Children’s Oral Health

Does My Child Need to See a Pediatric Dentist?

Pediatric dentists are specially trained to handle problems particular to children, such as dental developmental difficulties and root canals on adult teeth that have not fully formed. However, most children are treated by general dentists. A general dentist often has a relationship with the entire family and therefore has a great deal of family history knowledge, which may apply to your child. If you’re having trouble deciding on the type of dentist to use for your child, ask your family dentist or your child’s pediatrician for suggestions…more

When Should My Child First See a Dentist?

The ideal time is six months after your child’s first tooth erupts. This is the perfect time for the dentist to carefully examine the development of your child’s mouth. Dental problems often start early, so the sooner the visit occurs, the better. Also, your dentist can provide or recommend special preventive care to safeguard against problems, such as baby bottle tooth decay, teething irritations, gum disease, and prolonged thumb-sucking…more

Baby’s First Steps to a Healthy Mouth

Parents are a child’s first teachers in life and they play a significant role in maintaining their child’s overall health. In observance of National Children’s Dental Health Month, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) encourages parents to introduce good oral health habits to their children during infancy…more

Is My Child at Risk for Early Childhood Tooth Decay?

The average healthy adult visits the dentist twice a year. The average healthy 2-year-old has never been to the dentist. By kindergarten, 25 percent of children have never seen a dentist, yet dental decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease in America. The culprit? A combination of misinformation about when a child should first visit the dentist, when a parent should start caring for a child’s teeth and the frequent and long- term exposure of sugary liquids to a child’s teeth….more

What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by the frequent and long-term exposure of a child’s teeth to liquids containing sugars. Among these liquids are milk, formula, fruit juice, sodas and other sweetened drinks. The sugars in these liquids pool around the infant’s teeth and gums, feeding the bacteria in plaque. Every time a child consumes a sugary liquid, acid produced by these bacteria attack the teeth and gums. After numerous attacks, tooth decay can begin…more

Best and Worst Halloween Candy Options for Children’s Teeth

Halloween is just around the corner, and although candy consumption is almost unavoidable this time of year, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) wants parents and children to know that there are both good and bad candy options, both of which may find their way into children’s trick-or-treat bags this fall….more

Dental Sealants: Is My Child a Candidate?

By age 19, tooth decay affects nearly 70 percent of America’s children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Left untreated, tooth decay, also known as cavities, may result in pain and infection. One highly effective option to help prevent cavities is dental sealants – a thin plastic film painted on the chewing surface of teeth…more

Take Care of Your Child's Smile for Life

With a baby, everything is a first, and that includes the first adorable smile. To ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) recommends that your child’s first trip to a dentist occurs six months after his or her first tooth erupts. According to an article in the February 2006 issue of AGD Impact, the monthly newsmagazine of the AGD, this is the ideal time to visit, since it allows the dentist to examine the development of the child’s mouth. Visiting sooner than later will also help identify any problems, such as baby bottle tooth decay or teething irritations…more

Like Parent, Like Child: Good Oral Health Starts at Home

Parents are a child’s first teacher in life and play a significant role in maintaining his or her overall health. Providing oral health education to mothers and families is essential to teaching children healthy habits and preventing early childhood tooth decay, according to an article published in the May/June 2010 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). With all of the challenges that new parents face, they may not think much about the link between their child’s oral health and overall health. In fact, an understanding of oral hygiene can help parents to prevent tooth decay—the single most common chronic childhood disease in America—and to create a lifetime of healthy habits for their child…more

Tot Toothbrushes Promote Good Brushing Habits

Many parents don’t know that children’s teeth must be cleaned as soon as they start coming in. What they also may not know is that traditional toothbrushes may not be safe for toddlers to use themselves because they can be overinserted in the mouth or even swallowed. Today, safer toddler toothbrushes are available that prevent the build-up of plaque and bacteria. Using toddler toothbrushes can help children establish good oral health habits at an early age…more

Watch for Preemie Teeth

Even though they do not have any teeth yet, prematurely born babies can expect to have dental complications as they grow older. About 6 percent of babies are born before their due date and below 7.2 pounds, and of these, up to 70 percent will have enamel hypoplasia when their teeth erupt, according to a 2000 study. Enamel hypoplasia causes teeth to appear brownish and less smooth, as well as to be softer and more prone to decay or chipping…more

Toddler Tooth Tips

Congratulations! Like most children between 3 and 6 months, your infant just received his or her first tooth. But as a parent, do you know how to take care of those teeth to ensure a healthy smile that will last a lifetime? Take your child to the dentist six months after the eruption of the first tooth, encourages the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education…more

Tips on Finding Preventive Care for Children's Oral Health

More than 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental- related illnesses. Despite these numbers, many children still do not visit the dentist. In addition, almost 50 percent of tooth decay remains untreated in low-income children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)…more

Pacifiers Have Negative and Positive Effects

It’s one of the hardest habits to break and can require a great deal of persuasion: Parents often struggle with weaning their child off of a pacifier. There is much debate regarding the use of pacifiers, but there is evidence to show that there are both pros and cons, according to a study in the January/February 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal…more

Stop Pacifying Preschoolers

If your child’s heading to preschool this year and is still using a pacifier, now’s the time to work with your child to drop the “binkey.” Thousands of parents rely on pacifiers to calm and soothe a fussy baby. For children under the age of 1, the continuous sucking action is normal and healthy. However, if parents allow children to continue using a pacifier into toddler years, this action becomes habit instead of a natural instinct and can be detrimental to a child’s oral health…more

See a Baby Tooth? See a Dentist

Baby teeth are worth more than just a dollar under the pillow. Providing proper care and oral hygiene during a child’s first year of life can mean a lifetime of good oral health. Traditionally, parents have waited to bring their children to the dentist until primary teeth begin to appear. A 2002 consumer poll by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry shows that nearly 70 percent of parents wait until their children are 3 years old before taking them to the dentist. But a dental visit by age 1 – or within six months of the eruption of the first baby tooth – is crucial, says Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) spokesperson Cynthia E. Sherwood, DDS…more

Start the School Year Off With a Smile

Every child wants to look their best as they head back to school this fall. Parents help by scheduling haircuts and buying new outfits, but most overlook the simple steps to helping their child maintain one of their most visible features – their smile. Studies show that one of the first things people notice about someone is their smile and that a good smile creates a positive self-image…something all parents wish for their children. “Back-to-school time is the perfect time to incorporate good oral health habits into a child’s daily routine,” says Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Cindy Flanagan, DDS, FAGD. “The sooner you make them a priority, the sooner your child will benefit.”…more

Sports and Energy Drinks Responsible for Irreversible Damage to Teeth

A recent study published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, found that an alarming increase in the consumption of sports and energy drinks, especially among adolescents, is causing irreversible damage to teeth—specifically, the high acidity levels in the drinks erode tooth enamel, the glossy outer layer of the tooth…more

Keep Your Little Monster's Teeth Away From Harm This Halloween

Your kids may be ready to indulge in sweet treats this Halloween, but don’t let the holiday turn into an oral health nightmare. To keep your children’s smiles safe from creepy cavities this season and all year-round, consider these tips from the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD)…more

How to Find a Kid-friendly Dentist

Although more parents know about the importance of age-1 dental visits, many parents may still wonder about what kind of dentist can provide care for their child. According to Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Cindy Bauer, DDS, MAGD, many general dentists treat children…more

How Do I Care for My Child's Baby Teeth?

Though you lose them early in life, your primary teeth, also called baby teeth, are essential in the development and placement of your permanent teeth. Primary teeth maintain the spaces where permanent teeth will erupt and help develop proper speech patterns that would otherwise be difficult; without maintenance of these spaces, crowding and misalignment can occur, resulting in more complicated treatment later. Baby teeth also are primers for teaching your child good oral care habits. It is important to take care of your child’s primary teeth. Even though primary teeth last only a few years, decay, cavities and infection can take its toll and may require expensive treatment to repair…more

Early Dental Visits May Help Prevent Problems Down the Road

Many parents may not know their 1-year-olds are ready for their first dental checkup, but more and more dentists agree that the earlier children visit the dentist, the better. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) and the American Dental Association (ADA) are just two of the organizations that recommend bringing children to the dentist six months after they get their first tooth, usually sometime between 1 year and 18 months of age…more

Cavity Prevention Tips for Preschoolers

Providing proper care and oral hygiene during preschool years can mean a lifetime of good oral health, according to an article issue of General Dentistry, the clinical, peer-reviewed journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). Research shows that children who develop cavities in their baby teeth are more likely to develop cavities as an adult. So how can a parent determine if their child is at risk for cavities? It all begins with that first trip to the dentist…more

Children with Special Needs Are at Increased Risk for Oral Disease

At the beginning of 2010, as many as 17 percent of children in the United States were reported as having special health care needs. Behavioral issues, developmental disorders, cognitive disorders, genetic disorders and systemic diseases may increase a child’s risk of developing oral disease, according to an article published in the May/June 2010 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). For a child with special health care needs, special diets, frequent use of medicine and lack of proper oral hygiene can make it challenging to maintain good oral health…more

Mouth Breathing Can Cause Major Health Problems

For some, the phrase “spring is in the air” is quite literal. When the winter snow melts and flowers bloom, pollen and other materials can wreak havoc on those suffering from seasonal allergies, usually causing a habit called “mouth breathing.” The physical, medical and social problems associated with mouth breathing are not recognized by most health care professionals, according to a study published in the January/February 2010 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). Dentists typically request that their patients return every six months, which means that some people see their dentist more frequently than they see their physician. As a result, dentists may be the first to identify the symptoms of mouth breathing. And, because dentists understand the problems associated with mouth breathing, they can help prevent the adverse effects…more

Children's Dental Visits: Parents, Prepare Yourselves

Children experience many firsts: first tooth, first words, first step, first birthday and first haircut. Parents want to be prepared for every step of their child’s new life experiences, including dental visits. Only parents willing to model positive attitudes should accompany their child on a dental visit. Parents averse to their own dental visits may transmit negative messages to children before, during and after a dental treatment. “Fearful parents can actually create a nervous and anxious child,” says Jane Soxman, DDS, pediatric dentist and Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. “Parents who are afraid of the dentist need to change their mindset.”…more

Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome Destroys Teeth

Parents face many concerns when it comes to protecting their children. However, they may not be aware of a particular disorder that is more prevalent in children, cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS). According to a report in the November/December 2006 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal, CVS is characterized by a number of symptoms, the most evident being recurrent episodes of nausea and vomiting that are not caused by any specific disease and occur between periods of otherwise normal health…more

Dentists Help to Detect Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is an umbrella term that describes the range of effects that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol while pregnant. Each year, FASD affect an estimated 40,000 infants in the United States—more than spina bifida, Down syndrome, and muscular dystrophy combined. Dentists have found themselves to be in a unique position to aid children with FASD because, oftentimes, they may see patients on a more frequent basis than a physician. Defects caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol have been identified in virtually every part of the body. These areas include the brain, kidney, heart, ears, bones—and face. Dentists are now learning how to spot orofacial characteristics that often affect children with FASD, according to an article published in the September 2010 issue of AGD Impact, the monthly newsmagazine of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD)…more