When should I bring my child to the dentist?
The American Dental Association and Dr. Lange recommend you schedule your child's first dental visit by age one.

What happens at my child's first dental visit?
During your child's first visit, Dr. Lange will review his or her medical/dental histories and complete a thorough oral examination to assess development, oral hygiene, injuries, cavities or other problems. Dr. Lange and the Youthful Smiles Team will also review eating habits and may provide dietary counseling after assessing your child's risk of developing tooth decay. Your child may have his or her teeth cleaned, depending on the age. The Youthful Smiles Team will also provide information regarding oral development, teething, pacifier or thumb sucking habits and injury prevention.

How do I clean my baby's mouth?
Begin cleaning the baby's mouth during the first few days after birth. After every feeding, wipe the baby's gums either with a clean, wet gauze pad or with a washcloth or towel. This removes plaque and residual food and helps children become accustomed to having their mouth checked.

When do I start brushing my baby's teeth?
When your infant's teeth begin to erupt it is important to clean them regularly. You may continue to use a gauze pad or cloth to clean the incisors after feedings until the back teeth (molars) begin to erupt (usually around 12 months of age). Once a molar appears, brush all teeth gently with a child's size soft toothbrush and water.

When is my child old enough to start brushing on their own?
Brush and floss your child's teeth until he or she is at least six years old. By age six or seven, children should be able to brush their own teeth twice a day-with supervision until about age 10 or 11, to make sure they are doing a thorough job.

Do I really need to floss?
Flossing removes plaque between the teeth where a toothbrush can't reach. Because flossing is a difficult skill to master, you should floss your child's teeth until he or she can do it alone.

Is there fluoride in Chico's water?
There is no fluoride in Chico's water.

Why is fluoride important?
Cavities used to be a fact of life. But during the past few decades, tooth decay has been dramatically reduced. The key reason: fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources, including the oceans. Research has shown that fluoride not only prevents cavities, it also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay is visible.

How do I prevent decay of primary teeth?
As soon as teeth appear in the mouth, decay can occur. One of the risk factors for early childhood cavities (sometimes called baby bottle tooth decay) is frequent and prolonged exposure of a baby's teeth to liquids containing sugar. This includes milk, breast milk, formula and fruit juice.

I put my baby to bed with a bottle... is this OK?
Tooth decay can occur if a baby is put to bed with a bottle that contains any beverage other than water. There is also a risk if parents or caregivers use milk, formula or juice as a regular pacifier for a fussy baby. Encourage children to drink from a cup by their first birthday, and discourage frequent or prolonged use of a training cup.

Should I be concerned with thumb sucking?
Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may suck on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers and other objects. Thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of the permanent teeth can cause problems with tooth alignment and the proper growth of the mouth. To help your child, praise them when they are not sucking their thumb.

How does diet affect my child?
What you eat and how often you eat can affect your teeth. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, constantly forms on our teeth. When we eat food or drink beverages that contain sugar or starch, the bacteria produce acids that attack tooth enamel. Frequent snacking may mean frequent acid attacks and an increased risk for tooth decay. Other factors that promote tooth decay are the amount of bacteria in your mouth and lack of exposure to fluoride.

What are dental sealants?
A sealant is a material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting the decay-prone areas of the teeth from accumulating plaque that results in acid attacks and tooth decay.

Pits and fissures are depressions and grooves in the surface of the teeth that often are difficult to keep clean because toothbrush bristles cannot reach into them. The sealant forms a thin covering that keeps plaque and food out and decreases the risk of tooth decay.

Sealing a tooth is fast and there is virtually no discomfort. Dr. Lange will condition the chewing surfaces to help the sealant adhere to the tooth, and then apply the sealant to the tooth enamel. She will check the sealants at every six month check-up appointment and will maintain them for no additional charge. elephant