Dental Care for Children: Top FAQs Answered

child with doctor

We’ve all grown fond of the tooth fairy’s story. As a parent, however, you don’t want your children to think losing a tooth for a dollar-worth of a white lie is normal, let alone healthy.

Dental care for your children can come with peculiarities, but it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously.

The thought of your kid having cavities or losing a tooth can be distressing, and you probably have many questions that need to be answered.

Good thing, we’ve listed all frequently asked questions regarding kids’ oral health. Check them out to find all the answers you need.

At what age should I schedule my child’s first dental appointment?

Regular visits to your pediatric dentist are essential in maintaining your kid’s oral health. But when is it okay for you to bring your child to his first dental check-up?

A parent can schedule the child’s first dental appointment as early as six months or when the first tooth appears (teething). It is recommended to bring them this early because even a baby can have cavities. On your first visit to your kid’s dentist, you will also be taught how to take care of your child’s oral health and prevent them from having cavities or other oral problems.

You can read this article to guide you and your child with your first dental appointment.

nurse and child teeth x-ray
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How do you know if your child's teeth are healthy?

Knowing if your child’s teeth are healthy is difficult because some oral problems are not obvious. However, some signs may help you know if your child’s teeth are in good condition. Here are the common characteristics of healthy teeth.

  • No bad breath
  • Pinkish and moist gum, pinkish and firm tongue
  • Strong and properly aligned teeth
  • Without black spots, cracks, pits, and fissures
  • With similar color

In contrast, here are signs that your child has unhealthy teeth.

Bad breath resulting from poor oral hygiene (e.g., improper brushing or flossing). 

This can also signify gum problems or other issues not limited to your mouth.

Bleeding Gums

If you notice your child’s gums bleed every time they brush their teeth, it might be a sign of gum disease. Gum disease can lead to oral problems and other health issues if left untreated.

Sensitive teeth

Your kid may often feel it when eating cold or hot food. Cavities, cracked teeth, or gum disease might be the reason behind this.

Black spots on your kid’s teeth

Black spots on your child’s teeth are a form of tooth discoloration. They can be intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic stains appear due to exposure to external agents like darkly colored food and beverages. They can also be caused by medication, specifically antibiotics. But the most common extrinsic case of discoloration is poor oral hygiene. 

An intrinsic stain might occur when there’s a deep tooth fracture and the sensitive internal structures of teeth are exposed to debris and bacteria.

If you see these signs of unhealthy teeth in your child, it is best to consult your pediatric dentist.

family toothbrushing

Can kids use adult toothpaste?

There is not much difference between adult toothpaste and children’s. They only differ in the amount of fluoride and the variety of flavors used for children’s toothpaste. The size of the fluoride used for children’s toothpaste is about the grain of rice, and they have a variety of flavors because it entices children to brush their teeth more often.

When it comes to the age at which a child can begin using adult toothpaste, there is no set time at which they should do so. Usually, it is recommended when the child knows how to spit. It is crucial because it is bad for a kid to swallow fluoride.  Although there is no set age for switching toothpaste, many kids are ready to transition at around age six.

What foods cause cavities in kids?

Cavities are common in children, but there are certain foods, specifically those containing sugar and starch, that can cause cavities to worsen. Here are the foods your child should avoid or eat in moderation.

  • Sugary foods such as candies.
  • Sugary drinks such as sodas and sports drinks.
  • Crackers and chips
  • Dried fruits 
  • Citrus and berries

Should you let kids’ teeth fall out naturally?

A loose baby tooth signifies that a permanent tooth is on its way in. The permanent tooth pushes the primary tooth, which causes it to loosen and eventually fall out. 

It might be tempting to pull out someone’s tooth. But there are negative consequences of doing so. If the baby’s tooth is pulled early, a child could suffer from pain, bleeding, or infection. They can also have dry sockets, or it can lead to crooked permanent teeth. However, if the dentist finds it necessary to pull the tooth out, they are the only ones who can do the extraction.

Which vitamins are good for my kid’s teeth?

To take care of your child’s teeth, you should also know the necessary vitamins to maintain and strengthen their teeth. Here are the essential vitamins and minerals for healthy teeth and gums.

Vitamins Foods where you can get it.
Calcium Dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese), canned fish, fortified cereal, green leafy vegetables, soy-based products
Vitamin D Dairy products, breakfast cereal, fatty fish, orange juice, soybean, portabello mushrooms
Phosphorus dried fruit, pumpkin seeds, lentils, soybeans, nuts, meat, seafood
Iron Green leafy vegetables, bread, seafood, eggs, red meat
B Vitamins (B2, B3, B12) Green leafy vegetables, almonds, dairy products, poultry, meat, fish
Vitamin A egg yolks, leafy greens, orange fruits, vegetables, chicken, red meat
Vitamin C Fruits and vegetables (berries, leafy greens, kiwis, red pepper, orange)
Potassium Bananas, avocado, prunes, lima beans

How do I stop my kid’s teeth from decaying?

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 23% of children ages 2 to 5 have dental carries. While cavities in children are often unavoidable, they can be managed with your help and guidance.

Educating them at a young age about the importance of brushing, flossing, and oral hygiene, in general, will instill in them a sense of self-responsibility. Take these efforts a notch by being creative. Let them read children’s books with oral health as the primary subject. 

Teach them songs or nursery rhymes that emphasize the importance of having healthy teeth. This will help them build a clear construct of the consequences of their positive actions.

The food they eat plays a significant role in maintaining the health of their teeth. Therefore, it’s essential that your child maintains a healthy diet.

Lastly, one of the most important ways to prevent your child from having tooth decay is to have constant dental check-ups.

Does my child have to floss?

A child may start flossing when he has two teeth that touch, often at age 2 to 3. Parents are strictly advised to assist and guide their children when flossing up until age 10.

There are different types of floss available in the market.

  1. Waxed and unwaxed
  2. Flavored and unflavored
  3. Wide and regular
  4. Textured and smooth

For the best ADA-approved floss products, here’s a list


Got More Questions? Visit Our Experts at Culver City Dentist

As a parent, you don’t want to see your child suffering from dental problems for they might impact their oral condition in the future. However, there are limitations to what you can do to help them. Therefore, when it comes to your child's oral health, it is essential to seek advice from a pediatric dentist.

So, if you are looking for the most caring and reliable pediatric dentist, you can always visit us at Culver City Dentist United Dental Care.

Book an appointment now to start giving your child the best dental care.

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