Monday, August 30, 2010

Cleaning Baby's New Teeth

It's important to begin cleaning our baby's teeth as soon as they come into the mouth.  When Audrey got her first teeth, I found these Spiffies Baby Tooth Wipes to be very handy.  I incorporated them into our bedtime routine.  After she finished her bottle, I would wipe her teeth with these while reading to her.  She really likes them! 

Wiping the teeth with the spiffies helps remove plaque and they're flavored with Xylitol, a naturally occurring sweetener that helps fight the bacteria that causes tooth decay.  Now that she is getting older (she's 14 months now) I'm using a small soft brush, but in a pinch, I'll still use these occasionally.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What's the deal with Fluoride?...Part 3

How should I be giving my child fluoride?

Here in New York City our municipal water is fluoridated, so your child is getting some fluoride if they drink tap water and/or if you cook with it.  In many areas, such as Nassau and Suffolk Counties here in New York and in some areas with well water, there is no fluoride in the water.  The American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that children in these non-fluoridated areas receive a daily fluoride supplement in the form of a vitamin.  This is a very safe and well established way to prevent tooth decay, and your health care provider can recommend the appropriated dosages for your child which are typically divided into three age groups:  6 months to 3 years, 3 years to 6 years, and 6 years to about 16 years.

It's also recommended that everyone brush twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste.  For children under the age of two, a thin smear should be used.  For those between ages 2 and 5, a small green pea-sized amount should be used.  Your child will still benefit from using these small amounts, while reducing their risk of developing fluorosis.

You dentist may also recommend an in-office topical fluoride application depending on your home fluoride status, your child's dental hygiene and dental caries risk.  These typically take the form of a tray delivered foam or gel or a brush applied varnish.

I think the take home message for these related posts is that, when used properly, fluoride is an excellent tool for the prevention of tooth decay.  Actual fluoride poisoning is extremely rare and the benefits of using fluoride, as recommended, greatly outweigh the risks.


Dr. Jeremy