Our SRD on 5th team is pleased to answer any questions that you may have about pediatric dentistry, how to care for your child’s teeth and the pediatric services we provide. Please contact SRD on 5th at 256-712-4005 with any additional questions and to schedule your child’s next appointment with our dentists in Tuscumbia, Alabama.

When should my child have his or her first dental appointment?
Your baby should have their first appointment when he or she gets his or her first tooth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggests that a child see a dentist around six months after the first tooth erupts or by the time they turn 1 year old, whichever comes first.

What happens during my child’s first dental appointment?
A child’s first dental appointment is usually pretty simple. The main purpose is for us to get to know your child and to give you some information about your child’s dental care. Our SRD on 5th team will look at the placement and health of your child’s teeth while checking for any potential problems. Your child’s teeth will be cleaned if needed. We will answer any questions that you may have about your child’s dental health and dental hygiene.

Since baby teeth aren’t permanent, are they really important?
Your child’s primary teeth serve many important functions. They help your child speak, chew and smile. Baby teeth also hold space in the jaw for the permanent teeth that will grow in later. If a baby tooth is lost too early, the nearby teeth may drift into the space, which may result in crooked permanent teeth.

How do I clean my baby’s teeth?
Before your baby’s first teeth breaks the gum, clean his or her gums with a damp, soft washcloth after feedings. When his or her first tooth grows in, begin using a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. Most drugstores sell toothbrushes for infants.

When should I start using toothpaste on my baby’s teeth?
According to the AAPD, you can start using toothpaste as soon as your baby’s teeth start growing in. Brush twice daily using a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. The toothbrush should be infant- or child-sized, according to need. Use a small smear of toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth until they are about 2. From age 2 to about 5, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth.

Does my child need dental sealants?
Dental sealants act as shields against tooth decay (cavities). They cover the fissures and pits of the back teeth that are difficult to clean properly, even with efficient dental hygiene. We recommend using dental sealants to protect your child’s teeth.

How can I protect my child’s teeth during sports?
We may recommend a mouthguard for your child if he or she is active in sports. A mouthguard is designed to protect the teeth and surrounding areas from injury.

My child sucks their thumb. What should I do?
Most children suck their thumbs or fingers, but most grow out of it by about 4 years of age. If a child grows out of the habit, no permanent damage to the teeth should occur. However, if your child continues to suck their thumbs or fingers as their adult teeth start to erupt or sucks aggressively, please let us know. We can help you help your child break the habit.

What causes tooth decay?
The sticky film that builds up on the teeth is called plaque. Bacteria in plaque feeds on sugars from the foods your child consumes to create acids. These acids damage the tooth enamel and the layer under it, which is called dentin, thus creating tooth decay (cavities).

What foods and snacks are good for my child’s teeth?
There are several types of foods and drinks that are great for your child’s smile. Some of these include:

  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Leafy greens
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Almonds
  • Celery
  • Water
  • Milk

In general, a food or beverage is good for the teeth if it is low in sugar and if it will not stick to the teeth.

What foods and snacks should my child avoid?
Something to avoid when choosing snacks for your child is sugary foods that will stick to the teeth or linger in the mouth. Some specific foods and drinks to avoid include:

  • Acidic fruits and juices, including citrus
  • Sticky foods, like dried fruits
  • Starchy foods, like potato chips
  • Soda
  • Sports drinks

Also, never let your child chew ice, as this can damage the tooth enamel, or even chip the teeth.

What is dental fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that is sometimes referred to as nature’s cavity fighter. This mineral strengthens the tooth enamel, thus making the teeth more resistant to cavities. Fluoride is naturally found in most water sources and has been added to most public water supplies in the U.S. Fluoride can also be found in over-the-counter dental products like toothpaste and mouthwash. These products can be beneficial for your child’s smile.

What should I know about dental fluoride provided at SRD on 5th?
Our SRD on 5th team can apply fluoride directly to your child’s teeth in our office. Dental fluoride provided in a dental office is in a more concentrated form than dental fluoride in water or in over-the-counter dental products. Depending on your child’s oral health status, fluoride may be recommended every three, six or 12 months.