reading to girlWhen should I start brushing my baby’s teeth?
As soon as teeth appear in your child’s mouth they should be cleaned daily. Use a small, soft toothbrush designed for infants. Brush all teeth completely clean each day at bedtime.

When should my child see a dentist for the 1st time?
Children should be seen by the dentist by their first birthday (sooner if you have concerns regarding their oral health).

How do I prevent “bottle rot?”
When children frequently drink (or eat) foods that contain sugars, fast spreading cavities can result. Things that “contain sugars” include milk, juice and almost all substances except water. To prevent these aggressive cavities, do the following: Brush your child’s teeth twice daily (once at bedtime), NEVER put your child to bed with anything to eat or drink (except for water) and limit your child’s daytime food and drink to set meal and snack times.

What about fluoride?
Consuming the right amount of fluoride every day lowers a child’s risk of cavities. Some children receive fluoride from the water they drink (there is no fluoride in the Eugene/Springfield water). Those without fluoride in their water can get enough by taking a daily supplement (drops or chewable pills). Children who drink fluoridated water or take supplements can still use toothpaste with fluoride to brush their teeth as long as they spit after brushing and do not swallow the toothpaste.

My child has a toothache, what should I do?
In the event of a toothache, begin by cleaning around the sore tooth very carefully. Warm salt water can be used to rinse the area and dental floss can be used to pull out any food trapped in between teeth. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you use aspirin on the aching tooth or on the gum (aspirin should never be given to children). For temporary pain relief, acetaminophen is recommended. See a dentist as soon as possible.

What do I do about broken braces and wires?
Remove a broken appliance only if it comes out easily. If it is lodged or painful to remove, cover any protruding edges with wax, cotton balls, gauze or chewing gum. DO NOT REMOVE any wire caught in the gums, cheek or tongue. See a dentist as soon as possible. While emergency attention is usually not required for loose or broken appliances that cause no discomfort, an appointment should be scheduled quickly to evaluate the appliance.

What about a broken tooth?
Rinse the area with warm water. Put a cold compress over the facial area of the injury. Recover any broken tooth fragments. See a dentist as soon as possible.

What should I do for a “knocked out” permanent tooth?
Recover the tooth, making sure to hold it by the crown (top) and not the root end. Rinse, but do not clean or handle the tooth more than necessary. Reinsert the tooth in the socket and hold it in place using a clean piece of gauze or cloth. If the tooth cannot be reinserted, carry it in a cup containing milk (or a tooth preservation solution if one is available). Because time is essential, see a dentist immediately.

How do I handle a cut or bitten tongue, lip or cheek?
Ice can be applied to any bruised areas. For bleeding, apply pressure with sterile gauze or a clean cloth. If the bleeding does not stop with pressure or continues after 15 minutes, go to an emergency room.