavity has formed, it is important to treat it as soon as possible.

Cavity Treatments

Treating a cavity early on can halt further tooth decay and prevent additional cavities. There are several different options for treating cavities in children, and parents should be actively involved in helping to making those decisions with the dentist’s recommendations.


Fillings are most effective in cases of minor tooth decay, and cover a small area of the tooth by filling in the hole in the tooth caused by the cavity. Amalgam fillings are generally white or silver in color, and are made from a mixture of silver, tin, zinc, copper and mercury. Composite fillings are another option, designed to match the color of the tooth, and are made from a mixture of plastic and fine glass particles.


A crown is made specifically for your mouth, and covers the entire top of the tooth. This is the best treatment choice if a cavity is large or affects several areas of the tooth. Crowns are made of metal, ceramic, or sometimes a combination of the two.

Space Maintainers

If a primary tooth falls out too soon, whether from decay or an accident, a space maintainer may be used to hold its place and keep the surrounding teeth from crowding the space. Otherwise, the adult tooth may come in crooked or crowded which can affect your child’s ability to talk and chew.

Root Canal

In extreme cases of tooth decay, the nerve of the tooth may become infected. At this point, a dentist may have to perform a root canal to remove the nerve tissue inside the root to stop the pain and rid the tooth of infection..

Sedation Dentistry

For some treatments and some children, dentists choose to use sedation dentistry to help make extensive dental work a smoother experience. Different levels and options are available, so it’s important to discuss with your dentist about which options are best for your child.

  • Nitrous Oxide

Also known as laughing gas, this treatment relaxes children without putting them to sleep. It is given through a small breathing mask and is recognized by the AAPD as safe for children.

  • General Anesthesia

For more extensive procedures, general anesthesia is sometimes used to allow children to be completely asleep. While this course of action comes with some risks, your dentist may still recommend it if the benefits outweigh the risks, particularly if being awake would cause your child too much emotional or physical pain. The AAPD has recognized that there are patients who benefit from such deep sedation or general anesthesia.

These treatment options to fix cavities may seem challenging, especially when you think of your child going through them, but the risk of forgoing treatment altogether is usually worse. If left unattended, cavities can cause pain, swelling, infection, the spread of tooth decay, damage to developing adult teeth, and your child can even be hospitalized due to dental infection.

Talk with your dentist about the best options for treating your child’s cavities and get the highest quality care as soon as possible.

6 Best Practices for Preventing Cavities in Children 1200 630 Lance Alder, DDS

6 Best Practices for Preventing Cavities in Children

Cavities develop when sugars and starches feed bacteria in the mouth and produce acid to erode important tooth enamel. Once a cavity forms, it is permanent damage that must be repaired with a filling from a dentist.

By strengthening and cleaning teeth before decay can occur, you can often avoid cavities altogether. Cleaning and strengthening teeth are some of the best practices to follow for preventing cavities in children.

  1. Use Fluoride

Fluoride is a mineral that stalls tooth decay, and can even reverse or stop the process in its early stages. It replaces lost minerals and reduces bacteria’s ability to make harmful acid. Most community water sources and toothpastes contain fluoride, since it is so essential.

  1. Think About What They Eat

Frequently eating foods with sugar or starches increases the production of bacteria and acids. In contrast, limiting sugary drinks and food decreases the amount of bacteria in your child’s mouth. To ensure that food won’t have the chance to sit on your child’s teeth for long, reduce snacking between meals and do not allow food or drink after bedtime brushing.

  1. Brushing Teeth

Always brush teeth twice per day using a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. For best results, help your child brush their teeth until they have the dexterity to do so themselves, and supervise the process after that.

  1. Consider Dental Sealants

Sealants fill in the grooves on the surfaces of teeth to help prevent food from being trapped in spaces too small for a toothbrush to clean. Permanent molars are rough and uneven, which make them prone to cavities, so make sure to ask your dentist about dental sealants on older children’s back teeth.

  1. Watch for White Spots

White spots on teeth can sometimes indicate early tooth decay, and form where minerals have been lost and the structure of the tooth has been weakened. If caught in time, cavities may still be prevented at this stage.

  1. Regular Dentist Checkups

Schedule regular visits to the dentist for cleanings and examinations to get ahead of cavity formation. The dentist can remove plaque, check for tooth decay, and remind you and your child on proper brushing techniques while also answering any questions you may have regarding your child’s oral health.

Learning how to take good care of your child’s teeth is the best way to prevent cavities and dental problems later on in their lives. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, cavities can still occur in young children.
Check back soon for more on treatment options for children with cavities.

5 Toothbrush Care Tips to Share With Your Kids 1200 630 Lance Alder, DDS

5 Toothbrush Care Tips to Share With Your Kids

Teeth can only be as clean as the tool that is used to brush them. Make sure to share with your children the importance of cleaning, storing, and keeping your toothbrush in good repair.

Every time a toothbrush is placed inside a mouth it becomes contaminated with oral microbial organisms. Use these tips to show your children how to keep their toothbrushes as clean as possible.

1. No Sharing.

Not even family members should share a toothbrush, as sharing transfers saliva and bacteria. Tooth decay is considered a kind of infectious disease, so teach your child to never share or borrow a toothbrush.

2. Rinse Thoroughly.

Rinsing your child’s toothbrush after every use removes remaining toothpaste and any debris, and can even be fun for your child. Water can wash away a good amount of bacteria from a toothbrush.

3. Store Carefully.

Keep your child’s toothbrush stored upright in open air environment, separate from any other toothbrushes to prevent cross contamination. Do not keep in an enclosed space, as the dark, moist environment of a closed container fosters microorganism growth. When traveling, choose a container with air holes or let the toothbrush dry completely before putting it away.

4. Replace It.

Treat your child’s mouth to a new toothbrush at least every 3-4 months. Changing it out even more often is an easy way to further decrease exposure to bacteria. Always get a new brush after your child has an illness or as soon as the bristles show signs of wear. Frayed or worn bristles are far less effective at cleaning teeth than the bristles of a brand new toothbrush.

5. Don’t Try To Sanitize.

Using a dishwasher or microwave could damage a toothbrush and impair its cleaning abilities. Do not use sanitizing agents, as they have not been shown to have any real effect on cleaning the toothbrush. Instead, simply invest in a new toothbrush on a regular basis to limit the bacteria in your child’s mouth, and add a fun item to the shopping list.

Taking care of your cleaning device helps ensure a cleaner set of teeth.Teach your children these essential toothbrush care steps and use them for yourself to lead to a household full of clean and healthy teeth.

13 Secrets for Brushing Your Toddler’s Teeth 1200 630 Lance Alder, DDS

13 Secrets for Brushing Your Toddler’s Teeth

As more tiny teeth begin to fill your child’s mouth, it is important to teach teach toddler’s how to be okay with brushing their teeth. With time, they can even learn to enjoy the feeling of a clean mouth!

Here are 13 tips to help get your toddler used to brushing their teeth.

1. Tot’s Choice. 

Start by letting your child choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste. This allows them to feel involved in the process from the beginning and gives them something to look forward to about brushing their teeth.

2. Start Slow. 

For your own sake, accept that it won’t be a perfect brush at first–or even for a while. Take small steps and work on getting your child used to cleaning their mouth. This could mean setting goals of 30 seconds at first, then 60 seconds, and so on, before finally working up to the full 2 minutes of recommended brushing. You can also take a few weeks of just brushing your child’s teeth in the evening, then eventually introducing them to morning brushing.

3. Take Turns.

Let your child brush their own teeth too. Demonstrate good technique, then let them try it for themselves. In this age when children begin to experiment with autonomy, use opportunities like this to share control in a supervised setting.

4. Brush Mommy and Daddy’s Teeth.

The best way with kids can sometimes be through leading by example. Show your kiddo there is nothing to worry about, that clean teeth are for everyone, and also get in an extra brush for yourself. Even let them practice brushing your teeth to see what it’s like.

5. Sing a Song.

To make the time more fun, pick your child’s favorite song or introduce a new one to sing with them while brushing their teeth. Let them know that when the song is finished then their teeth are all clean. As you progress to longer brushing, work up to singing the song through twice.

6. Name That Food.

Call out each food that your little one ate that day as you brush. Make a game of scrubbing each cracker and piece of fruit out. In moments of distraction, ask them to help you remember what else they ate that has to be brushed away.

7. Up the Power.

A battery-powered toothbrush can not only make the teeth brushing process more fun for some kids, but it also helps teach them the ideal circular movements and length of brushing time.

8. Brush in the Tub.

For some kids, brushing in the tub helps them focus, or allows them to be distracted. This space may help parents keep them contained, and it also connects clean skin and hair with clean teeth.

9. Toy Teeth.

Does your child have bath toys that could use some oral care? Join toys in the fun, and take turns brushing between child and toy, and even let your child choose which toy gets its teeth cleaned first.

10. Holding On.

Keeping little hands busy will help with just about any task, so give your toddler something to hold. This object can be another toothbrush or a favorite toy. This keeps both hands and attention occupied and makes the brushing time more interesting for them.

11. Positive Reinforcement.

As parents, be sure to praise your child for their good brushing habits. On visits to the dentist, have your dentist encourage your child as well. Outside encouragement always helps reinforce the importance of brushing teeth.

12. Make it Routine.

Brush your toddler’s teeth at the same times every day. Once it becomes part of the plan, just like everything else, it can be easier to accept and understand that when teeth are brushed, the next part of the day can begin.

13. Talk About It.

Depending on their age and development, some children can talk to you about what they don’t like about brushing their teeth. Try asking and see what your child says. Maybe you are moving too fast or too slow, or their gums are sensitive, or perhaps they are feeling rushed out of a different part of the daily routine. Let your child know you are open to trying things differently.

Experiment with brushing your toddler’s teeth to find something that works well for the both of you. Remember, insufficient teeth cleaning can lead to major dental problems when your little one is older, so, whatever it takes, be sure to get those little chompers brushed!

The Top 10 Worst Foods For Your Kids’ Teeth 1200 630 Lance Alder, DDS

The Top 10 Worst Foods For Your Kids’ Teeth

Ever wonder which foods have the biggest impact on you and your child’s teeth each day? Here are some of the foods that if allowed to sit on teeth for hours at a time can contribute to tooth decay.

Of course, your kiddos can and will still enjoy many of these foods! Just take care to limit the amount of time the food is left on their teeth, and make sure they brush or, at least, rinse their teeth with water soon after consumption.

1. Cereal for Breakfast

Cereal has more sugar than you would think – an average of 11 grams per serving. While breakfast is a great start to the day, it may not be as good a start for your teeth. This is another reason for children to brush their teeth after eating in the morning as well as at night.

2. Fruit Snacks

Gummy foods stick to teeth and between teeth making it hard to remove with rinsing alone. Be sure to brush your kids’ teeth soon after eating these snacks as anything with added sugar means added trouble.

3. Sugary Drinks

Sodas contain a lot of sugar, as do most juices. However, Gatorade and other sports drinks are actually worse in terms of sugar and impact on your teeth. If your child can’t brush their teeth after consuming these drinks, then at least rinse, rinse, rinse!

For the little ones, dilute all juices with water and don’t serve in a sippy cup as it can leave liquid pooling in their mouths.

4. Caramel, Lollipops, Hard Candy

The longer the candy lasts, the longer the teeth have sugar on them. Hard candies, like  caramels and lollipops, tend to cling to teeth increasing the chance for tooth decay.

5. Dried Fruits

Sugars in fruit become highly concentrated once the water is dried away. Their sticky texture can cling to teeth as much as gooey candies. In fact, non-soluble cellulose fiber binds sugar to teeth worse than candy does.

6. Starches

Any starchy food, such as white bread, potato chips, or pasta, can lodge between teeth and in tooth crevices. It then is converted to sugar by enzymes in saliva and bacteria in the mouth.

7. High in Acid

Citric fruits, like oranges, and juices that are high in acid can erode enamel and should be eaten quickly. Drink water to rinse your mouth afterwards and avoid sucking on fruits as this brings the acids in direct contact with your teeth for a longer period of time. 

8. Pickles

The acidic vinegar used to pickle cucumbers can erode tooth enamel. Always have your children rinse and brush their teeth after eating pickles.

9. Pre-Packaged Foods

Any food that is highly processed and high in starches and sugar will be worse for your kids’ teeth, such as crackers or white bread. And because of their content, pre-made lunches for kids are often the biggest culprits.

 10. Popcorn and Corn on the Cob

You know how it is: corn gets stuck in and around your teeth every time you eat it. If left for long, it can create gum inflammation or irritation.   

Don’t worry! Adults and kids alike will all eat these foods, often every day. The important thing is to rinse or brush the food away as soon as possible, minimizing the time these sugars sit on your teeth.

Know When to Floss and Use Toothpaste With Your Kids 1200 630 Lance Alder, DDS

Know When to Floss and Use Toothpaste With Your Kids

While parents should always be taking care of their child’s baby teeth, sometimes small steps are the best way to ramp up to full care. As your little one sprouts more and more tiny teeth, here are some ways to begin investing more time and care into your child’s teeth.

Starting to Use Toothpaste

Experts now recommend that parents use a small amount of children’s toothpaste with fluoride on the child’s teeth as soon as they start brushing, rather than waiting until they are older. Make sure to use a very small amount for little ones.

When teeth first begin to appear, usually at the age of two and under, only a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste – around the size of a rice grain – is needed. If more is needed to complete brushing, use gel without fluoride.

After the age of 2, use a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste to clean your child’s teeth. For more brushing needs, use gel without fluoride. At this point, encourage your child to practice spitting excess toothpaste into the sink.

Toothpaste helps keep teeth and gums healthy and is an essential part of fighting tooth decay in children.

Beginning to Floss

When your child has only a few teeth, there is no need to floss. As your child grows, they may have adjacent teeth that contact each other, which usually begins around the age of 2 or 3..  At that point, start helping your children to floss their teeth by showing them how to do so and letting them try.  Some parents have found the flossing sticks helpful as it can be difficult for a young child to properly maneuver their hands.

Every child will gain the ability to floss well on their own at a different age. Typically, children gain the dexterity needed around the same time they have coordination to tie their own shoes. Even after that point, watch to make sure they get every tooth and help out for hard-to-reach places.

Flossing is just as essential as brushing your teeth.  The tight spaces between teeth are perfect areas for bacteria and plaque to build up, leading to inflammation and gum disease over time. Make flossing a part of you and your children’s daily tooth brushing routine.

Gradually getting your child used to taking care of their teeth will set them up for life. Your guidance and example early on can will create healthy habits that will last their lifetime.

7 Dentist-Approved Tips for Taking Care of Baby Teeth 1200 630 Lance Alder, DDS

7 Dentist-Approved Tips for Taking Care of Baby Teeth

Even though they won’t be around forever, little teeth are important too. Start taking care of your baby’s teeth early on and set him or her up for a healthy mouth.

Here are the top baby teeth care tips you should remember as a new parent:

1. Wipe Toothless Gums

Even before your baby gets his or her first tooth, use a soft cloth or rubber finger cover to wipe their gums. This wipes away excess food and gets them used to having their mouth cleaned, preparing for toothbrushes and flossing later on.

2. Limit Bottle at Bedtime

When a baby takes a bottle to bed, he or she will often fall asleep while sucking, leaving liquid pooling in the mouth. Milk–or worse, juice–in a bottle at bedtime can cause tooth decay when the sugars in the liquid are left to sit on teeth for extended periods of time.

3. Drink Water

Rinsing baby’s mouth with water after every meal helps remove sugars and starches from the  mouth, especially most baby foods. Offer baby water after every meal time to help minimize the time sugars are left on teeth.

4. Avoid Sugar

Babies are not born with a natural sweet tooth, and are happy with foods that are naturally flavored, even those adults would consider bland. Avoid foods with added sugar, and dilute even fruit juice to start teeth off healthy.

5. Start the Toothbrush

At around age 2, or whenever your baby has multiple teeth, start using a soft toothbrush and a small amount of toothpaste to clean teeth. Help him or her learn the brushing movements, but make sure to brush more thoroughly for them as they practice.

6. Use Fluoride Toothpaste

Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay by fighting bacteria that causes plaque. Topical fluoride is the most effective way to give your teeth fluoride and is now recommended by the American Dental Association for infant’s teeth. Use a small smear on the toothbrush for children under 3 years old, and a pea-sized amount for children over 3.

7. Visit the Dentist

The American Dental Association recommends your child visit the dentist for the first time within six months of getting their first tooth. While every child’s dental needs will be a little different, taking good care of all teeth even before your first trip to the family dentist will help keep them healthy.

Think of the Consequences

Even though it may not seem to matter as much as adult teeth, taking care of baby teeth is extremely important for oral care now and later. Not taking care of these first teeth can cause issues with permanent teeth later on as well as:

  • Causing cavities – Teeth can grow in with improper enamel development which make even the permanent teeth more prone to cavities
  • Forming bad habits – Deprioritizing healthy teeth now will be a hard habit to break later on. Show your kids that their teeth matter now for a lesson they will remember.
  • Time-consuming and traumatizing – When a child has multiple cavities, they must be filled at separate visits, as young children cannot handle extensive work in a single sitting. This is often difficult to accomplish for parents’ schedules and upsetting for the child to have to undergo multiple times.
  • Long-Lasting anxiety – Almost all adult patients who have dental anxiety can link their distress as a direct result of poor childhood experiences

It’s never too early to think of your little one’s tiny, pearly whites. Set your baby up for a healthy mouth and worry-free tooth care by starting early and starting strong.