Little girl smiles after visiting a kids’ dentist in Overland Park, KS

As parents, our children’s health and well-being are our top priorities. Yearly visits to a kids’ dentist in Overland Park, KS, are an ideal way to get dental care geared specifically for little smiles. But, you may not always know when it’s time to contact a kids’ dentist. Dr. Matt is here to help you determine when a trip to a pediatric dentistry is worth it.

If you think that your child could benefit from a trip to a kids’ dentist, then contact the team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids. Parents can reach our pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS, by calling (913) 685-9990.

When it comes to dental health, it’s never too soon to start taking care of your kids’ teeth. Indeed, according to the American Dental Association, children should start seeing a dentist by their first birthday (or within six months after their first tooth erupts). But how do you know when it’s time to take your child to a kids’ dentist? Here are some factors to consider:

Visit a Kids’ Dentist for Tooth Pain

If your child is experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity, it’s important to take them to a kids’ dentist as soon as possible. Tooth pain can be a sign of tooth decay or other dental issues, such as:

  • Dental infections (tooth abscess)
  • Gum disease
  • Bruxism (the unconscious grinding and clenching of teeth at night)
  • Dental damage, like chips and cracks
  • Malocclusions caused by thumb-sucking or pacifier use
  • Impacted wisdom teeth

The sooner you can address the problem, the better and more comfortable your child will be.

Head to a Pediatric Dentist for Visible Dental Damage

If you notice visible damage to your child’s teeth (such as chips or cracks), then it’s important to have them evaluated by a kids’ dentist. Even if the damage seems minor, it is best to address any issues before they become more serious. Otherwise, the damage may lead to significant issues, including a painful infection.

Your Child Suddenly Experiences Difficulty Eating or Speaking

If your child is having difficulty eating or speaking, it may be due to dental issues, such as:

  • Cavities
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Dental damage
  • Gum disease
  • Loose baby teeth

A kids’ dentist can help identify the problem and recommend treatment options to alleviate any discomfort or pain.

Contact a Pediatric Dentist for Regular Care

Regular dental care with a kids’ dentist in Overland Park is an ideal way to prevent dental issues as your child grows. So, if your child hasn’t been to the dentist in a while, it’s important to schedule an appointment to ensure that their dental health is on track

But, routine dental check-ups don’t just offer preventive care. They also help educate your little ones on the importance of dental health and hygiene. As a result, yearly preventive care with a kids’ dentist can benefit your child for a lifetime!

Meet Our Kids’ Dentist in Overland Park, KS

Set your little ones up for success at Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS. Parents can request appointments online here, or they may call our pediatric dental office at (913) 685-9990.

Little boy smiles widely while flashing a thumbs-up

Gum disease (also called periodontitis or periodontal disease) is a destructive condition that can damage our teeth and gums over time. This disease has no age limits, which means that even our little ones can suffer from gingivitis and gum disease. Luckily, February is Gum Disease Awareness Month, and Dr. Matt is here to help us celebrate accordingly.

Does your child appear to have red and inflamed gums? If so, then it’s time to schedule a checkup at Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS. Parents can request appointments with Dr. Matt at (913) 685-9990 for gentle yet proactive care.

Because February is Gum Disease Awareness Month, we want to teach you how to promote good oral health in your home and community. In this blog, we give you three ideas for celebrating Gum Disease Awareness Month the right way.

Take Time to Educate Kids

As parents, it’s important that we educate our children on the importance of good, daily oral hygiene. Indeed, teaching the basics of brushing and flossing can lay a strong foundation for continued oral health and wellness.

So, take the time to educate kids on gum disease, what causes it, and how to prevent it. Here are some ways that you can explain periodontitis to your kiddos this Gum Disease Awareness Month:

  • What it is: Gum disease is an infection in our gums (the pink stuff around our teeth). It can make our teeth and gums hurt sometimes.
  • What causes it: There are germs in our mouths. Many germs in our mouths are helpful, but some aren’t. Too many bad germs in our mouths can cause gum disease.
  • How to prevent it: Brushing and flossing get rid of the bad germs while helping the good germs stay strong. If we brush and floss every day, then we can keep gum disease away!

Make Oral Hygiene Extra Fun

Nothing pulls us out of the humdrum of daily life like the promise of a good time! So, this Gum Disease Awareness Month, make oral hygiene more exciting with:

  • Brand new, fun toothbrushes
  • New and exciting toothpaste flavors
  • Fun songs to dance and brush along with
  • Small prizes, like stickers or toys

Organize a Community Event

It’s one thing to raise awareness inside the home, but how do we educate the rest of our communities? A community event can help patients of all ages understand the importance of oral hygiene for optimal oral health

Here are some community event ideas to promote Gum Disease Awareness Month this year:

  • Orchestrate a free, community dental checkup drive
  • Create a community-centered oral health education program 
  • Launch an art competition illustrating the importance of oral hygiene and health

Getting involved with your kids and community this Gum Disease Awareness Month can help you spread healthy smiles wherever you go!

Celebrate Gum Disease Awareness Month with Dr. Matt

The American Academy of Periodontology recommends gum disease assessments with every pediatric dental checkup your child attends. Has it been longer than six months since your child’s last checkup? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Matt at Smiles Dentistry for Kids now to celebrate Gum Disease Awareness Month the right way.

Parents can request appointments here, or they may call our Overland Park pediatric dental office at (913) 685-9990.

A pile of teeth to indicate National Toothache Day

Did you know that National Toothache Day is February 9th? Now, we know what you might be thinking – why would anyone want to celebrate National Toothache Day? Well, it’s more about focusing on optimal oral health than it is about dental pain. Our pediatric dentist is here to tell you why this little-known day matters.

Is your child currently suffering from a toothache? Help them get the relief they deserve at Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS. Simply give our friendly team a call at (913) 685-9990 to get scheduled for the next available appointment. 

What is a celebration without a little education? In this post, Dr. Matthew Hillman tells you more about toothaches, why they occur, and how you and your little ones can avoid them in the future

What is a toothache?

A toothache is pain that originates in or around one or more teeth. The pain can range from minor discomfort to agonizing pangs. Depending on how severe the pain is, a toothache can make eating, speaking, and even sleeping, learning, and playing much more difficult.

Toothaches can occur for many reasons, and most are easily treatable with restorative and preventive solutions. While some toothaches may go away on their own, it is best to consult with a trained professional to assess the cause of the pain

What causes toothaches?

There are many reasons why a toothache may develop, including:

  • Loose baby teeth that are making way for adult teeth
  • Adult teeth that are erupting through the gums to take the place of baby teeth
  • Abnormal bite patterns (malocclusions)
  • Cavities (the most common dental condition in children, according to the CDC!)
  • Thin tooth enamel
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth infections
  • Sleep bruxism (the unconscious grinding of teeth at night)
  • Dental damage, like cracks or fractures
  • Food debris lodged between the teeth

How to Celebrate National Toothache Day

The best (and easiest!) way to celebrate National Toothache Day is to prevent them! Thankfully, there are plenty of things you and your little ones can do to keep dental pain at bay, including:

  • Brushing twice a day
  • Flossing once a day
  • Eating a nutritious diet
  • Drinking plenty of water 
  • Visiting a pediatric dentist in Overland Park at least twice a year for routine checkups

But, what do you do if your little one is currently living with a toothache? Well, here’s what we recommend to ease the pain until you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Matt:

  • Rinse the mouth with a warm saltwater solution to control microbial growth
  • Use over-the-counter painkillers and oral analgesic gels to minimize discomfort
  • Serve room temperature food and drinks to prevent additional pain
  • Limit sugar intake
  • Apply cold compresses to the face for 20 minutes at a time

If you suspect that your child may have a toothache, don’t delay. The sooner they get treatment, the sooner they can get back to being a kid.

Celebrate National Toothache Day with Dr. Matt Hillman

So, what is the best way to celebrate National Toothache Day this year? With a preventive checkup and dental cleaning, of course! Schedule a routine dental exam and cleaning online here, or call our Overland Park pediatric dental office at (913) 685-9990. 

If you have been told that your child needs tooth extraction, it can be a bit alarming – both for you and for your child. Fortunately, knowing what to expect can make the whole process easier and help you prepare your child for treatment. 

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, we take our responsibility to children and their parents seriously. We want to make every treatment, whether it is a routine cleaning or a dental extraction, as easy and stress-free as possible. Dr. Matt and the team at our Overland Park, KS, office will answer all your questions. And, of course, we will perform a gentle procedure with minimal discomfort and recovery time

Contact us today to learn more about tooth extraction or to schedule an evaluation for your child. 

When is tooth extraction necessary?

There are several reasons that extraction may be required:

  • Cavities are the most common reason for pediatric tooth removal. According to one study, tooth decay accounts for half of all extractions in patients between the ages of 3 and 13. That being said, extraction is a last resort. If your child has a cavity, Dr. Matt will first try to treat it with a filling or other restorative procedure.
  • Dental trauma, such as a broken or cracked tooth, may necessitate extraction. Here, too, tooth removal is a last resort.
  • If your child has severely crowded teeth, extraction could create space in their mouth. This will allow for proper dental development. 
  • Most people need to have their wisdom teeth removed. Oral surgeons and dentists typically recommend doing it at a younger age before the teeth erupt. This will help to prevent problems such as impaction and overcrowding.

What’s the difference between a standard and a surgical extraction?

During a standard extraction, Dr. Matt will simply loosen the tooth roots before removing the tooth from the mouth. A surgical extraction requires the removal of some gum or jawbone tissue. These procedures are usually necessary for impacted teeth.

Will tooth removal hurt?

Prior to the procedure, Dr. Matt will numb your child’s tooth and gums. He or she should experience no pain, at most feeling only a mild sense of pressure. We can also provide nitrous oxide sedation if your child is anxious.

What can my child eat afterwards?

Your child will need to eat a soft diet for several days. It’s a good time to treat your little one to all the milkshakes, smoothies, and ice cream they want! Of course, good nutrition is important for healing, so make sure they are getting plenty of protein and vitamins. Avoid very hot foods and drinking from straws for a few days, as this can irritate the extraction site. 

Contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids Today

To learn more about what to expect during tooth extraction or to find out if this treatment is necessary for your child, contact our Overland Park, KS, office today. 

Reach out online or call us at (913) 685-9990.

Smiling Boy in a Parking Lot

It’s normal for children to be scared of new experiences. And since kids typically only visit the dentist twice a year, it may be several years before your little one remembers and recognizes what is happening. Plus, some kids continue to feel nervous at the thought of dental care. Anxiety is normal. And it is manageable, especially when you visit an experienced children’s dentist in Overland Park

Dr. Matt and his team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids focus exclusively on pediatric care. Our bright, colorful office is full of activities and visuals to keep kids distracted and entertained. Most importantly, our fun-loving and understanding team love working with kids. We know how to help children feel at home so that they look forward to their dental visits year after year.

Contact your children’s dentist in Overland Park to schedule an appointment.

1. Visit the Office in Advance 

For some kids, just being in a new environment can be a harrowing experience. That’s why schools offer a “meet the teacher” event before the first day of the academic year. If your child is ill at ease in new places, come into our office beforehand to get a taste of what to expect.

2. Talk about What Will Happen

In accord with American Dental Association guidelines, Dr. Matt recommends that children have their first dental appointment as soon as their teeth come in or no later than their first birthday. At this age, of course, kids probably don’t have the vocabulary to understand what will happen. But if your child is older, talking about what to expect can really set her mind at ease.

Discuss your own experiences at the dentist, but, of course, use positive language. However, if you have struggled with dental anxiety yourself, it can be helpful to share. Talk about how you overcame your fears and had a positive experience.

3. Read Books about the Dentist

There are lots of books about the dentist. Find an age-appropriate one to read aloud. Use it as an opportunity to discuss your child’s own upcoming appointment. Read it for the first time several weeks prior to the visit, and reread it several times before coming into the office

4. Bring a Lovey

Does your child have a security blanket or favorite stuffed animal? Bring it with you! We welcome all favorite dolls, dogs, bears, blankets, trucks, and more! 

5. Find a Compassionate Dentist Specifically for Kids

There are many gentle dentists who work with anxious patients. Nonetheless, a dentist who exclusively sees children may be better able to set anxious kids at ease

As your children’s dentist in Overland Park, Dr. Matt offers a full range of pediatric dental services, including preventive care and emergency treatment. Your child will see the same dentist every time. We want children to understand what is going on and will use age-appropriate vocabulary to explain every step of treatment. Plus, our welcoming office has cartoons, movies, and video games to keep kids entertained! 

6. Offer Sedation, If Needed

For many kids, our expertise and welcoming environment is enough to set them at ease. But if your child suffers from more severe anxiety or is preparing for an extensive procedure, we can also provide nitrous oxide sedation. More commonly known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is safe and wears off quickly. Our team is appropriately trained in the use of sedation and will carefully monitor your child throughout treatment.

Contact a Fun, Gentle Children’s Dentist in Overland Park

Dental care should be a pleasant experience – both for your child and for you! Contact our office to schedule your stress-free appointment. 

You can reach us online or call us at (913) 685-9990.

Baby sucking on a pacifier

When your baby is sobbing inconsolably, popping in his pacifier is a huge relief – for both of you! But is it really the best thing to do? Parents get a lot of conflicting information about pacifiers, and major health organizations have weighed in on the issue. Sorting through it all can be a headache. Fortunately, your dentist for kids is here to help!

Dr. Matt and his team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids stay up-to-date with the latest oral and physical health information for young patients. At our Overland Park, KS, office, we are happy to help you wade through the sea of information to make the best decisions for you and your child

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids today.

The Benefits of Pacifiers

The most obvious benefit of pacifiers is that they soothe crying – and fast! Experts warn against using them every time a child cries. But they can be especially beneficial under stressful circumstances, providing a quick and easy distraction. They can also help restless children fall asleep. And they can lessen the irritation of teething, especially if they have been chilled. 

But perhaps the biggest benefit of pacifiers is that it can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by as much as 90%.

Pacifier Teeth 

At the same time, pacifiers do have one primary disadvantage – their effect on developing teeth. Sucking on a pacifier (or, it must be noted, a thumb) could eventually affect dental development. Children may suffer from protruding front teeth, or their teeth may not come together properly when they bite down

The conflicting evidence can leave a parent baffled. Fortunately, as your dentist for kids points out, the risk of developing pacifier teeth is low for very young children. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children stop using a pacifier by the time they are three years old. They note that dental misalignment can be affected when children use pacifiers after 12 months. However, these issues will resolve, provided that pacifier use is discontinued before age three.

Other Drawbacks of Pacifier Use 

Some parents choose to wean their babies from the pacifier earlier. Studies suggest that pacifiers increase the risk of ear infection. That is why the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests limiting pacifier use after 6 months of age. 

Additionally, sucking on a pacifier could prevent a baby from developing a proper latch when nursing. Experts suggest waiting until mom and baby have established breastfeeding before introducing a pacifier. Usually, this will take 3 to 4 weeks.

How to Stop Using a Pacifier 

Guidelines are all well and good, but actually weaning your baby from the pacifier can be a challenge. The right method will depend on your child and at what age you choose to wean. 

Cutting back gradually may be easier than stopping all at once. Also, be sure to start the weaning process when things are stable and a routine is established. Avoid weaning around a major event or a vacation, when things will already be chaotic. Above all, be gentle with your child and with yourself during this difficult transition.

Find a Dentist for Kids to Answer All Your Oral Health Questions

Concerned about your child’s tooth development? Looking for more information about pediatric dental care? Contact your dentist for kids today! 

You can reach Dr. Matt online or give our office a call at (913) 685-9990.

Teenagers at the beach

If you are the parent of a preteen or teen, you are likely looking ahead to puberty and the many physical and emotional changes it will bring. But one thing you may not anticipate is the impact of puberty on oral health. That is why your pediatric dentist is such an indispensable part of your teen’s journey.

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt and his Overland Park, KS, team offer dental care for kids of all ages, including teenagers. If your child is approaching puberty, it is all the more essential that he or she receive regular care from the dentist. Hormones cause some unexpected challenges. And teens have other oral health needs, such as the eruption of wisdom teeth, that should be addressed.

To schedule an appointment for your teen or preteen, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids today.

Puberty: What to Expect

Not only does puberty affect boys and girls differently; it also affects them on a different timeline. Girls typically start puberty between the ages of 7 and 13, while boys usually begin between the ages of 9 and 15. However, recent studies show that the average age of a girl’s first period is steadily trending downward.

Whenever puberty hits, the brain releases the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (or GnRH). In turn, GnRH stimulates the production of two additional hormones, the lutenizing hormone (LH) and the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). In boys, these hormones signal the body to begin producing testosterone and sperm. In girls, they signal the production of estrogen.

The increasing hormones cause numerous physical changes. These include growth, weight gain, and hair growth. Boys will experience a deepening of the voice, while girls will begin menstruating. 

Hormones and Gum Tissue

As if all these changes weren’t enough, hormones can also lead to a condition known as puberty gingivitis. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, but it is fortunately reversible with proper care. When adolescents enter puberty, the increasing sex hormones can send extra blood to the gums, leading to sensitivity and bleeding. 

Furthermore, one four-year study found that both boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 14 were more prone to develop a buildup of the oral bacteria that lead to gum disease.

Girls are likely to be even more affected by these changes, since monthly hormone fluctuations can have similar effects on the gums. 

Preventing Puberty Gingivitis

Despite the studies, puberty gingivitis is not inevitable. Proper oral hygiene can protect your teen’s gums, even when hormones are raging. Unfortunately, adolescents are at a higher risk for gingivitis when they are also starting to become more independent. Without supervision, preteens and teens may neglect their dental health, not only increasing the likelihood of gum disease but also of tooth decay and infection. 

As your child approaches puberty, make sure that you discuss the importance of daily dental care. Review proper brushing and flossing techniques, and be sure to schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist. Dr. Matt and his team can also provide additional guidance and treatment as your child enters this important time of life.

Contact Your Pediatric Dentist Today

Whether your child is thirteen or thirteen months, we are ready to provide the compassionate care that he or she deserves. Contact our Overland Park, KS, office today. 

Reach us online or give us a call at (913) 685-9990.

2023 Written with a Sparkler

We are just days away from the New Year! It’s the time for setting personal goals for 2023. But New Year’s Resolutions aren’t just for adults. Kids can set goals, too. In this post, your pediatric dentist in Overland Park offers some great ideas to help your kids choose their resolutions. 

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt and his team are committed to every aspect of your child’s wellness. Of course, dental health is our top priority. But we understand that oral, physical, mental, and emotional wellness are all interrelated. Through quality care, compassionate communication, and thorough education, we want to help your family enjoy the best year yet

Contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our services.

How to Help Kids Set New Year’s Resolutions

Unfortunately, many New Year’s resolutions are self-deprecating. For instance, a whopping 40% of people who set resolutions say that they want to lose weight in 2023. But setting these types of goals can be harmful for kids, making them feel insecure about their bodies. Instead, help kids focus on positive changes that will make them feel good

Second, help your kids set actionable goals. Instead of saying, “I will become the best soccer player on the team,” resolve to practice shooting drills three times a week outside of team practice. Or instead of saying, “I will get better grades,” say “I will do my homework first thing after I come home and before I play any video games.” 

Exercise Resolutions

“Exercising more” is the top resolution, set by 52% of global survey respondents. Kids can resolve to get moving, though, again, it is best to focus on how good exercise will make them feel. Although goals will vary by age, some ideas for exercise-related goals include:

  • I will only watch one hour of TV a day.
  • We will go for a family walk after dinner three days a week.
  • I will learn how to play a new sport or activity.

Healthy Eating Resolutions

Healthy eating comes second to exercise in the list of 2023 resolutions. But as with all goals, it is important to be specific about what you want to do. For instance, depending on age, your child might resolve: 

  • I will eat vegetables when they are served to me.
  • When I see new foods, I will give them a try before deciding whether or not I like them. 
  • I will drink no more than two sodas a week. 

Dental Care Resolutions

Of course, your dentist in Overland Park couldn’t resist adding in a few oral health-related ideas. Fortunately, these are small changes that could have big effects on your kids’ dental health, not only in 2023 but for the rest of their lives!

  • I will brush my teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once.
  • I will drink water (or milk, for younger kiddos) with all my meals.
  • I will visit the dentist twice this year. 
  • I will wear my retainer when I am supposed to.

Enter 2023 with Your Dentist in Overland Park

We can’t wait to help you make 2023 a year to remember! Contact your dentist in Overland Park to schedule your first appointment of the new year.

Reach us online or call us at (913) 685-9990.

The lights are shining, and the tree is aglow. But nothing lights up your holiday like your child’s smile. With Christmas approaching, you may worry about that beautiful grin being compromised by the many indulgences the season brings. Fortunately, following a few simple tips this week can help to ensure a dental smile to ring in the new year.

Dr. Matt and his team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids are always happy to answer your questions about dental care. Our Overland Park, KS, office offers complete dental services specifically for pediatric patients. And we take pride in ensuring that each patient enjoys a bright and healthy dental smile.

Contact us today for more dental health tips or to schedule your appointment. And of course, from our office family to yours – Merry Christmas!

1. Go Easy on the Candy

It’s no secret that candy is one of the worst offenders when it comes to oral health. Sugar and other refined carbs stick to teeth, providing a veritable buffet for hungry oral bacteria. As the microbes build up, they contribute to the development of plaque and tartar, which will erode dental enamel and create a cavity.

Candy is an essential part of any good Christmas stocking. And you don’t want to be labeled a total Grinch. You can still allow your kids to enjoy some yummy treats. Just be sure that they do so in moderation and that they brush their teeth afterwards. 

You should also keep in mind that certain candies are more detrimental than others. Sticky candies like caramels keep sugar in contact with teeth much longer, as do hard candies that melt in the mouth.

2. Include Some Tooth-Healthy Foods on the Menu

Instead of focusing on what to limit, think about what you can add to your Christmas table. Fortunately, some perennial kid favorites have great benefits for a dental smile. For instance, cheese is rich in calcium and protein, both important nutrients for tooth health. Lean meats also offer protein, as well as iron for improved tooth and gum health. 

3. Drink Plenty of Water

Your child can still enjoy a mug of hot chocolate, but make sure that your whole family is drinking water throughout the day. Of course, this will keep you hydrated, but it will also help to prevent tooth decay. Water flushes away oral bacteria and food particles, so it is especially beneficial after eating. 

4. Don’t Neglect Regular Dental Care

Christmas week is a whirlwind of activity. Nights can be especially busy, between parties, church services, and family gatherings. Just be sure that you still take the time tothat your child is brushing and flossing properly.

5. Prevent Sports Accidents 

Many family gatherings include a rousing game of football or other sports after dinner. Whenever your child is playing contact sports, a mouthguard is always a good idea. One large scale study found that the rate of oral injury among athletes who wear mouth guards was five times lower than among athletes who did not wear them

Schedule an Appointment to Maintain Your Child’s Dental Smile 

Give your child the gift of dental health this Christmas. Contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids to schedule an appointment. 

Complete our online form or call us at (913) 685-9990.

When your child cut his first tooth, you likely felt a thrill of excitement. Even when teething is difficult, there’s nothing like watching your baby hit those milestones. But one milestone you are not anxious to see is your child’s first cavity. Unfortunately, as your dental office experts explain in this post, baby bottle tooth decay is far too common.

Dr. Matt and the team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids are committed to preventive care whenever possible. Through routine cleanings and education, we want to help your child avoid early childhood tooth decay and other concerns. At the same time, if your child does develop a cavity, we can provide swift, gentle, and compassionate care for even the youngest patients. 

To schedule an appointment or to learn more about oral care, contact our Overland Park, KS, office today.

What is baby bottle tooth decay?

Baby bottle tooth decay is also known as early childhood caries. It refers to tooth decay in children under the age of 2. Typically, it affects the top upper teeth, although any tooth can develop a cavity.

I exclusively breastfeed. Can my child still get tooth decay?

Yes. Breast milk itself is not typically considered a cause of cavities. But when a child falls asleep with milk in her mouth, she can suffer tooth decay. 

Furthermore, according to one study, breastfeeding at night past the age of 18 months can increase the risk of dental caries.

Are cavities in baby teeth really a big deal?

Even though baby teeth will eventually come out, early decay is a major concern. For one thing, children who suffer from cavities have a higher risk for tooth decay as adults. For another, baby teeth act as placeholders. If your child loses a tooth too early, it can cause spacing issues for incoming permanent teeth.

How can I prevent baby bottle tooth decay?

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take, which will dramatically decrease the risk of early childhood caries:

  • Never put your baby to bed with a bottle.
  • Never fill a bottle with juice or sugary drinks.
  • If you breastfeed, remove your breast from your baby’s mouth as soon as he falls asleep.
  • As soon as your child’s teeth erupt, begin brushing with a small, soft-bristled brush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice).
  • Do not share spoons or other eating utensils with your child. Tooth decay is contagious, and doing so can cause harmful bacteria to pass from you to your baby. 
  • If your little one uses a pacifier, make sure that it is clean. Never dip it in sugar to make it more appealing. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents avoid added sugar before age 2 anyway.)
  • Schedule an appointment at your pediatric dental office. Children should visit the dentist once they cut their first tooth or no later than their first birthday. Dr. Matt even offers free exams and cleanings to children under the age of 2!

Contact Our Dental Office for More Information

Contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids to learn more about baby bottle tooth decay or to schedule a preventive cleaning

You can get in touch online or call us at (913) 685-9990. 

We are excited to welcome Dr Tara Craven to the Smiles Dentistry for Kids team!Learn More