Life StagesHere at Pediatric Dentistry of Texarkana, we are here for you and your child through his or her entire life. Children go through many changes during their lifetimes, and we are here to help!

During Pregnancy

Though many people don’t realize it, it is very important to see your dentist regularly during pregnancy (or even if you are planning on becoming pregnant). You need to make sure that your teeth and gums remain as healthy as possible during your pregnancy.

There is a condition called pregnancy gingivitis, which is caused by increased hormones. It leads to puffy gums, inflammation, and increased sensitivity in your mouth. If left untreated, the condition will worsen and can lead to a more serious problem. Gum disease can cause preterm birth and even preeclampsia.

For this reason, it is really important to maintain good oral hygiene at home by brushing and flossing daily. You should also see your dentist regularly to ensure that both you and your baby are healthy.

Since healthy gums are so important during pregnancy, if you are thinking about having a baby, you should make sure that your mouth is healthy. If there are problems, get them taken care of before getting pregnant.

1st Trimester

Many women get sick when they are in their first trimester. If you are sick, you can rinse your mouth out afterward using water and a teaspoon of baking soda. This helps to neutralize the acid. It is also important that you wait at least an hour to brush your teeth because the stomach acid softens your enamel. If you take a chewable antacid to help with your upset stomach, make sure that you rinse your mouth afterward. Those medications have a lot of sugar, which can lead to extra cavities.

During the first trimester, we also recommend adding a fluoride rinse to your oral care. It helps to protect your enamel from acid. Teeth bleaching is not safe during pregnancy, so you should avoid it or stop doing it.

There are also many medications that are not safe for babies. It is also important to refrain from using tobacco products or drinking any alcohol. It is also a good idea to quit smoking so that your child does not have to deal with the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

2nd Trimester

Your diet is really important throughout your whole pregnancy, but as you go into your second trimester, you should be able to eat more. Make sure that you are eating a balanced diet with enough fruits and vegetables. Vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, vitamin C, calcium, and vitamin B12 are very important in order for you to have a healthy baby and healthy teeth.

If you must eat sugary foods, it is best if you eat them during meals. Brushing afterward will help you to avoid getting cavities.

If you have a dentist appointment, it is important to let your dentist know that you are pregnant. We will have to take extra precautions to ensure that you and your baby are not harmed. This is the best time to see the dentist.

If you have any problems such as a toothache, you need to schedule an appointment to be seen right away.

3rd Trimester

Most people don’t like to see the dentist during the last few weeks of pregnancy because it can be hard to sit in the dental chair. Instead, schedule a visit for right after your baby is born.

This is important because the bacteria in your mouth can infect your baby. Babies who have been infected tend to have more cavities. To decrease the risk, make sure that you continue to brush and floss your mouth regularly to cut back on bacteria. You can also chew xylitol-containing gum after each meal.

0-2 years old

Babies don’t start to get teeth until they are between six and eight months. However, good dental care should start even before they come in. Use a gauze pad or soft cloth and wipe your baby’s mouth out after each meal.

Once the first tooth (usually the bottom comes in first) arrives, it is important to start brushing your baby’s teeth. You should use a soft baby-sized toothbrush. You should use a small amount (the size of a grain of rice) of fluoride-containing toothpaste. This helps to strengthen the teeth while also cleaning them. If you use only a small amount, it won’t hurt your baby if it is swallowed.

When your child is around two, you can use a little more (pea-sized amount) toothpaste. Start teaching your child right away to spit out the extra toothpaste.

It is also important to watch what your child drinks. Bottles and sippie cups can cause milk and juice to stick to the teeth and gums in your child’s mouth all day, which can lead to severe tooth decay. You should schedule your child’s first appointment after the first tooth comes in.

3-5 years old

By the time that your child is three, he or she should have all of their primary, also called baby, teeth. They should have twenty teeth in all.

There are many studies that show more than 40% of children will have at least one cavity before they even go to kindergarten. To decrease the risk, you should stop using bottles and sippy cups early. You should also limit the amount of juice that your child drinks. Too many snacks (especially fruit snacks and candy) between meals can also cause cavities.

Children who have sucking habits, whether they use a pacifier or just suck their thumb, need to stop as soon as possible so that they don’t cause problems with their bite and facial development.

Encourage your child to brush his or her teeth. Many children want to do it themselves and you should let them. However, brush the teeth quickly yourself after your child is finished to ensure that he or she did a good job. Always use a fluoride toothpaste to decrease cavities.

6-11 years old

Children start to lose their teeth around six years old. They start by losing their front teeth. Permanent teeth will come in along with more teeth in the back.

It is really important to start flossing as soon as children’s teeth start to touch (usually when they are between 3 and 5 years old). Since most children like to brush themselves but don’t do a good job, make sure that you pay attention to the back teeth and the gum line.

Cavities are more common in the grooves of teeth, so we may recommend a sealant to protect the permanent molars and other teeth. This just coats the teeth, making them smoother so that cavities can’t form in the grooves.

It is also important to make sure that your child is protected from dental injuries during sports. This is especially important if your child plays baseball, basketball and football.

12-18 years old

By the time that your child is twelve or thirteen, he or she should have a full set of permanent teeth. This will include twenty-eight teeth in total, not including the four wisdom teeth.

Cavities are quite common in adolescents due to bad oral hygiene and diet, which is often filled with soda and candy. Children are also more aware of their appearance and may complain about their crooked or discolored teeth. We can help patients with braces and tooth whitening.

It is also important to take X-rays during this time to watch their third molars. Many teenagers need to have their wisdom teeth removed, especially if the teeth are causing pain or growing in crooked.

As a teenager, your child may start to experiment with alcohol or tobacco, which can be harmful to the teeth. Many young girls (and some young men) struggle with eating disorders, which can be really damaging for their teeth. Make sure that your teenager continues to talk with you and visit us regularly to maintain good oral health for his or her whole life.

If you have any questions about the care of your child’s teeth, don’t hesitate to contact us today at (903) 831-1000.