What’s Your Pediatric Dental IQ?

  1. Babies get fevers when teething.
    True
    False
  2. Baby teeth are important.
    True
    False
  3. Sugar causes cavities
    True
    False
  4. Malocclusions/bad bites aren’t serious.
    True
    False
  5. Energy drinks don’t cause cavities.
    True
    False
  6. Getting a sealant placed on a tooth hurts.
    True
    False
  7. If my child plays baseball, he/she has to wear a mouth guard.
    True
    False
  8. My child eats balanced diet. That’s all the fluoride he needs.
    True
    False
  9. Water plays a role in fighting tooth decay.
    True
    False
  10. I have to make my child give up all sugar!
    True
    False

How’d You Do? Here are the answers!

  1. False: Contrary to popular belief, it’s not normal for a teething baby to havea fever. Diarrhea and rashes are also not normal. If your infant has a feveror diarrhea while teething or continues to be cranky and uncomfortable, callyour physician.
  2. True: Baby teeth hold places in the mouth for adult teeth. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in. This can make teeth crooked or crowded. Taking good care of your child’s baby teeth may help to avoid other problems when he or she is older.
  3. False: This one is tricky, but it’s sorta False! Sugar by itself doesn’t cause cavities. It is the acid produced by cavity-causing bacteria that cause cavities. The bacteria uses sugars to produce the acid. You can help prevent cavities by brushing twice a day and flossing daily, limiting between-meal snacks and, of course, visiting your dentist regularly.
  4. False: Malocclusions, or bad bites, can be serious. If they are not treated early, a bad bite can make it difficult to keep teeth and gums clean where teeth are crooked or crowded, increasing the risk for cavities and gum disease.
  5. False: Remember how we discussed that acids can cause cavities? Well energy drinks are loaded with acid and sugars! Sugars and acids together are a horrible combination and put our teeth in a very cavity-prone situation. The acid in energy drinks can over time erode the outer layer of our teeth (the enamel) and cause increased sensitivity.
  6. False: Sealing a tooth is fast and easy and protects your child’s teeth from decay. Sealants coat the grooves of the teeth and they act as barriers to cavity-prone areas.
  7. True: Your child should wear a mouth guard during all sports, even the sports that are not considered “contact” sports. It may feel funny at first, but mouth guards are the best thing they can do to prevent their teeth from getting broken or knocked out.
  8. False: A balanced diet does not guarantee the proper amount of fluoride for the development and maintenance of your child’s teeth. If you do not live in a community with fluoride in the water your child may need additional fluoride. Talk to your dentist about your child’s specific fluoride needs.
  9. True: Water is so important in fighting tooth decay. Especially fluoridated tap water. It washes over your teeth and gums along with your saliva, helpingto combat the acid and buildup of bacteria.
  10. False: Can you believe it? You simply need to select items that have sugar in them wisely. A food with sugar is safer for teeth if it is eaten with a meal, not as a snack. Cavities form when there are multiple “sugar attacks”.So the fewer times the teethare exposed to sugar, the better. Hence, if your child does eat sugary substances, it’s best to do it only once a day, or only at mealtimes. Chewing during a meal helps produce saliva which helps wash away sugary and starchy foods. Warning: sticky foods, like fruit snacks, raisins and other dried fruit and candy are not easily washed away from your child’s teeth by saliva, water or milk, so they have more cavity-causing potential. Talk to your dentist about serving foods that protect your child’s dental health. By all means, brush after those sugar attacks!

Whether you got the answers all right, or all wrong, Dr. Angela and The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry wants you to make sure you schedule an appointment for your child to see a dentist as early as age one!

Let’s keep our little one’s smiling!

ANGELA AUSTIN
DR. ANGELA AUSTIN is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist in Alexandria, VA. She specializes in treating patients aged 1-21. She is also specially trained to treat special needs patients as well as patients with high dental anxiety. She is the owner of Alexandria Children’s Dentistry located at 6303 Little River Turnpike, Suite 345, Alexandria, VA 22312. www.LoveKidsTeeth.com Phone: 703-942-8404