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Over the years, there are going to be a myriad of questions that will surface about your child’s health. As health recommendations for children are constantly changing, it can be difficult for parents to stay on top of all the information. When it comes to oral health, however, one thing remains constant; parents should take their children to the dentist regularly.

To help parents on the journey, here are answers to some frequently asked questions about children’s teeth and dental health.

Why do I need to care for my baby’s teeth if they’ll just fall out anyway?

Baby teeth serve an important purpose. First, they act as place-holders in growing mouths during early years of development. Second, taking care of your child’s baby teeth prevents decay and helps your child get into the habit of good oral hygiene, which sets the stage for their future oral health.

Is thumb sucking or using a pacifier harmful to my child’s teeth?

Active thumb sucking can cause misalignment of your child’s permanent teeth and affect the jaw or the shape and roof of the mouth. Thumb sucking may also cause an overbite, where the front teeth protrude out from the jaw and mouth.

What is the best diet to keep my child’s teeth healthy?

The best thing you can do for your child’s teeth is to make sure they have a balanced diet, including one serving each of: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, milk and dairy products, and protein. Make sure you are also limiting their intake of sugars and starches to protect your child’s teeth from decay.

When should my child begin using toothpaste and how much should be used?

When your child is an infant you can simply wipe their gums with a clean, damp washcloth. For toddlers, you can start using a pea-sized amount of training toothpaste. Fluoride toothpaste can upset their stomachs, so it’s important not to use more than a pea-sized amount until they are old enough to spit it out. You can assist your child with proper brushing techniques until they begin to develop fine motor skills and can brush effectively on their own. Remember to brush twice a day.

How do dental sealants work?

Sealants act as barriers by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth of cavity-prone areas. They are usually applied or “painted” onto the back teeth and sometimes used to cover deep pits and grooves..

If you have more questions about your child’s oral health, be sure to consult with your family dentist since they know you and your child personally would be glad to help!