What to Do When Your Child’s 6-Year Molars Are Erupting

At around age 6, children start shedding their deciduous teeth to make room for their permanent teeth to come in. At this time, the six-year molars also erupt.

What to Do When Your Child's 6-Year Molars Are Erupting

Every parent’s first experience with their child’s teeth occurs when they’re still infants and their first, baby teeth begin coming in. At around age 6, children start shedding their deciduous teeth to make room for their permanent teeth to come in. At this time, the six-year molars also erupt.

What Are Six-Year Molars?

The six-year molars are permanent, adult teeth that begin to erupt just behind a child’s second or second-year molars at around age six.
Since these teeth are new growth, they will not fall out and be replaced by new teeth like your child’s baby teeth. So, it’s important to help your child understand the importance of caring for them well since they’ll have their six-year molars for life.

Symptoms Your Child Might Experience

When the new molars are close to coming in, your child might experience some gum discomfort for about a week. As the new tooth erupts, your child might experience the following symptoms:
Most often, molars come in without any complications. Children, however, can develop an infection as their new teeth erupt. If your child has any pus, discomfort lasting more than a week, or persistent fever, schedule a doctor’s appointment right away.
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How to Alleviate the Symptoms of Molar Eruptions

Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to can help your child get some relief from the discomfort of getting a new molar.

Caring for Your Child's New, Permanent Molars

Teaching your child proper oral hygiene habits is essential to keeping their teeth and six-year molars healthy for life. Show them the proper ways to brush their teeth and floss.
Plus, it’s important to bring them to the dentist for a checkup and preventative dental care treatments like fluoride applications and sealants that can make molars easier to clean and help protect them from the bacteria and acid that cause tooth decay.
To learn more about six-year molars and preventative dental care that can keep your child’s teeth healthy for life, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Stewart at Kenmore Pediatric Dentistry.

How to Tell If My Child Needs Braces

Young children can be screened to determine if they’ll need braces. If so, interceptive treatments for young children can encourage healthy development, avoiding the need for braces altogether. If, however, you find yourself wondering about your child’s development, the following signs would indicate that they might need braces.

How to Tell If My Child Needs Braces

Young children can be screened to determine if they’ll need braces. If so, interceptive treatments for young children can encourage healthy development, avoiding the need for braces altogether. If, however, you find yourself wondering about your child’s development, the following signs would indicate that they might need braces.

5 Signs Your Child Might Need Braces

1. Early or Late Loss of Baby Teeth

When a child loses their baby teeth before their permanent teeth have finished developing, neighboring baby teeth can shift into the position where the permanent teeth need to erupt, causing issues.

Losing baby teeth too late can also result in permanent teeth erupting in the wrong positions. 

 

2. Misaligned Jaw Position

Overbite, underbite, and crossbite occur when the top and bottom jaws do not match up properly. Jaw alignment issues can make chewing difficult, create irregular patterns of wear on the teeth, result in soft tissue injuries, and cause significant jaw pain and posture problems. 

 

3. Prolonged Thumb Sucking 

Children who suck their thumbs past the age of 4 tend to need braces because the suction results in top teeth that protrude outward and crowded bottom teeth. 

 

4. Crowded Teeth

Crowded teeth are difficult to clean properly, increasing the risk of tooth decay and cavities. They can also cause bite problems and cosmetic concerns. 

 

5. Breathing Through the Mouth

Breathing through the mouth can affect the way a child’s jaw and facial bone structure develops, resulting in a smaller, narrower jawbone that can result in crowded teeth and the need for correction with braces.

Interceptive Orthodontics for Children in Kenmore

At Kenmore Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Laura specializes in interceptive orthodontics for children. While older children between ages 9 and 14 might need braces, interceptive orthodontics can address some issues with spacing, alignment, and occlusion by helping to guide the proper development of a younger child’s jaw.

 

As a result, your child’s jawbone can develop properly, allowing enough space to prevent crowding and encouraging the proper alignment and bite of their teeth. This can prevent the need for braces later on. 

 

To learn more about helping your child’s teeth and jawbone develop properly to prevent alignment issues later in life and the complications of crooked, crowded teeth, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Laura at Kenmore Pediatric Dentistry today.

Can Xylitol Help Prevent Cavities?

Xylitol is a non-fermentable sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in the fibers of certain vegetables, grains, and fruits. It’s also commonly used as a sweetener in sugar-free products.

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Can Xylitol Help Prevent Cavities?

Tooth decay is a common problem for children. Cavities occur when bacteria in the mouth are exposed to sugar and produce acid as a waste product. The acid eats away tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay and the dental caries or cavities.
There are several ways you can help your child prevent tooth decay such as brushing, flossing, and regular dental appointments. Recently, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has also reported that xylitol is a substance that can help prevent tooth decay in children.

What Is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a non-fermentable sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in the fibers of certain vegetables, grains, and fruits. It’s commonly used as a sweetener in sugar-free products.

How Can Xylitol Prevent Tooth Decay?

Xylitol helps prevent tooth decay in two ways:
Although xylitol tastes like sugar, it does not feed bacteria like sugar, so it does not increase the amount of acid present in the mouth.

How Children Can Use Xylitol to Prevent Tooth Decay

Xylitol is most commonly found in sugar-free chewing gum. It’s also a common ingredient in chewable tablets, sugar-free mints, mouthwash, and toothpaste.
Although chewing gum and breath mints are a choking hazard for young children, they can still get some xylitol from snacking on whole foods like fruits and vegetables.

A Note About Xylitol and Safety for Households With Pets

Be sure to keep any products containing xylitol stored safely, as it is highly toxic to both dogs and cats.
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Cavity Prevention With Dr. Laura at Kenmore Pediatric Dentistry

While xylitol can help with cavity prevention, the best method for preventing tooth decay and cavities is practicing good oral hygiene and visiting the dentist every six months for a cleaning and checkup. Additionally, preventive treatments like in-office fluoride and dental sealants can help protect your child’s teeth from tooth decay.
During your child’s next appointment Dr. Laura can talk with you about all the preventive treatments available to your child while also providing education about how to practice proper tooth brushing and flossing techniques for healthy teeth and gums.
To learn more about preventive dentistry for children or to schedule your child’s next appointment, contact Kenmore Pediatric Dentistry today.

Why Do My Child’s Permanent Teeth Look Yellow?

Providing professional dental care for your child’s teeth, establishing good oral hygiene habits, and addressing issues as they arise are the best ways to give your child’s teeth a solid foundation of good oral health for proper development.

Why Do My Child's Permanent Teeth Look Yellow?

Providing professional dental care for your child’s teeth, establishing good oral hygiene habits, and addressing issues as they arise are the best ways to give your child’s teeth a solid foundation of good oral health for proper development. 

 

So, when you’re doing everything right and your child’s adult teeth come in looking yellow, it’s only natural to wonder what exactly is going on.

Why Your Child's Permanent Teeth Might Look Yellow

Adult teeth naturally have more dentin than baby teeth. Dentin is the layer of a tooth that’s located directly beneath the tooth’s pearly-white enamel, and dentin is yellowish and darker in color than enamel. 

 

As a result of their normal composition, adult teeth tend to look darker or more yellow compared to baby teeth. So, when a child’s permanent front tooth erupts right next to a glistening white baby tooth, comparatively, it can look more yellow than you think it should. 

 

Usually, once a child has lost most of their baby teeth, or at least the most visible ones, and have had all or most of their adult teeth come in, they will no longer appear as dark or as yellow as they did before because they will not be positioned adjacent to a much whiter baby tooth.

Additional Reasons for Tooth Discoloration in Children

If your child’s teeth still appear more yellow than you believe they should once all of their adult teeth have come in, then the discoloration might be caused by one of the following:


  • Stains
    – Foods and drinks that are highly pigmented can stain teeth. Berries, fruit juices, sports drinks, colas, and tomato sauce can all cause tooth discoloration. To prevent staining, rinse with water after consuming any of these foods.
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  • Plaque and Tartar – Plaque and tartar buildup on the surface of the teeth cause teeth to look yellow. Teach your child proper brushing and flossing techniques and visit the dentist every six months for a professional cleaning.

     

  • Injury – Tooth or mouth injuries can damage a tooth’s nerve root. In the event of an injury or trauma to the mouth, contact Dr. Laura for a checkup right away.  

  • Antibiotics – Certain antibiotics such as tetracycline can cause tooth discoloration.

If you’re concerned about the appearance or health of your child’s teeth, we welcome you to schedule an appointment at Kenmore Pediatric Dentistry today.

Why You Should Replace Your Old Toothbrush

Old and trusty are two words that should never be used to describe a toothbrush. As much as you might like the one you have, your toothbrush should be replaced regularly.

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Why You Should Replace Your Old Toothbrush

Old and trusty are two words that should never be used to describe a toothbrush. As much as you might like the one you have, your toothbrush should be replaced regularly.

Why You Need to Replace Your Toothbrush

Each time you brush your teeth, your toothbrush picks up plaque and bacteria from your mouth. The older a toothbrush gets, the more bacteria it could potentially be harboring. This is also true of viruses and bacteria that could make you ill.
Additionally, a toothbrush’s bristles also wear out, making the brushless effective at dislodging food, plaque, and bacteria to keep your teeth and gums squeaky clean.
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When to Replace Your Toothbrush

Whether you brush with a regular, manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush, you should replace your entire brush or your electric toothbrush head on a regular schedule.

Manual Toothbrush

If you have a manual toothbrush and brush your teeth twice a day for the recommended two minutes with average pressure and vigor, you will likely need a new toothbrush every two to three months. If you brush more often or press hard when brushing your teeth (Beware: brushing softly is better for your enamel!), you might need to replace your toothbrush sooner.

Electric Toothbrush

For electric toothbrushes used twice a day, you will need to replace the toothbrush head about once a month because the rapid brushing motion these gadgets achieve wears out the bristles more quickly than manual brushstrokes.
If you brush more than twice a day, you might need to replace your toothbrush head sooner than recommended.

Worn Bristles

You can stick to a schedule for refreshing your toothbrush. However, you should replace your toothbrush whenever its bristles appear worn. Worn bristles might be frayed-looking, they will no longer stand up straight, and they won’t spring back to their original position as readily.

Following Illness

It’s also smart to replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head after you’ve been sick. Whether you had a bacterial infection or viral illness, you can actually reinfect yourself by exposing your body to the bacteria and viruses living on your toothbrush.
Additionally, your toothbrush could make other family members sick, if you store all your brushes in a communal toothbrush holder.
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How to Keep Your Toothbrush Clean

To keep your toothbrush clean, you should rinse it thoroughly with water before and after each use, and keep it stored away from other brushes. You can also disinfect your toothbrush with antiseptic mouthwash, hydrogen peroxide, and UV light sanitizers. It’s important to store your toothbrush properly and practice good hygiene to prevent germs – and don’t forget to replace your toothbrush when indicated!

How to Protect Your Teeth During Pregnancy

New babies are a joy, but pregnancy can lead to some oral health concerns for women.

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How to Protect Your Teeth During Pregnancy

New babies are a joy, but pregnancy can lead to some oral health concerns for women. Pregnancy hormones in the body can increase your risk of developing periodontal disease (gum infection). Additionally, pregnancy hormones also soften the ring that prevents food and acid from escaping the stomach, leading to acid reflux and the increased vomiting known as morning sickness. When your tooth enamel is exposed regularly, the acid can break down the enamel, weakening teeth and leading to decay, cavities, and potential infection.

4 Tips for Protecting Your Teeth During Pregnancy

1. Maintain Your Dental Care
Due to the effects of pregnancy hormones, it’s essential to maintain good oral hygiene habits during pregnancy. Continue brushing twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and ask your dentist or doctor about adding a fluoride-enriched mouthwash to your dental routine to keep bacteria at bay.
2. Protect Teeth from Morning Sickness
After vomiting, brushing your teeth is probably the first thing you want to do. However, it’s better to simply rinse with water or mouthwash and wait at least one hour before brushing. The acids from your stomach will weaken your enamel, and brushing can scratch it. If you don’t have any mouthwash on hand, try swishing with a teaspoon of baking soda and water.
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3. Snack Smartly
During pregnancy, you’ll likely experience lots of cravings. If you can, avoid eating lots of treats with added sugar or sipping on sugary beverages, as these can lead to an increase in bacteria and acids on your teeth. Instead, choose calcium-rich foods like cheese or yogurt.
4. Continue Seeing the Dentist
Unless your obstetrician instructs you otherwise, you can continue visiting your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups to help protect your teeth and prevent gum disease throughout your pregnancy.
Let your dental office know that you’re pregnant, inform them of any changes to your medications, and let them know how far along you are. Your dentist will take special precautions to ensure your dental cleaning and checkup is completely safe for you and your baby.

When to Schedule Your Baby's First Dental Checkup at Kenmore

Infants should first see the dentist within six months of receiving their first tooth or before their first birthday. If you’ve recently welcomed a newborn into the world, we invite you to establish your infant’s dental care with Kenmore Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Stewart is highly experienced and skilled in treating infants, toddlers, children, and teenagers, and our entire staff will be happy to assist you with providing your child a healthy start!
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How to Save Your Child’s Teeth From Sugary Drinks

Although sugary and acidic drinks aren’t the best options for tooth health, you don’t have to avoid them altogether. Instead, follow these tips for healthier teeth.

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How to Save Your Child's Teeth From Sugary Drinks

While most parents know that sugary drinks like soda and sports drinks aren’t healthy for their children, some don’t realize seemingly healthy choices like fruit juices and fruit smoothies can be unhealthy in their own ways, too.
These drinks both contain lots of sugar and acids like citric acid that can be quite harmful to teeth. Sugar feeds the bacteria in our mouths, and those bacteria produce acid as a byproduct. Both this acid and the acids found in naturally acidic beverages harm our dental health by breaking down tooth enamel, making our teeth more susceptible to decay and infection.
Although sugary and acidic drinks aren’t the best options for tooth health, you don’t have to avoid them altogether. Instead, follow these tips for healthier teeth.

5 Tips to Save Your Teeth From Sugary Drinks

1. Use a Straw
Drinking with a straw directs the beverage toward the back of your child’s mouth, reducing the overall exposure of their teeth to sugar and acids.
2. Don’t Sip
When teeth are exposed to sugar and acids, a 20-minute process of enamel breakdown and remineralization begins. This process restarts with every drink. The longer your child sips a sugary drink, the longer this process will ultimately last. Encourage your child to finish sweet drinks quickly and provide them with water between snacks and meals.
3. Enjoy with Cheese
Enzymes in cheese actually coat and protect the teeth from the acids that sugar creates. Serve your child a smoothie or juice with a few slices of cheese.
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4. Rinse with Water
Once finished, have your child rinse their mouth with water. This will help remove any sugar residue and wash away acids clinging to the teeth.
5. Choose a Better Beverage
With so many sugar-free and neutral beverages to choose from, you can skip the sugar altogether. Instead, encourage your child to drink water. You can even sweeten it with sugar-free flavoring.
Although it also contains some natural sugar, milk is a good option, too, since it contains plenty of calcium that will help your child’s body build stronger teeth and bones. (Beware chocolate milk counts as a sugary beverage.)
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Schedule Your Child's Next Dental Checkup with Our Kenmore Dentist

In addition to choosing healthier drinks and forming dental-friendly habits, you can protect your child’s smile with regular dental exams and cleanings. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Stewart, contact Kenmore Pediatric Dentistry today.

Eat These Vitamins and Minerals for Healthy Teeth

Eating a balanced and nutritious diet is just as important to a healthy smile as brushing, flossing, and regular dental exams because your child’s teeth depend on receiving vitamins and minerals to keep them strong.

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Eat These Vitamins and Minerals for Healthy Teeth

Eating a balanced and nutritious diet is just as important to a healthy smile as brushing, flossing, and regular dental exams because your child’s teeth depend on receiving vitamins and minerals to keep them strong.

8+ Vitamins and Minerals for Healthy Teeth and Gums

1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A promotes healthy salivary glands that produce the saliva that keeps your gums moist, neutralizes acids, and mineralizes your teeth.
2. Vitamin B
A vitamin B deficiency can actually cause your gums to recede! Eating a diet rich in this nutrient will strengthen your salivary glands, reduce general inflammation, and prevent canker sores.
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3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C directly promotes the development of strong gum tissues and reduced inflammation in the mouth. As a result, it’s essential for healthy teeth.
4. Vitamin D, Phosphorous, and Calcium
The body uses calcium to build strong teeth and bones, and both vitamin D and phosphorus help your body absorb and use the calcium you eat.
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5. Vitamin E
Moving right through the alphabet of vitamins, vitamin E is also essential for oral health, as it promotes healing of the gum tissues.
6. Fluoride
The body constructs and fortifies tooth enamel with fluoride, preventing tooth decay.
7. Potassium
Potassium is a mineral that prevents certain substances inside the body from breaking down the bone structure to use their minerals for other things in the body. As a result, potassium protects the teeth and the supporting jawbone.
8. Zinc
Zinc wards off gum disease by fighting bacterial infection.

Schedule Your Child's Next Dental Checkup in Kenmore

At Kenmore Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Stewart strives to help each patient’s teeth develop into a strong and healthy adult smile with regular preventative care and education to help parents understand the best ways to care for their children’s teeth.
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What Parents Need to Know About Shark Teeth

Between ages 5 and 7 (and again at 12), a child’s permanent teeth naturally begin to develop below the gum line. Sometimes, a child’s adult tooth will erupt behind the primary tooth, creating what looks like a second row of teeth, hence the name “shark teeth.”

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What Parents Need to Know About Shark Teeth

Between ages 5 and 7 (and again at 12), a child’s permanent teeth naturally begin to develop below the gum line. When everything goes the way it’s supposed to, the permanent teeth grow and dissolve the roots of the child’s primary (baby) teeth. The primary tooth starts to wiggle loose and eventually falls out to make room for the new permanent tooth.
However, every parent knows that, when it comes to raising children, things don’t always go the way they’re supposed to. Sometimes, a child’s adult tooth will erupt behind the primary tooth, creating what looks like a second row of teeth, hence the name “shark teeth.”

Should I Be Worried About My Child's Shark Teeth?

Shark teeth are quite common, and they’re not always a cause for concern. If your child’s at the normal age for losing teeth, if the baby tooth wiggles, and if your child has no pain, then there’s likely no need to be concerned. Your child’s permanent tooth should eventually dissolve the roots of the baby tooth and move into place.

When to See a Dentist About Your Child's Shark Teeth

You’re Worried
Even if your child’s permanent teeth are developing normally, you can always feel free to call or schedule an appointment with Dr. Stewart. We’re grateful that you’re concerned with your child’s dental health and will be happy to take a look at your child’s teeth or perform an orthodontic evaluation to help you better understand your child’s potential future orthodontic needs.
It’s Been Two Months with No Wiggle
If it’s been about two months, and your child’s baby tooth is still stubbornly lodged in place, a wiggle appointment might be needed to help the process along. This is especially true if your child has had trouble losing baby teeth before.
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Shark Teeth Erupt Behind the Molars
If a child has shark teeth erupted behind their molars, this can lead to a problem with crowding and cause future issues. We recommend scheduling an appointment in this case.
Your Child Experiences Pain or Discomfort
If your child’s shark teeth cause oral discomfort or pain at any point, then you should schedule an appointment. Pain can indicate that there’s a problem, and Dr. Stewart can help you determine the proper course of action to stop the pain and ensure your child’s future dental health.

Schedule a Checkup at Kenmore Pediatric Dentistry

Kenmore Pediatric Dentistry welcomes you to talk with Dr. Stewart about any oral health concerns you may have. Contact our office or schedule a checkup for your child today.

Helping Kids Overcome Their Fear of the Dentist

When many adults fear the dental chair, it’s not surprising that lots of children are afraid, too!

Helping Kids Overcome Their Fear of the Dentist

When many adults fear the dental chair, it’s not surprising that lots of children are afraid, too! However, it’s essential that children overcome their fear of the dentist so they can enjoy stress-free dental exams throughout their childhood and continue visiting the dentist as adults. You can put your child’s mind at ease and enjoy more relaxed visits to the dentist.

5 Tips for Overcoming Your Child's Fear of the Dentist

1. Talk About It

Children fear the dentist for many reasons (pain, noise, tools, past experiences, or the dentist herself). The only way you’ll get to the bottom of your child’s fear is to ask them about it. Try to find out exactly what scares them about the dentist. Then provide them with specific reassurance and let them know there are solutions to these problems.

2. Role Play

Take turns playing the roles of dentist and patient with your child. Playing make-believe with small children can remove the stigma many children have about visiting the dentist.

3. Choose a Pediatric Dentist

Pediatric dentists specialize in helping children have positive experiences. The office environment will be kid-friendly, prizes will be offered, and children will have the opportunity to see other children feeling relaxed and happy in the dental chair.

4. Be Positive

Try not to talk about the dentist using words like hurt, painful or scary. Instead, talk about how we visit the dentist for clean and healthy teeth. There are several fun books to read to your child to help prepare them for a check-up.

5. Distraction

You can create a positive dental experience by distracting your child during the appointment. Ask the dentist about music or video options available during the visit. Most pediatric dentists won’t mind if your child wears headphones to listen to calming music or downloaded stories.

Schedule a Pre-Appointment Office Visit in Kenmore

If your child’s feeling extra-nervous about an upcoming dental appointment, we welcome you to help them overcome their fears by scheduling a tour of our office. Sometimes simply providing a child with the opportunity to get acquainted with the office environment, dentist and staff can do wonders to set their mind at ease.

Dr. Stewart and the entire staff at Kenmore Pediatric Dentistry welcome you to schedule a pre-appointment office visit for your child. We can help them have a positive experience so they’re able to begin associating the dentist’s office with happy, stress-free memories. Remember that future positive visits start with the early prevention of cavities. The sooner you get your child accustomed to their dental visits, the more confident they’ll become in the dental office setting.