Japanese girl brushing her teeth (3 years old)

Parent’s Guide to Baby Teeth

Dental health for kids is just as important as it is for adults. And it’s never too early to learn more about your kid’s teeth and teach them good dental habits! We’ve assembled some important questions parents ask us at Kid’s Dentistree and provided some straightforward answers to help you be the best parent you can be!

If you need more information about your child’s baby teeth, feel free to give any one of our offices a call!

Why are baby teeth important?

The primary, or “baby” teeth play a crucial role in dental development. They allow your child to chew properly, smile confidently, aid in speech development and save space for the permanent teeth, guiding them into the correct position.

When do the first teeth erupt?

Your child’s teeth actually start forming before birth. As early as 4 months, the baby teeth push through the gums – the lower front teeth are first, followed by the upper front teeth. Most babies’ first tooth comes in around 6 months old. The process can be uncomfortable (see teething) but should not make your baby sick.

Check out this useful tooth eruption chart to see when you should expect baby teeth to come in and when your children will likely lose them to make room for permanent teeth:

Kid's Dentistree Tooth Eruption Chart

How do I clean my baby’s teeth and gums?

It is important to take care of your child’s gums even before their child’s first tooth erupts. Wipe the gums down with an infant, soft toothbrush or soft cloth, and water.

How do I prevent baby bottle tooth decay?

Tooth decay in infants can be minimized or totally prevented by not allowing sleeping infants to breast or bottle feed. Infants that need a bottle to comfortably fall asleep should be given a water-filled bottle only.

How does baby bottle tooth decay start?

A bottle containing anything other than water and left in an infant’s mouth while sleeping can cause decay. This includes breast milk, regular milk, formula, fruit juice, unsweetened fruit juice, soda, or even watered down juices.

When does teething start?

Teething is the term commonly used to describe with your child’s teeth are erupting through the gum line. Normally, the first tooth erupts between ages 6 to 12 months. Gums may be sore, tender and sometimes irritable until the age of 3.

What are some common teething remedies?

If your baby is experiencing pain from teething, there are several home remedies to try. Applying something cold, like an ice cube, to help numb the gums is very effective and soothing for teething pain. Some parents even freeze weak chamomile tea in ice cube form to give their babies. The chamomile is naturally calming and relaxes nerves. For children over the age of 2, you can use clove essential oil but you’ll want to consult your dentist and family physician just to be safe.

When should my child first see a dentist?

“First visit by first birthday” sums it up. Your child should visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between six and twelve months of age.

How do I remove a loose tooth?

Please don’t use a doorknob and string. Encourage your child to gently wiggle a loose tooth after they have washed their hands. The tooth may be rotated or twisted with the fingers to remove it from the gum tissues.

What should I do if my child has a toothache?

Clean the area by brushing or rinsing with warm salt water. Use dental floss to remove any food or debris that may be present.

When should I start flossing my child’s teeth?

After your child’s second tooth comes in, floss between the teeth and around the base of the tooth where it meets the gum line.


Remember: If you have additional questions, please feel free to give any one of our offices a call!

Little child lying in fruit jelly showing out tongue and looking at camera.

How Much Sugar is in Your Kid’s Snacks?

Every parent wants their kids to be happy and healthy. For most of us, this means balancing what they want with what we know is best for them. But that’s easier said than done, especially when it comes to their diets. Because not only are a lot of kids picky eaters – sometimes saying “no” to a candy bar means a tantrum or argument.

Unfortunately new research suggests that the health risks of sugar might be worse than we thought. Sugar-rich diets increase the risk of childhood obesity, heart disease and diabetes, and too much sugar can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. That’s why the American Heart Association now recommends that children consume less than 25 grams (about 6 teaspoons) of added sugars per day.

Anyone who’s recently read the label on a can of soda knows that even drinking one 12-ounce can would exceed 25 grams. So what’s a parent to do? Of course we encourage replacing sugary snacks with healthy alternatives, but it’s important to know how much sugar is in the snacks kids love to eat. Even gummy vitamins contain 1-2 grams of sugar, so it’ll add up quickly!

 

How much sugar is in kid’s drinks?

Kool-Aid (8 ounces) = 4 grams

Capri Sun (1 pouch) = 18 grams

Orange Juice (8 ounces) = 21 grams

Apple Juice (8 ounces) = 26 grams

Sprite (12 ounces) = 31 grams

Chocolate Milk (12 ounces) = 33 grams

Coca-Cola (12 ounces) = 39 grams

Mountain Dew (12 ounces) = 46 grams

 

How much sugar is in kid’s snacks?

Cheerios (1 cup) = 1 gram

Ketchup (1 tablespoon) = 3.7 grams

Graham Cracker (1 rectangular piece) = 4.4 grams

Cheetos (small bag) = 5 grams

Chocolate Chip Cookies (4 cookies) = 9 grams

Nutri-Grain (1 bar) = 13 grams

Pop-Tarts (1 pastry) = 17 grams

 

Health Alternatives to Sugary Snacks

If you’re looking to cut down on your child’s sugar intake, we’ve heard a lot of parents secretly dilute the sodas they give their kids! But if you’ve got yourself a kid with a serious sweet tooth, try some of these alternatives and see what they think!

Cheese: Every 100 grams of cheese contains only about 2.3 grams of sugar. Not only that, but cheese is packed with protein and healthy fats that, when eaten in small amounts, are perfectly healthy to eat!

White Milk: 8 ounces of white milk does contain about 12 grams of sugar. If your child is obsessed with chocolate milk, try using less chocolate powder or syrup over time and getting them used to drinking whole milk. Like cheese, it contains healthy proteins and fats that an active person needs.

Peanut Butter: We’re not going to lie and say that peanut butter is the healthiest food out there. But it is sweet and it’s only got about 3 grams of sugar in a typical serving of 2 tablespoons. Try spreading some peanut butter on a celery stick, adding 2-3 raisins on top and telling your child it’s called ants on a log!

Fruit: There has been a lot of talk recently about sugar in fruit. And though it’s true that unhealthy sugars exist in dried fruit or fruit juice, whole fruit such as apples and bananas still contain a great amount of fiber and water – which means more hydrated kids with healthier digestive systems.

Goldfish: Apparently the song is true. Goldfish have an impressively low amount of sugar per serving – 0 grams for every 55 pieces! So if your kid loves to gobble up these cheesy fish-shaped crackers, it’s probably the most okay snack they can have every day.

 

Raising a child is hard work! And sometimes we’re just happy that they’re eating anything at all. But if you want your kid to grow up strong and healthy, limiting their sugar intake will increase their quality of life and even help them focus better in school.

So encourage healthy eating! And try to talk to them about the negative health effects of sugar, like gaining weight, losing their permanent teeth and feeling bad or sick when they are older.

Do you have any healthy or sugar-free snacks that your kids love? Share them with us on Facebook or Instagram!

Halloween celebration concept with candy corn and jack o lantern cup on wooden table.

The Worst Halloween Candy For Your Teeth

Binge-eating a pillowcase full of peanut butter cups and candy corn while you’re dressed as Wonder Woman is kind of the point of Halloween, isn’t it? But we all know that candy isn’t the healthiest snack on the block – even if you promise to brush and floss when you finally finish stuffing your face.

Sadly, the only candy out there that doesn’t contribute to tooth decay and cavities is probably sugar-free gum. But you’re not knocking on your neighbors’ doors in search of chewing gum, are you? Learn more about the negative effects your favorite candy can have on your teeth or—if you’re impatient—scroll to the bottom of the page to find out the worst!

Closeup of chocolate,peanut and caramel bar isolated on white with clipping path

Chocolate

Examples: Hershey Bar, 3 Musketeers, M&Ms & Peanut Butter Cups

If you’re a chocoholic, you’re in luck. As long as you’re eating a simple bar of chocolate without caramel or many other ingredients, you’re getting a snack that will wash off your teeth fairly easily. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, even has some health benefits! It’s an iron-packed source of antioxidants that may improve blood flow, lower blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease, and improve brain function.

Chocolate is probably the best candy for your teeth. But remember, moderation is the goal here. Too much of anything is bad for you.

Sour candy isolated on a white background

Sour Candy

Examples: Sour Patch Kids, Warheads, SweeTarts & Pixie Stix

Sour candy has a higher acidic content than other types of candy. It’s probably no surprise to you, but eating something like Pixie Stix–which are nothing more than flavored sugar you don’t even have to chew–doesn’t provide any nutritional value and can lead to cavities in addition to blood sugar issues.

If you’re going to indulge with sour candies, try rinsing with a glass of water afterward to wash away the cavity-causing acidity contained in these mouth-puckering bites.

Lollipops in a variety of colors isolated on a white background

Hard Candy

Examples: Jolly Ranchers, Runts, Lemon Heads & Lifesavers

Hard candy like lollipops and jawbreakers is just as bad for you as sour candy, and for many of the same reasons. Because we often suck on hard candy to get it to dissolve, it is in our mouths much longer than other Halloween candy. This just leaves more time for sugars to attack and break down tooth enamel.

If hard candy is a habit for you, we don’t have a lot of good news to share. Try switching to sugar-free gum when you get that urge. And of course remember to rinse after you’re finished with hard candy, even if it’s just tap water.

Gummy bears

Gummy and Chewy Candies

Examples: Gummy Bears, Swedish Fish, Bit-O-Honey & Mary Janes

Like we mentioned above, about the only candy you really want to be chewing on is sugar-free gum. The mixture of sugar and gelatin in gummy bears and worms is very acidic and will wear down tooth enamel, which can lead to exposed nerves and sensitive teeth.

Hey. We love Haribo Gold Bears just as much as the next person, but let’s try and limit ourselves to one bag a week. We can live with that, right? Hopefully. Maybe. Let’s just say we’ll give it a shot.

Saltwater taffy on a white backgroundTaffy or Caramel

Examples: Caramel Chews, Saltwater Taffy & Riesen

The worst halloween candy for your teeth is a tie between taffy and caramel. These bite-sized, sticky morsels of pure sugar get trapped in the grooves of your teeth and are more difficult to rinse away with salvia or water than the average candy. When sugar like what’s inside taffy or caramel gets stuck to teeth, it creates excess bacteria in your mouth which allows acids to thrive and develop into tooth decay. Caramel also contains small amounts of saturated fat, which increases your risk of heart disease.

The worst part of very sticky Halloween candies is that they can pull out fillings, bridges or braces! If you’ve got an orthodontic appliance or fillings, it is best to just stay away entirely.

 

Decorative pumpkins filled with Halloween candy

Swap Your Sweets 2017

Support the troops and earn $5 for yourself!

Bring your leftover Halloween candy to any Mortenson Family Dental, BracesBracesBraces or Kid’s Dentistree location (in Kentucky, Indiana or Ohio) during regular office hours to get a $5 gift card!

The candy will be donated to Operation Gratitude –  a wonderful organization that annually sends 200,000+ care packages filled with food, entertainment, hygiene and handmade items, plus personal letters of appreciation to veterans, first responders, new recruits, wounded heroes, their caregivers, and to individually named U.S. service members deployed overseas and their families waiting at home.

Swap Your Sweets 2017

 

Accepting candy from November 1st–3rd

Each person may swap one bag of candy.

You must have at least one full, sandwich-size bag of candy.

No chocolate! (It melts in the mail when shipped overseas.)

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