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February is national children’s dental health month. In celebration of kids all over below you will find some helpful tips to keep your children’s smile healthy and bright for a lifetime.

Helpful Pediatric Dental Hygiene Tips

Watch What They Drink! – While fruit juice can be a very healthy alternative to energy drinks, soda, and other artificial drinks. Fruit juice has some dangerous dental health qualities as well. The high sugar content in these drinks can be damaging to your child’s smile increasing the risk of tooth decay. This is especially true if drinking thru a sippy cup or constantly drinking throughout the day with brushing or rinsing. A good tip is to mix in fruit juices with water. The water will help rinse away the damaging sugar and keep them hydrated on even the hottest days.

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Keep Your Family Smiling For A Lifetime!

Take The Lead For Dental Hygiene. Lead by example and show your children how to maintain a healthy smile by maintaining a solid dental hygiene regimen at home along with regular dental visits. Brushing and flossing can be a daily family activity in morning and evenings if possible. Not every family follows the same schedule so this might be tough to follow.

Tooth brushing should be at least 2 minutes long covering both inner and outer surfaces of our teeth. Flossing should be same way covering all tooth surfaces to ensure cleaning all over the mouth.

By the age of 2, your child should be able to brush and even floss properly with some limited help from you. If they are under the age of 2, you should be brushing and flossing for them to ensure they are learning from you as well as keeping their developing mouth clean.

Another good tip is to make brushing and flossing into a game with rewards. Keep a chart handy in the bathroom to work towards goals for your children. Before long these habits will become a part of the normal routine and rewards will no longer be needed.

Keep Regular Dental Visits. Most fears that people have developed are from their parents. If a parent is afraid of the dentist, most children will also be afraid even without their own bad experiences. Your child should start regular dental visits by about the age of 1. This is usually when the first teeth begin to appear. Your child will also become familiar with the sights, sounds, and people in a dental office and feel comfortable over time.

Chew Sugarless Gum. Many kids love chewing gum. Chewing gum is excellent for stimulating saliva production and cleaning our mouths during the day. However, the sugar can stick to our teeth causing more damage than benefit. Choose a sugarless gum to get the best of both worlds!

Consider Dental Sealants. If your dentist has not already discussed them with you ask at your next visit. Dental sealants are a clear coating that goes over the biting surfaces of your child’s teeth covering the natural grooves where tooth decay likes to develop. Dental sealants are an excellent protectant against tooth decay.

Pediatric Dental Hygiene Conclusion

Keeping kids healthy is a top priority including their dental health. The hardest part for a kid is developing that routine so that it becomes natural and easy. Remember to schedule regular dental visits for examinations and professional cleanings.

Losing our baby teeth is an important milestone in any child’s development. Teeth are an integral part of our development whether we realize it or not. Our teeth are needed not only for chewing but also for speaking. They are also necessary for the growth and development of our face and jaws. They are also able to convey feelings to the outside world thru a smile.

Our teeth are so important that they start growing before we are even born into the world. They emerge quickly into your child’s mouth around the 6 month mark of life. Because of how much we need them, teeth start to grow even before we are born.

Tooth Eruption Facts

Humans have 2 sets of teeth, primary (or baby) teeth and then permanent teeth. These teeth develop in stages often overlapping timelines. The schedule is different but the development and tooth eruption of each of these sets of teeth is very much the same. Following are a few facts about the eruption of our teeth:

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Tooth eruption tends to happen in parallel. This means that the bottom premolar tooth on your left side should erupt into your mouth at about the same time as the bottom premolar tooth on the right side.

-Primary tooth development begins during the 2nd trimester of a woman’s pregnancy. Primary teeth are place holders for permanent teeth. They reserve space for our growing faces so the permanent teeth can slide right in properly when the time is right

-Loss of primary teeth due to extraction or loss of space due to breakdown of baby teeth, makes a child susceptible to malocclusion and more likely to need orthodontic treatment.

-The crown of a tooth is the first to begin forming. The roots continue to develop and lengthen even after the teeth have come through the gums.

-There are 20 primary teeth. These are usually fully erupted by age 3, and remain until around 6 years of age when they begin to fall out to make room for your permanent teeth.

-Adult teeth usually begin to erupt into the mouth between 6 and 12 years of age. Most adults have 32 permanent teeth.

-Permanent teeth are larger and take longer to erupt than primary teeth.

Types Of Teeth – Tooth Eruption

A person’s teeth will vary in size, shape, and their location. Each tooth in your mouth has a job to do and that is why it is shaped the way it is and where it is located. Tooth eruption follows a definite pattern.  There are 5 types of teeth:

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1) Incisors. Incisors are the eight teeth in the front of your mouth (four on top and four on bottom). These teeth are used to take bites of your food. Incisors are usually the first teeth to erupt. Primary incisors erupt at around 6 months of age.Permanent incisors should come in at  6 and 8 years of age.

2) Canines. We have four canines in our mouths. These are the next type of teeth to erupt. Canines are your sharpest teeth and are used for ripping and tearing food apart. Teeth eruption for primary canines usually occurs between 16 and 20 months of age, with the upper canines coming in just before  the lower canines. The order is reversed for permanent teeth. Lower canines erupt around age 9, with the uppers erupting at about 11-12 years of age.

3) Premolars. Primary molars are replaced by premolars.Premolars (also called bicuspids) are used for chewing and grinding of food. You have four premolars on each side of your mouth, two on the upper and two on the lower jaw. The first premolars appear around age 10 and the second premolars arrive about a year later. Premolars are generally the teeth that may need to be removed during orthodontic treatment to create space.

4) Molars. Primary molars (replaced by the permanent premolars) are also used for chewing and grinding food. Teeth eruption for these happens between 12 and 15 months of age. The first permanent molars erupt around 6 years of age while the second molars come in around 11-13 years old.

5) Third Molars. These are also referred to as “wisdom” teeth. These are the last teeth to erupt into the mouth and do not typically erupt until age 18-21 years of age. Some people never develop third molars at all. These molars may cause crowding and need to be removed. Other times they develop in the jaw but never erupt into the mouth. When this happens it is referred to as impacted.

Tooth Eruption Schedule

 It is important to note that every child will develop at their own pace. It is not unusual to have certain teeth erupt earlier or later than the charts below say. As long as the child is under a dentist’s care, you will be able to know any issues that might be arising based on dental examinations and dental x-rays.

Upper Primary Teeth Development

Upper TeethWhen tooth emergesWhen tooth falls out
Central incisor8 to 12 months6 to 7 years
Lateral incisor9 to 13 months7 to 8 years
Canine (cuspid)16 to 22 months10 to 12 years
First molar13 to 19 months9 to 11 years
Second molar25 to 33 months10 to 12 years

Lower Primary Teeth Development

Lower TeethWhen tooth emergesWhen tooth falls out
Second molar23 to 31 months10 to 12 years
First molar14 to 18 months9 to 11 years
Canine (cuspid)17 to 23 months9 to 12 years
Lateral incisor10 to 16 months7 to 8 years
Central incisor6 to 10 months6 to 7 years

The complete set of primary teeth is in the mouth from the age of 2 ½ to 3 years of age to 6 to 7 years of age. Dental issues which occur in development of primary teeth directly affect the development of the permanent teeth. If you do not develop a baby tooth, you consequently will not develop the replacement permanent tooth. There may also be extra teeth which may need to be removed so as not to impede eruption of the permanent counterpart. Overly small or large teeth can also cause issue. Genetics play a large role, so if you know that there are tooth issues running in your family such as missing teeth or extra teeth, have them checked out early by your dentist.

Purpose Of Primary Teeth

Primary teeth are a necessary part of a child’s development. While only in the mouth for a short period of time they are essential for the following reasons:

-They hold space for the permanent teeth.

-They give the face its normal appearance.

-Aid in speech development.

-Aid in obtaining good nutrition for growth and development.

-Teach Good Oral Hygiene. They help give a healthy start to the permanent teeth.

Primary Teeth Conclusion

The development of a child’s teeth can be confusing because all kids schedules will be quite different. The tooth eruption pattern will give clues to a child’s development and make sure things are on track. It is important to start dental care early for your child to ensure they maintain dental hygiene and keep a healthy smile for life. Losing these primary teeth before their job is done can be challenging for your child and an expensive endeavor. Remember to visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings.


Thumb sucking can be an all too common habit for many children. It is also an instinctual, natural reflex for many children as a way to soothe themselves. However, over time thumb sucking can be detrimental to a child’s dental and physical development. While it is perfectly natural and healthy when a child is in its infant stages that same habit can become very problematic as they begin to develop teeth and socialize with others.

Is Thumb Sucking Normal?

Yes! It is quite normal. The thumb sucking can occur even in the womb. As infants, children learn about the world thru putting things in their mouths but eventually it becomes a soothing mechanism to make them feel secure and happy and even help them to fall asleep.

Dental Issues From Thumb Sucking

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics treatment for dental problems caused by thumb sucking is generally needed only in children who continue to suck their thumbs past their fifth birthday.

Thumb Sucking Habit marielaina Perrone DDSOnce the permanent teeth begin to erupt and develop in the mouth, the constant thumb sucking may cause dental issues. The common sign is the top teeth push out and upward, and bottom teeth to push inward. This tooth movement due to thumb sucking can cause the following issues:

-Development of a “buck tooth” appearance

-Inability to close the front teeth (open bite)

-Damage to the roof of the mouth

Speech issues

Pacifiers are known to cause similar issues as thumb sucking but the habit of using the pacifier is a far easier habit to break, it can be thrown out, whereas a finger can not. The determining factor if thumb sucking causes dental problems or not, includes the intensity and length of time of the thumb sucking. Checking a child’s thumb for damaged skin and calluses can help determine the severity of the thumb sucking habit. Many children simply rest their thumbs in their mouth and do not actively suck on them. These children are far less likely to develop any long term dental issues from this type of thumb sucking. Aggressive thumb sucking however will have a higher likelihood of developing issues with their primary and permanent teeth if the thumb sucking habit continues.

Speech problems caused by thumb sucking are related to the misaligned teeth, distorted palate, and tongue thrusting. The tongue does not have the ability to find the correct placement for proper enunciation, and the tongue muscle actually needs to be retrained for proper placement of sounds. Tongue thrusting is the pushing forward motion of the tongue when swallowing, causing a continued pressure on the teeth even when not thumb sucking. Speech problems can include not being able to properly say S’s, T’s and D’s, lisping, and tongue thrusting when talking.

Children who are thumb sucking may need treatment include:

-Those who have not stopped thumb sucking on their own by age 4-5.

Speech problems are becoming noticeable due to thumb sucking.

-Peer Pressure – If they are teased or feel embarrassed socially by their thumb sucking.

Tips For Breaking The Thumb Sucking Habit

Breaking a thumb sucking habit will not be easy. The longer your child does it the harder it is to break them of the thumb sucking habit. The following are some tips to help move the process along and break them of their thumb sucking habit.

Communication. Talk to your child about their thumb sucking habit. Explain how it can affect their teeth and kids might make fun of them. Ask how they feel and what you can do to help? Talk about alternative options when the thumb sucking urge comes on.

-Positive reinforcement. This works wonders with children especially of this age. Simple rewards like extra play time or a trip to the park can go a long way to helping break the thumb sucking habit.

Ignore The Issue. Some kids have a thumb sucking problem as an avenue for attention. I would not recommend this as a long term way of breaking thumb sucking habit but it is worth exploring.

-Offer Up An Alternative. Parents should give their child encouragement and offer to do a different activity when they feel the thumb sucking urge coming on. Could be something like squeezing a pillow or hugging their favorite toy.

Speak To Your Dentist. As an authority figure in your child;s life they may have more impact in this area. Your child may listen to them more intently. Your dentist will also offer dental treatment options. These can include:

-Behavioral Therapy.

-Special Nail Polish. This nail polish will be placed over thumb nail and have a foul taste for your child when they go into thumb sucking habit.

-Thumb sucking device that covers thumb. This will physically make it hard to get comfort when thumb sucking.

-Dental Habit Appliance. This is a custom made dental appliance that will make it impossible for your child to continue thumb sucking comfortably.

Thumb Sucking Conclusion

Breaking your child’s thumb sucking habit will take patience and persistence on both your parts. It is a very difficult habit to break especially the longer it is allowed to continue. If you need help call your dentist. Sometimes a group effort is what is needed. Also, be aware that putting too much pressure on yourself or your child can make matters worse. Best to take a calm, methodical approach.




We are always looking for ways to stop and prevent tooth decay. Most of us are aware of the traditional methods, such as brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily. Fortunately, there are dental sealants, a dental procedure which produces significant protection from tooth decay. Dental sealants are a great way to ward off tooth decay in the grooves of our teeth. Many of us have an inherent weakness in the structural formation in the grooves of our teeth. Weakness in the grooves on the top surface of our teeth allows food and bacteria to stick and stay. This creates a highly concentrated environment of cavity causing bacteria which are very difficult to thoroughly remove.  Dental sealants can help young children, teens, and adults prevent cavities.

How Do Dental Sealants Work?

Our teeth are formed with grooves and pits in them that can trap foods. When  food particles become trapped, there is a marked increase in probability of tooth decay. The longer the food debris stays, the more likely it is that tooth decay will begin. With proper dental hygiene, we are able to remove most of the food debris and dental plaque before it does any damage. For many with deeper grooves in their teeth, toothbrushes are unable to adequately get inside of the grooves leaving bacteria and food behind. Sealants are placed to help those with deeper, uncleansable, grooves.

Dental sealants are generally recommended to all children as their permanent premolars and molars erupt into the mouth. The dental sealant is a thin resin that is painted onto the biting surface of teeth. The thin resin then bonds down into the base of the grooves in the tooth’s surface. This resin will fill in those narrow grooves decreasing the chances of tooth decay developing in those teeth. The smooth surface makes it easier for you to maintain good dental hygiene. Even though the chance of tooth decay on the biting surfaces has decreased, tooth decay is still possible. The other surfaces of the teeth are still unprotected and the dental sealant does not last forever. They generally last about 5-8 years before needing to be reapplied.

Dental Sealants Conclusion

Dental sealants are a great preventive method for all ages. The most common cavities are those found in the grooves of our teeth. Dental sealants will definitely decrease the chances of developing tooth decay on the biting surfaces of your premolars and molars. Dental sealants provide you an opportunity to gain an extra edge in the fight against tooth decay. Dental sealants are placed in a painless manner, are relatively inexpensive, and long lasting. Ask your dentist if any of your teeth should be sealed and protected, because not all teeth need sealants. Remember to maintain regular visits to the dentist for dental examinations and professional cleanings.