Phone: 734.769.4070

Children’s Oral Health

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2000 Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General, dental cavities are the most prevalent chronic disease of childhood, and dental care is the greatest unmet healthcare need among children. In spite of overall improvements in children’s oral health, dental cavities continue to be more common than other well-known childhood diseases, such as asthma (59% vs 11%).

Early detection and targeted interventions for dental cavities lead to the best possible outcomes. Many pediatric healthcare organizations recommend that all children have their first preventive dental visit during the first year of life. This is commonly referred to as establishing a “dental home.” A dental home is where a qualified dental health specialist offers parents counseling in infant oral health, home and office-based fluoride therapies, dietary counseling, and information relative to oral habits and dental injury prevention. Like the well-child medical visit, the basis of the infant dental visit is to prepare parents and caregivers for future age-specific needs and dental milestones. At Dr Sandberg’s office, we supervise and deliver primary dental health care for your little one that is comprehensive, family centered and compassionate.

For more information on establishing a dental home visit:

"Baby teeth," also called primary teeth, are as important as the permanent adult teeth. Primary teeth typically begin to appear when a baby is between age six months and one year. Primary teeth help children chew and speak. They also hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gum. When teeth first come in, some babies may have sore or tender gums. Gently rubbing your child's gums with a clean finger, a small, cool spoon or a wet gauze pad can be soothing. You can also give the baby a clean teething ring to chew on. Consult your dentist or physician if your child is still cranky and in pain. Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are three years old.   Begin cleaning the baby's mouth during the first few days after birth. After every feeding, wipe the baby's gums with a clean gauze pad or small washcloth. As soon as teeth appear in the mouth, tooth decay can occur. Therefore, when your child's teeth begin to erupt, brush them gently with a child's size toothbrush and water. Brush the teeth of children over age two with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Be sure they spit out the toothpaste and rinse with water.

Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD) or Early Childhood Caries (cavities) (ECD). It most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected. Tooth decay is a disease that begins with cavity-causing bacteria being passed from the mother (or primary caregiver) who has these bacteria in their mouth to the infant. These bacteria are passed through the saliva. When the mother puts the baby’s feeding spoon in her mouth, or cleans a pacifier in her mouth, the bacteria are passed to the baby.

Tooth decay can occur when the baby is put to bed with a bottle, or when a bottle is used as a pacifier for a fussy baby. The sugary liquids pool around the teeth while the child sleeps. Bacteria in the mouth use these sugars as food. They then produce acids that attack the teeth. Each time your child drinks these liquids, acids attack for 20 minutes or longer. After multiple attacks, the teeth can decay.

The good news is that BBTD is preventable. For tips on prevention visit: