Dr. Howe has over 22 years of experience working with Families and Children and their dental needs. He strongly feels that pediatric dental care is essential for giving children the proper foundation for a healthy life, from childhood through adolescence and beyond.
You will love our qualified team and expert care, and your child will love how we make him or her feel smart and important. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), children should visit the dentist by their first birthday.
As Your Child Grows
Your child’s first tooth erupts between ages 6-12 months and the remainder of their 20 primary or “baby” teeth typically erupt by age 3. During this time, gums may feel tender and sore, causing your child to feel irritable. To help alleviate this discomfort, we recommend that you soothe the gums by rubbing a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth across them. You may also choose to make use of a teething ring.
Your child’s primary teeth are shed at various times throughout childhood, and their permanent teeth begin erupting at age 6 and continue until age 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth, or 32 including wisdom teeth.
As new teeth erupt, examine them every two weeks for lines and discoloration caused by decay. Remember that sugary foods and liquids can attack a new tooth, so take care that your child brushes their teeth after feeding or eating. We recommend brushing four times a day for optimal oral hygiene: after breakfast, after lunch, after dinner, and at bedtime. Brushing can be fun, and your child should brush as soon as the first tooth arrives. When a baby’s tooth erupts, parents should brush the tooth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. For children younger than two, do not use fluoride toothpaste unless advised to do so by Dr. Howe or other health professional. We suggest reviewing proper tooth brushing procedures with your child.
Flossing is also a part of good oral hygiene habits, and your doctor will discuss with you the right time to start flossing. We advise against putting younger children to bed with a baby bottle containing anything other than water, as juice or milk will pool around teeth causing rapid tooth decay or “baby-bottle caries.” If you notice signs of decay, contact Dr. Howe immediately.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is preventable. Tooth decay is caused by sugars left in your mouth that turn into an acid which can break down your teeth. Children are at high risk for tooth decay for a simple reason—many children and adolescents tend to be lax in their oral hygiene habits. Proper brushing and flossing routines combined with regular dental visits help keep tooth decay away. A low-sugar diet also helps keep tooth decay at bay.
Your child should visit the dentist every 6 months for regular professional dental cleanings and checkups. We recommend fluoride treatments twice a year along with cleanings to keep teeth their strongest. Tooth sealants are also recommended because they “seal” the deep grooves in your child’s teeth, preventing decay from forming in these hard-to-reach areas. Sealants last for several years, but will be monitored at your regular checkups.