Take care of your baby’s teeth and gums before teething even begins. Establishing good dental hygiene at a young age, even for an infant, leads to a lifetime of good health.

One-year-old exams

Do you know when your child’s dental care should begin?  The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that the appearance of the first baby tooth is a good sign.  For most babies, this occurs when they are between six months and one year of age.  A simpler way to remember for your child is: first dental visit by first birthday. It’s important to remember that baby teeth serve as place-holders for adult teeth. If baby teeth are damaged, permanent teeth can grow in out of position, and/or crooked,  resulting in crowding.

Cleaning Baby’s Teeth

Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or with cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use only a “smear” of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than two years of age. For your two-to-five year old, dispense a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste and either perform or assist your child’s tooth brushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively by themselves.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Many people are unaware of the dental condition known as baby bottle tooth decay. Serious harm can come to a baby’s teeth when bottles filled with juice, milk or formula are allowed to sit in a baby’s mouth for long periods of time. Generally this happens when a baby is put to bed with a bottle. If you bottle feed, make sure to remove the bottle when your baby falls asleep. Drinking juice from a bottle should be avoided. Children should be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age.

Thumb and Finger sucking

Thumb-sucking is perfectly normal for infants, and many children stop by the age of two. Prolonged thumb-sucking, however,  can create crooked teeth or bite problems for your child. If the habit continues beyond age three, ask Dr. McCall about ways to address a prolonged thumb-sucking habit.


From six months to age three, your child’s gums may feel tender when teeth erupt. In most children, teething causes increased drooling and a desire to chew on hard things. In some children, teething results in mild pain and irritability and the gums may become swollen and tender. Help your child by vigorously massaging the area for a few minutes and/or let him/her chew on a smooth, hard teething ring or a cold wash cloth. While most children do not need teething gels or treatment with Tylenol® for pain, you can use these products, if necessary.


Dental sealants are plastic coatings or barriers that protect the teeth against decay-causing bacteria. Usually, sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of your back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often. Applying a sealant to your teeth can prevent cavities and the need for fillings, which must be replaced every six-to-eight years. Children especially benefit from sealants.


Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally found in many things we eat or drink.  It is nature’s way of helping prevent cavities. Both in-office fluorides and low-strength home fluorides play important roles in helping keep your teeth for a lifetime. Professional fluorides make teeth stronger and even heal weakened areas, while home fluorides assist in this process. In the lifelong fight against cavities, both adults and children benefit from in-office treatment and home fluorides.


If your child plays sports or other similar activities, mouth guards are a great way to protect their teeth from potential injury. They are easy to clean, come in many color combinations and are custom made to fit comfortably in your child’s mouth.


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Post Op Care

Sometimes extensive dental care is required. Find out great information and tips on your post-op care.