Childrens Dentist in Kearney: Caring for Your Mini-Me’s Pearly Whites

Welcome to the world of parenting! As your munchkin grows, remember to keep those chompers in top shape. Starting good dental habits early means a future of winning grins. Don’t forget: check-ups, brushing, flossing, and a tooth-friendly diet are key players in the smile game. Enjoy this odyssey of nurturing those little ivories and witness your kiddo sparkle with confidence and joy, one bright smile at a time!


Childrens Dentist in Kearney: Taking Care of Gums

Your baby’s gums can benefit from your close attention even before her first tooth erupts, or “appearances.” Wrap one finger in a clean, moist washcloth or piece of gauze and gently rub it over your baby’s gums after breastfeeding or using a bottle. This procedure starts the healthy habit of regular dental care with a kids dentist in Kearney while also cleaning your child’s mouth of any food particles.


The Infant’s First Tooth

It’s time to switch to a baby toothbrush once that first tooth erupts. Typically, you have two options: a finger puppet-style brush that fits over the tip of your pointer finger, or a long-handled toothbrush that both you and your infant can hold simultaneously. The bristles are sparse and soft in every instance. Just wet the brush before brushing; toothpaste is not needed at this point. Do not give up if your child does not respond well to using a toothbrush; try using a moist washcloth again for a few months before trying the toothbrush again. Your baby will want to chew on anything and everything during the teething process, so a toothbrush with a teether can become their favorite toy during this time.

Once your baby’s first tooth erupts, it is time to switch to using a toothbrush for oral hygiene. There are two main options for infant toothbrushes: a finger puppet-style brush or a long-handled brush that both you and your child can hold simultaneously.

The key factor in choosing a toothbrush for your little one is the bristles. They should be sparse and soft to ensure gentle cleaning of your baby’s delicate mouth. It is also important to wet the brush before brushing, as toothpaste is not necessary at this stage.

Don’t be discouraged if your child does not take well to using a toothbrush initially. Some babies may prefer the familiar feeling of being wiped down with a moist washcloth.


Childrens Dentist in Kearney: Using Toothpaste to Brush

You can begin using toothpaste on your child’s brush once a few more teeth erupt. But make sure to choose toothpaste without fluoride for the first three years. Use a small amount of toothpaste at this time. To get your child ready for fluoride toothpaste, which should never be swallowed at any age, have her practice spitting out the toothpaste after brushing from the very beginning.


Childrens dentist in Kearney


Steer Clear of Cavities

Give your baby no liquids that have been sweetened, including soda or flavored drinks. Regular brushing of teeth and gums is important because even sugars found in fruit juice, formula, and milk (including breast milk) can contribute to tooth decay. Additionally, ensure that your child never naps with a bottle, a “sippy” cup filled with milk, or sugary drinks like sports drinks, Kool-Aid, or cola. Long-term contact with these liquids on her teeth increases the risk of early childhood decay, also known as baby-bottle caries. Instead, offer your child water as a thirst quencher. If she needs something to soothe or distract her while you’re changing her diaper or dressing her, try a pacifier or teething ring.

As your child grows and begins brushing her own teeth, it’s important to teach her proper technique. Show her how to brush in small circles and reach all surfaces of the teeth. You may want to consider using a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head for easier maneuvering in little mouths. Also, make sure your child is using an age-appropriate amount of toothpaste – about the size of a grain of rice for children under 3 years old and pea-sized for children over 3.


Pediatric dentist in Kearney


It is also crucial to monitor your child’s brushing habits and make sure they are brushing for at least two minutes each time. Some children may need reminders to brush their teeth, so consider setting a timer or playing a fun song to make the process more enjoyable.

In addition to regular brushing, it is important for parents to supervise their child’s dental hygiene and schedule regular visits with a pediatric dentist. These check-ups can help catch any potential issues early on and prevent them from becoming larger problems in the future.

It is also important to note that diet plays a significant role in oral health. Limit sugary snacks and drinks, as well as sticky foods like gummies and dried fruit, which can stick to teeth and promote decay. Instead, offer healthier options such as fruits, vegetables, and cheese.

Lastly, it is crucial to lead by example and practice good oral hygiene habits yourself. Children often look up to their parents as role models, so if they see you taking care of your teeth, they are more likely to do the same.


Childrens Dentist in Kearney: First-Time Dental Visit

It is advised that you take your child for a checkup six months after the first tooth erupts, which is typically around the time of her first birthday. The earlier your baby sees us, the more likely it is that she won’t have any issues because decay can affect even the smallest of teeth. We will monitor your baby’s oral health for any early indications of problems and advise you on the best ways to take care of her teeth. Recall that your child’s comfort level with routine dental checkups can be greatly increased by preparing for each appointment with a positive outlook.

At your child’s first visit, we will introduce your child to the concepts of preventive dental care. At every exam, we will review your child’s health history, take any necessary X-rays, clean your child’s teeth, and conduct a thorough clinical examination of your child’s mouth, palate, gums, tongue, and teeth.


Kids Dentist in Kearney


You are welcome to stay with your child during each appointment, Although most patients do better without a parent present, we trust you know your child and what is best for them. We have found that without a parent present, it is much easier for our team to establish a relationship and communicate with your child. If you choose, you are more than welcome to accompany your child to the treatment room. We ask that only one parent accompany each patient and that siblings without appointments remain in the waiting room with a trusted adult.


Providing a Positive Example

Little ones are skilled mimics as part of their natural learning process, and you can capitalize on this ability. When your child watches you brush and floss every day, she will learn early on how important it is to have healthy dental habits. Give her a toothbrush of her own and invite her to “brush” with you as soon as she expresses interest. (Either in our office or at your neighborhood pharmacy, you can find toothbrushes with short, chunky handles that are comfortable to hold.) You will have to do that portion of the task for them because most children lack the dexterity required to properly clean their own teeth until they are proficient in handwriting.

Try using flavored toothpaste, a toothbrush with your child’s favorite character on it, or singing songs about brushing as creative ways to make brushing enjoyable. To ensure that your child has healthy, cavity-free teeth for the rest of their life, the main objective is to instill good oral habits in them at a young age!

Additionally, keep in mind that your child can acquire bacteria from you, so the healthier your mouth is, the less bacteria there will be for your child to absorb. You can lessen the amount of bacteria that enters your child’s mouth by not doing things like cleaning pacifiers with your saliva.


Shoal Creek has gone to great lengths, from the design of our office buildings to the quality of the assistance we provide to our clients, to provide an atmosphere that is welcoming to families with small children.  


Childrens Dentist in Kearney


At Shoal Creek, we have worked hard to create a kid-friendly environment, from our office décor to our caring and professional staff. Our pediatric dental specialists in Kearney, MO have offices designed specifically to provide a non-threatening environment where you and your child can feel safe and secure about the dental care they are receiving. 


As your trusted childrens dentist in Kearney, MO, we will treat your child as you would — with understanding, patience, and kindness. Give us a call today at 816-781-5437 or fill out a new patient form today. We look forward to hearing from you soon!