A common misconception is that “baby teeth don’t matter” because they get replaced by permanent adult teeth. However, they do matter! Healthy baby teeth pave the way for healthy adult teeth in the future. As a parent, by ensuring that your child’s teeth are healthy and well cared for it can really make a huge difference in their lives.
With that being said, it is understood that accidents can happen! Especially with toddlers and their teeth. At the age of two, your child may be more likely to get injuries from everyday play or from a fall and these injuries may impact the teeth. For example, your child may fall or accidentally run into something and it may look like the tooth is “breaking.”
It is important to look for signs of bleeding, pain, swelling of lips or jaw and the inability to open or close the jaw. These can be telling signs of a mouth injury. Inspect their mouth to see if there are any sharp areas or rough edges on the tooth surfaces and make note of this. If you find that your child displays any of these symptoms it would be best to call the dentist immediately. If your child seems to show these signs with an additional shortness of breath, take your child to the nearest emergency department without hesitation.
If after calling the dentist and they recommend that you bring your child in for an evaluation, your child will most likely need an x-ray taken of the tooth that appears to be “breaking”. With the x-ray, the dentist can properly assess the accurate measures that need to be taken in order to decide what needs to be done. If the tooth seems to be doing okay and is, in fact, not broken, all that may be needed is a close watch kept on the specific tooth.
How to Instill Good Oral Hygiene Habits in Young Children
As a parent, there are many ways you can instill good oral hygiene habits in your child. By doing so, you can put your child on the path to a healthy smile for years to come.
Supervise Your Child
If your child is under 6, you should take the time to supervise their brushing twice a day. Encourage them to brush in the morning after they eat breakfast and at night before they go to bed.
If you believe they are old enough, let them tackle brushing on their own and help them with hard-to-reach places in the back of their mouth. Make sure you only put a bit of toothpaste on your child’s toothbrush until they turn 6.
Once you think your child has nailed down the process of brushing their teeth, introduce floss into their life. Show them how to use floss to get rid of bacteria in between the teeth where their toothbrush simply can’t reach. If your child is under 10, they will likely need your guidance with flossing. Floss picks may be easier for them than traditional floss.
Provide Healthy Snacks
When it comes to snacks, healthy snacks are ideal for optimal oral health. While it can be tempting to give your child some cookies and chips, the sugar in them can cause cavities. Try to promote healthy snack options such as fruit or cheese slices.
Set a Good Example
It’s important to practice what you preach. If your child sees that you practice healthy oral hygiene, they’ll be more likely to follow your lead. Brush and floss in front of your child so they can see that these activities are important for everyone.
Schedule Trips to the Dentist
Make sure you take your child to the dentist at least every 6 months for a routine exam and checkup.
If your child has a tooth that appears to be “breaking” try to remain calm and refrain from worrying, as any additional stress may not benefit the situation. Instead call a dentist immediately or if your child is displaying signs of shortness of breath take him or her to the closest emergency department.
At Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we offer emergency dental appointments for our patients. We understand that accidents happen and we encourage you to call our office at 703-348-2813 immediately in the event that an injury to your child’s mouth as occurred or if a tooth appears to be breaking.