When Should Your Child Start Brushing Their Own Teeth?

How early should you be helping your child to brush their teeth? Afterwards, when and how should kids start brushing their own teeth? With so much information available online, it can be difficult to get the clear answer you’re looking for as a parent.

 

Read on to learn more about tips that you can use today to start good brushing habits with your kids, and to answer the question of when your children should begin brushing their own teeth. 

 

When should you begin brushing your child’s teeth? 

You can begin brushing your child’s teeth from as early as four months old, well before they even have teeth.

 

Starting early can help to stimulate blood flow in the gums, and can encourage great oral health from an early age. Simply use a wet, soft towel or even your finger. You won’t have to worry about using toothpaste until their first tooth appears. Be sure to use a very small amount on a soft-bristled brush when you brush your child’s teeth for the first time. 

 

How can I help my child have good brushing habits? 

Brushing their teeth on their own is a habit that you’ll have to support your child in learning. Your child can start learning how to brush their own teeth at age 3, while they should be brushing their own teeth morning and night by age 4. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you to stay on the right track with your child’s personal oral hygiene habits from a young age. 

 

  1. Mirror & copy 

Have your child take part in your own oral care routine. Focusing on having them mirror you can help you to instill good brushing habits, and allows you to regularly monitor their oral health. It also shows them how high of a priority oral care is when it comes to one’s overall well-being.

 

  1. Encourage & incentivize 

As your child develops, you can begin using habit trackers and other incentives to keep them on the right track. Rewards work well to solidify these habits at every stage of development.

 

  1. Visit your pediatric dentist 

Making your dentist trips a priority is key for pediatric oral health. Looking for a pediatric dentist in Greenville, NC? The team at Wilson Pediatric Dentistry is here to help. With years of success and hundreds of happy patients, we’re confident that we can help you get the care you need for excellent oral health. Keep browsing our website to learn more, and feel welcome to schedule your appointment today.

Protect Your Kid’s Teeth During Summer Play

Protect Your Kid’s Teeth During Summer Play

Now that your kids are off of school for the summer, they’ll want to get out and enjoy themselves. Summertime is a great opportunity to have fun and make memories for children, but it can also be quite hazardous if they are not careful. An accident can happen in an instant, and without proper care, could result in serious damage to your child’s teeth. Follow these tips to help protect your kid’s teeth this summer so they can return to school with a happy and healthy smile.

Buy a Custom Mouth Guard

A mouth guard that can be molded to fit your child’s teeth perfectly will provide a lot of protection throughout most types of play. Make sure they are wearing the mouth guard when roughhousing, riding bikes, using skateboards, and enjoying other activities where they might bump their mouth.

Keep Healthy Snacks Available

Summertime often means frequent snacks to keep up their energy. Rather than eating candy and drinking sugary drinks, make sure they have vegetables and other options that taste great and won’t cause problems with their teeth.

Provide Proper Protective Equipment

If your children will be playing any sports, make sure they have the right equipment to do it safely. For potentially dangerous sports like football, baseball, and hockey, make sure their helmet has a full face guard to protect their teeth.

Follow a Daily Brushing and Flossing Routine

Once school ends, the normal routine can go right out the window. If you aren’t careful, this can mean that your kids skip brushing and flossing from time to time, which can leave their teeth vulnerable to cavities. While the summer routine may be different than the normal school year one, it definitely needs to include proper oral care.

Schedule a Dentist Appointment

The summer is the perfect time of year to schedule a dentist appointment for your kids since they won’t have to miss any school. Get a summer cleaning and checkup at the best pediatric dentist in Greenville. Wilson Pediatric Dentistry serves children throughout Greenville, Rocky Mount, NC, Knightdale, NC and the surrounding area. Give us a call at (252) 291-4300 to schedule an appointment today.

Thumb Sucking and Your Child’s Teeth

Thumb Sucking and Your Child’s Teeth

During infancy, children may turn to a variety of “sucking” behaviors in order to self-soothe. The most common of these is thumb sucking, though pacifier use is also quite common. These forms of self-soothing are usually harmless in infancy, but when they extend into early childhood, they lead to the development of dental issues.

How Sucking Thumbs or Fingers Can impact Your Child’s Teeth

In fact, there are a number of ways in which sucking behaviors can adversely impact your child’s teeth or their overall health. Some examples include:

  • The most serious effect is malocclusion, also known as an open bite. This describes a type of dental misalignment that is notable even when the mouth is closed.
  • Long-term thumb sucking may also result in an overbite, a type of malocclusion in which the top teeth cover the bottom teeth any time the mouth is closed.
  • Thumb sucking can contribute to speech impediments. Because thumb and finger sucking results in shifting to the teeth, jaw, or palette, it can affect your child’s ability to form certain sounds.

How to Stop Harmful Behaviors

There are a few tips and strategies we recommend for parents who wish to put an end to their child’s thumb sucking behaviors.

  • Reinforce positive behaviors. Sticker/reward charts can work really well for most kids.
  • Start by eliminating thumb sucking during daytime, then naps, and finally nighttime.
  • Consider the use of Mavala thumb polish and/or fabric gloves.
  • Consider painting a face on the thumb with a non-toxic marker, a gentle reminder to your child.

Talk with a Pediatric Dentist

For additional insights, or a consultation regarding early-stage dental concerns, we recommend scheduling a consultation with a pediatric dentist.

As you search for a pediatric dentist near you, keep Wilson Pediatric Dentistry in mind. We are happy to serve kids and parents throughout the Wilson, NC community. Schedule a consultation appointment with us at any time.

Are X-Rays Safe?

dentistry x-ray

If you have ever been to the dentist, you have likely been told that you will need to have a dental x-ray performed. These x-rays are an important tool for evaluating overall oral health, diagnosing problems, developing treatment plans, and much more. If you’re bringing your children in for dental care, you’re probably concerned about the safety of x-rays.

People worry about x-rays because they use radiation to take the image of the inside of the body. Radiation, of course, can be very dangerous to the human body. While x-rays in the past did result in a significant amount of radiation exposure, today’s machines are extremely safe. Take some time to learn about dental x-rays, how safe they are, and why they are an important part of a comprehensive dental care plan.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

According to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, children can be safely exposed to 500 millirems of radiation per year. While different x-ray machines use a different amount of radiation, all modern machines are well below this limit. On average, a single dental x-ray creates just 1.5 millirems of radiation, which is extremely little. On top of that, our pediatric dentist in Greenville takes further steps to minimize exposure, including things like:

  • Placing a lead vest over the patient to block radiation
  • Scheduling x-rays only when needed for treatment
  • Using focused x-ray imaging to get good results without having to repeat the x-ray
  • And Much more

Our goal is to make sure we keep all of our patients safe. That means minimizing the exposure to radiation while maximizing our ability to properly take care of their teeth.

Why are Dental X-Rays Important?

Dentists have a variety of tools and techniques that they use to care for your child’s teeth. X-rays are one of the most important tools because they can give dentists and hygienists visibility into areas that would otherwise be impossible. For example, dental x-rays can give a clear image of the tooth below the gumline. This can be used to discover cavities, evaluate the health of the root of the tooth, and much more. In addition, x-rays can look at the inside of the tooth to see if there are any areas that are weak or damaged. There are many other ways that dentists use x-rays to help improve your teeth. Fortunately, they are a very safe and effective diagnostic tool that we can use.

Providing Effective Dental Care in Greenville, NC

Our team works hard to make your child’s dental visit as pleasant as possible and to ensure that they are comfortable. Schedule your child’s dental x-rays today or call us at (252)-291-4300; we’ll be happy to help.

How to Comfort Your Child for Their First Dental Appointment

Kids Dentist Visit

Most pediatric dentists agree that a child’s first dental appointment should be scheduled around the time of their first birthday. One reason for this is that it provides a way to ensure that your child’s smile is developing just the way it’s supposed to. Additionally, it creates early familiarity with dental care, helping your child to become more comfortable with the idea of going to the dentist.

 

Even if you do ensure early exposure to the dentist, however, bracing your child for a cleaning can be a little bit daunting. (After all, there are even adults who get the jitters before their trip to the dentist.) Here are a few tips for parents to keep in mind as they seek to comfort their child in advance of a dental appointment.

 

Tips to Prepare Your Child for Their First Dental Visit

 

  •   Exude positivity. If you convey anxiety, your child will doubtless pick up on it. Even if you’re not a huge fan of going to the dentist yourself, it’s important to put on a smile and adopt a cheerful tone as you drive your child to the appointment.
  •   Check out some books and shows. Try to find some children’s stories that involve (positive) trips to the dentist, which will show your child what a routine part of life it is.
  •   Schedule your appointment for earlier in the day. Generally speaking, kids do better at the dentist when they are still pretty fresh and alert.
  •   Find the right dentist. We highly recommend finding a pediatric dental practice. Pediatric dentists have special expertise in soothing children’s nerves and helping them feel safe and comfortable during their cleaning. (Naturally, for a kids’ dentist in Greenville, NC, we recommend our practice!)
  •   Ask for a tour. Don’t hesitate to ask your dentist for a quick tour of the building before the appointment, showing your child that it’s not a scary place.
  •   Don’t talk about it too far in advance. No need to let your child’s imagination run wild for weeks before the appointment. Instead, consider telling them about the appointment on the morning of.

 

To schedule your child’s dental cleaning in Greenville, NC, we invite you to contact Wilson Pediatric Dentistry at your convenience.

Unexpected Causes of Tooth Decay in Children

Everyone knows candy, soda, and other sugary sweets are some of the main cavity culprits for children. But there are a number of unexpected causes of tooth decay for which many people are unaware. Below we take a look at some of the lesser known causes of cavities and tooth decay in children. 

Milk

Milk is a double-edged sword as it relates to tooth health. On the one hand, milk is full of calcium and other minerals that strengthen and repair tooth enamel. On the other hand, milk contains lactose, which is a type of sugar. As the lactose is broken down, it produces acid that can cause tooth decay. 

Fruit 

Fruit is a healthy and recommended snack for kids. But fruit, particularly citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits and tangerines, contain citric acid that can eat away at enamel and leave teeth vulnerable to cavities. 

Bread

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a popular item on a kid’s lunch menu. While bread itself does not contain much sugar, it does contain a lot of starch. When you eat bread, your saliva breaks down the starch into simple sugar that sticks in the crevices of your teeth and exposes them to the produced sugar. 

Ice  

If you put ice in a kid’s drink, they’ll probably chew it. Chewing on hard substances, on the other hand, can wear away the protective enamel, leaving teeth prone to disease, as well as chips, cracks, and other damage.

Cereal

Cereal is loved by children, but not by their teeth. A lot of cereals marketed toward children are high in sugar, and a child consuming just an average serving per day for a year would consume more than 10 pounds of sugar with some cereals.

 

Schedule Your Child’s Cavity Treatment in Greenville, NC

Stop tooth decay before it starts by scheduling regular checkups and cleanings for your child. If they do get a cavity, our pediatric dentists can help them get the cavity treatment they need to heal tooth rot and restore their smiles.

Schedule your appointment today and ask our team about other causes of tooth decay and how you can keep your child’s teeth safe from harm. 

How to Choose Your Child’s Toothbrush

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR CHILD’S TOOTHBRUSH

When it comes to choosing a toothbrush for your child, it may seem that there are simply too many options. Brushes vary not only by size and shape, but by color and by the cartoon characters shown on the box. Of course, some of these factors are purely aesthetic; we’ll leave them up to you and your child to decide. As for selecting a toothbrush that gets the job done, we do have a few suggestions.

Tips for Picking Your Child’s Toothbrush

For Babies and Toddlers

Before your child has any teeth, you don’t need to worry about brushing. Simply wipe their gums clean after a meal with a wet cloth. Once that first tooth erupts, buy them a toothbrush that has a small head and an easy-to-grip handle. Your child won’t really have the fine motor skills to brush effectively, but this is a great time to train them in proper oral hygiene habits.

Ages 5-8

Once your child reaches this age range, they should start becoming a bit more independent in their oral health care. Look for toothbrushes that have slimmer handles, suiting your child’s increased dexterity. Also keep in mind that, at this point, your child’s jaw is getting larger, meaning a larger brush head is just fine.

Preadolescence

Most of the time, kids who are eight and older should be able to brush on their own. Brushes for this age group should look a lot like adult toothbrushes, with the possible exception of a slightly larger handle or smaller head. Also note that, at this age, kids often fare well with electric toothbrushes.

Schedule Your Child for Teeth Cleaning in Greenville, NC

There are a few things you can do to help your child maintain robust oral health. Getting them a toothbrush, then showing them how to use it, is crucial. Additionally, make sure you schedule regular appointments with an oral hygienist. As soon as your child develops teeth, get them into a routine of teeth cleanings every six months.

To schedule a cleaning in Greenville, reach out to our office at your convenience. Our pediatric dentistry team is here to help.

Teeth are Not Tools: Why You Shouldn’t Misuse Your Teeth

All of us know what it’s like to struggle with some kind of packaging, usually plastic, that we just can’t seem to get open. Without a knife or scissors handy, you may feel the temptation to just use your teeth. That temptation is all the more pronounced when you’re not thinking very clearly about oral health or the long-term effect misusing your teeth on objects can have.

 

The simple reality, though, is that your teeth aren’t tools, and using them as such can create long-term damage. As parents, it’s important to reiterate to your children that the teeth are there for chewing food, not for tearing off tags, opening packages, or carrying items around the house.

 

The Problem with Using Teeth as Tools

 

It may help to have some clarity on exactly what can happen when you use your teeth as tools, or when you allow your kids to do likewise.

 

The most obvious issue is that using your teeth as tools can damage them. Using teeth to open packaging is one of the leading causes of chipped teeth. In some cases, using teeth to open packaging can break the teeth, requiring them to be replaced with artificial teeth or potentially even dental implants. Misusing your teeth can also wear out tooth enamel, leading to your teeth becoming more sensitive and prone to harmful damage.

 

There are other oral health risks, too. For example, using the teeth to open packaging can cause cuts to the lips, gums, or inside of the mouth.

 

In some cases, using the teeth to open a package may even injure the jaw, causing ongoing pain or impeding proper functionality. Don’t forget that placing any non-food item in your mouth can potentially be a choking hazard, a risk that’s even more serious for kids.

 

The bottom line? Using the teeth as tools is tempting, but also very dangerous. Always take the extra step of seeking scissors, instead. Depending on their age, kids should be encouraged to do likewise, or to come to a grown-up for help.

 

Find a Pediatric Dentist Near Me

 

With any questions about ensuring proper oral health and hygiene for your kids, feel free to schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentistry team. Reach out to Wilson Pediatric Dentistry at your convenience.

How to Treat Your Child’s Tooth Pain

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We all know how uncomfortable it can be dealing with tooth pain, and it can be even more painful watching your child go through the experience.  

 

If a young one in your household is experiencing tooth pain, there are some home remedies you can try that may alleviate the pain until you can schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist. 

 

Treating Tooth Pain

Losing a tooth naturally typically does not hurt, but it can be painful when the new tooth is growing in. Tooth pain can also be caused by decay, fillings, cracks and chips, and even sinus problems. 

 

Below are some ways to treat your child’s tooth pain until they can be seen by our team. 

 

Saltwater rinse

Salt water is a natural disinfectant that can help loosen food particles that may be stuck between teeth and causing pain. It can help heal oral wounds and reduce inflammation too! Mix a half teaspoon of table salt with warm water and have your child rinse their mouth just like they would with mouthwash. 

 

Cold compress

A cold compress causes blood vessels to constrict which can reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain. Fill a plastic bag with ice and then wrap in a towel and hold it against the affected area in 20-minute intervals, repeated every few hours as needed. 

 

Vanilla extract

The alcohol in vanilla extract can bring immediate relief to a sore tooth. Just place a few drops of the extract on a cotton swab and apply gently to the affected area. And don’t worry, the alcohol is safe for treating tooth pain in children when used in moderation under adult supervision and is even great for teething babies

 

Garlic   

Garlic has been used as a tooth pain remedy for thousands of years. Crush a garlic clove into a paste and apply to the affected area or have your child chew on a fresh clove, careful not to overdo it on size.

 

See a Pediatric Dentist in Greenville, NC

If the pain persists, you may need to have your child see an emergency pediatric dentist. Schedule your appointment or contact us at (252) 291-4300. We offer same-day pediatric emergency care and can take the necessary steps to quickly diagnose the problem, administer the proper treatment, and alleviate your child’s pain.

When to Start Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth

Our dentists get a lot of questions from patients. One of the most common ones we get from parents with little ones is when to start brushing a baby’s teeth.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that you start brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as the first tooth comes in. Even before any teeth sprout, you should clean your baby’s gums daily using an infant toothbrush or damp washcloth.

Why Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth is Important

The day your baby’s first tooth comes in, it can begin building harmful plaque. Although your child’s baby teeth will eventually fall out, they serve as placeholders for permanent teeth. So, the better the baby teeth are maintained, the more likely the adult teeth will be to come in straight.

Tooth decay can also welcome harmful bacteria into the body that can lead to other health issues and may also cause the development of speech impediments. Plus, getting your baby accustomed to having their teeth brushed at an early age can help establish good oral health habits throughout childhood.

Tips for Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth

Brushing a baby’s teeth can be easier said than done, as they may not like you inserting anything into their mouth. But the following tips might help in your efforts. 

  • Stick to just water with no toothpaste at first. Once your baby has several teeth you can begin to introduce a tiny amount of toddler toothpaste. Fluoride is okay, but again, keep the amount of toothpaste used to a minimum.
  • Use a small-headed and soft-bristled toothbrush that is specially designed for baby teeth.
  • Play some fun music or have your baby hold their favorite toy while you brush. This will help your baby associate brushing with happy and positive thoughts and stimuli.

Don’t Forget Your Child’s Dental Exam

Once it’s time to start brushing your baby’s teeth, it’s time to start thinking about scheduling their first dental appointment for a teeth cleaning in Greenville, NC. It’s recommended that children have their first dental checkup around their first birthday, and they should continue seeing their dentist every six months just like adults. 

Wilson Pediatric Dentistry is the preferred pediatric dentist in Greenville, NC. Learn more about our practice or schedule your child’s appointment today to get them started with a great smile.

5 Harmful Oral Habits Parents Should Discourage

Pediatric dentists see what happens when kids possess oral habits that cause more harm than good. That’s why they’ve teamed up with parents to show kids how to help themselves. But where do you begin? Which habits are causing your kids’ dental health to deteriorate? Keep an eye out for the following habits that you can actively discourage:

  1. Nail biting and thumb sucking: Nail biting can introduce germs and bacteria into your child’s mouth and your child could likewise transmit germs onto what they touch. Thumb sucking can cause an overbite if the habit isn’t disrupted. Positive reinforcement goes a long way to curbing the habit. Some parents have tried putting a bitter or sour food-safe solution on their child’s nail or thumb to help discourage the habit. 
  2. Aggressive brushing: Some kids can be overly aggressive with brushing their teeth. Explaining to them that brushing their teeth gently will still dislodge food or plaque on the surface of their teeth or at their gum line will help end this behavior. Most importantly, keep a close eye on them and follow up with them to make sure they’re brushing correctly. 
  3. Chewing on hard objects: It’s very tempting for kids to chew on their candy or the ice in their drink. Teach them that this could lead to them chipping or fracturing their tooth, which could mean a lot of pain and a trip to the dentist. Encourage them to drink through a straw.
  4. Teeth grinding: Teeth grinding can do a lot of damage to kids’ teeth and you may not even know it’s an issue until a dentist sees the wear and tear. Regular visits to the dentist can help prevent damage from getting any worse – so make sure that your child is seeing their dentist regularly!
  5. Not using a mouth guard for sports or other rough activity: Your child could crack or lose their teeth if they’re not wearing a mouth guard while playing contact sports. Explain to them the importance of wearing a mouth guard and provide positive reinforcement until it becomes a habit.

Many times, kids will grow out of these habits. If they don’t, an ingrained habit can be especially hard to break. Keep a lookout for the above habits and try to disrupt or break the pattern while they are still young. 

Pediatric Dentist in Knightdale, NC

If your child suffers from any of the above habits, or you’re not sure, come see us at Wilson Pediatric Dentistry to check out their dental health. As the saying goes, “A stitch in time saves nine.” We provide kid-friendly dental examinations that can catch cavities, tooth damage, etc. before it gets any worse. Call us at 252.291.4300 to schedule an appointment, or contact us here!

6 Pediatric Dentist-Approved Snacks to Pack in Your Kids’ Lunchboxes

With school back in session, you may be adding lunchbox snacks to your grocery list again to stock the pantry. 

Buying smart snacks that are not only good for your kids’ teeth, but also high in calcium and fluoride can go a long way in saving you and your kids from a trip to see about a cavity. 

Wilson Pediatric Dentistry Recommends Teeth-Healthy Snack Choices

Throughout the crackers, cookies, and snacks aisle you’ll notice much of the prepackaged foods are high in processed sugars and additives. Many ingredients hide behind unrecognizable names for a reason. 

A great way to avoid these poor ingredients is to try sticking with unprocessed whole foods. If what you’re looking at is packaged in an aisle, chances are it’s been heavily processed, and these kinds of snacks can corrode enamel, cause bacteria growth, accelerate the build-up of tartar and plaque, and cause cavities. 

A majority of the popular food brands are guilty of packing their snacks with high sugar content to appeal to your young ones’ tastes, but their teeth end up suffering for it. The good news is that there are plenty of tasty, teeth-friendly snacks that kids love.

6 Pediatric Dentist-Approved Tasty Snacks:

High fiber fresh fruits

  • Bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, etc.
    1. Note that citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits are high in citric acid which can erode tooth enamel, so moderation is key
  • Fruits add a component of sweetness to your kids’ lunchbox and are packed with vitamins

Raw vegetables

  • Cucumbers, celery, baby carrots, and broccoli paired with ranch or hummus
  • Crisp veggies help scrape away any build-up on your children’s teeth

Yogurt, milk, cheese

  • High in calcium and Vitamin D, these foods are usually a hit with the little ones, but be careful to avoid yogurt brands that are packed with sugar
    1. Go for low-sugar options whenever possible

Nuts, seeds, and nut butters

  • Apple slices and celery stalks with peanut butter are lunchbox favorites and pediatric dentist-approved!
  • Low sodium or unsalted nuts can be a great source of protein and provide a healthier alternative to chips and other common junk foods

Naturally-flavored carbonated drinks

  • These are healthier alternatives to fruit juice, soda, and sports drinks

Eggs

  • Eggs are rich in protein, calcium, and Vitamin D and don’t contain as many calories or as much fat found in meats.

Beware of snacks that sound healthy but are not. For example, Goldfish crackers are a popular salty snack, but contain white flour that gets stuck under the gumline and between teeth which causes tooth decay. Another sneaky snack is dried or gummy fruit candies. Companies are known to add extra sugar to these treats which also becomes easily lodged between your children’s teeth. A good habit to form is researching snacks you’re interested in before buying, and always practicing moderation.

Schedule Your Next Appointment with Wilson Pediatric Dentistry

While parents can do their part to help their little ones avoid a trip to the dentist, sometimes it’s unavoidable. If your child needs a cavity treatment, teeth cleaning, or early orthodontic care, Dr. Jasmine Elmore and her team are ready to serve you. Call us at 252-291-4300 or schedule your appointment here today.