I’m pregnant. How should I prepare for my child’s oral health?

Pregnancy can be an exciting time for any family and we all want to make sure our soon to be born child gets off to the best start possible. Pregnancy can also be a very busy time for expectant mothers and often the oral health of the new child can be overlooked and put on the backburner, especially because the teeth are many months away from erupting, however considering your child’s oral health can begin even before giving birth.

To prepare for your child’s oral health, you can take the following steps:

  1. Visit a dentist: Schedule a visit to a dentist during your pregnancy to make sure you have good oral health before your baby is born. We are not born with the bad bacteria that causes cavities (S. Mutans), but we mainly acquire it from our parents in a process called vertical transmission. S. Mutans can be passed on from one person to the next through the transfer of saliva. This bacteria has been known to spread by blowing on a baby’s food, sharing utensils, and even kissing your child on the lips. Reducing the bacterial load in your oral flora will aid in prevention of cavities in your newborn later in life.

    Expectant mothers are also at risk for a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. Pregnancy gingivitis is a type of gum disease that occurs in pregnant women. It is caused by hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy, which can cause the gums to become more sensitive to plaque and bacteria. Pregnancy gingivitis typically begins in the second or third month of pregnancy and can worsen as the pregnancy progresses. Symptoms may include red, swollen, and tender gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing. Pregnancy gingivitis has been found to have a significant association with adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as premature delivery or low-birth-weight (LBW) babies.
  2. Consider your child’s oral tissues: some times a child is born with a condition called Ankyloglossia, or tongue-tie / lip-tie or a combination of both. This can cause many issues with your young baby from inability to latch to problems with the growth and development of cranial-facial structures, sleep and breathing issues and can even create symptoms similar to ADHD. Early detection and correction is crucial to prevent these growth and development issues. If you believe your child might have a lip and/or tongue tie you should make an appointment with a pediatric dentist as soon as you can.
  3. Start brushing: As soon as your child has teeth, start brushing them with a soft-bristled brush and water.
  4. Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle: This can cause tooth decay. Instead, offer a bottle of water.
  5. Teach healthy habits: Teach your child to brush their teeth twice a day, floss daily, and eat a healthy diet that is low in sugary and acidic foods. We have a handy snack guide to help you and your child make healthy decisions.
  6. Schedule dental check-ups: Take your child to the dentist for regular check-ups, starting around their first birthday or when their first tooth appears, whichever happens first. Most of the first visits are going to be informational and making sure to put fluoride on your child’s teeth to make sure they are strong and protected from acid made by plaque.
  7. Consider fluoride treatments: Ask your dentist about fluoride treatments, which can help strengthen your child’s teeth and prevent cavities.

Remember to always follow your dentist’s recommendations to ensure your child’s oral health stays in good condition.

My Child’s Crown Came Off. What do I do?

Stainless steel crowns are the longest lasting and best fitting restoration we can give in pediatric dentistry, however on some occasions, these crowns can come off, creating confusion for parents. If you follow these three steps, you can make replacing the crown a simple experience.

1. Identify the cause (and try to prevent)

The number one cause of a missing crown is sticky candy. Even the strongest cement is no match for the power of sticky candy! If your child has crowns in his or her mouth, please try to limit the amount of sticky foods they eat, this will save you several trips to the dentist, re-cementing the crown.

2. Find and save the crown

Many people assume that replacing a missing crown will be as easy as finding the same size, however nearly all crowns we have placed are custom formed to fit your kid’s unique dentition. By bringing in the saved crown, you will not only save yourself and the dentist several minutes of time, but also save your child that time from being in the chair. If you are unable to find the crown or it was greatly damaged, that’s okay we can always fit a new crown.

3. Make an appointment ASAP

Once your child’s crown has come off, the clock has started ticking before their teeth shift and make a simple replacement much more difficult or even impossible. If your kid’s teeth shift too much in between the time the crown has come off and appointment time, it basically means we have to start from scratch (meaning at the very least a shot, more drilling, and possibly another sedation or even operating room visit). Although your kid;s teeth won’t shift overnight, to prevent another office visit we highly recommend making an appointment at one of our locations the moment your notice the crown is missing.

NECD’s Back to School Tips

Back to school time is a fun and celebratory time for kids and parents (and pediatric dentists!) everywhere. New classrooms, new friends, and of course new freedom. This shouldn’t mean freedom from dental care, of course. Here are some tips for parents on how to make sure their children’s oral hygiene stays on track until the next checkup.

Food and Drink

Talk to their teacher about what they are giving out as snacks and rewards in the classroom. Some teachers will give out gummy, sticky treats for answering a question right or being well behaved. Although this positive reinforcement is great, that choice is possibly the worst for oral health. Better rewards could be string cheese.

What goes in their lunch? A healthy lunch means a healthy mouth so make sure to include lots of fruits and veggies and avoid things with high acid or sugar. A growing trend has had kids eating Hot Cheetos and Takis. These two chips are BY FAR the most acidic. They erode the hard outer layer of your teeth (the enamel), and can cause painful stomach ulcers. Avoid these at all costs and make sure your child knows just how bad they are for you


Back to school might as well mean “back to sports” for a lot of kids. Make sure your child has a properly fitting mouthguard if they are playing any contact sports. There are many you can buy in stores, referred to as a “boil and bite” guard. These work very well, but if you want to ensure the best protection for the teeth and other oral tissues, come to our office where we will make a custom mouthguard for your child.

Mouthguards are necessary and usually mandatory for sports like football and basketball but you might be shocked to learn that they are important for for swimmers as well. These mouthguards are smaller and thinner, used to protect the teeth against the acidic chlorinated pool water. Many swimmers have tell-tale yellow teeth that could have been prevented with a mouthguard.

Kids participating in sports typically have practice long hours in the heat of the afternoon. Many parents worry about their child dehydrating and provide sports drinks like Gatorade. Hydration is critical for a healthy body, however many times sports drinks are unnecessary for hydration while being a high source of acid and sugars. If you feel your child must drink sports drinks, please dilute it with water before drinking and swish with water after.


Going to school changes everyone’s routine. It is essential to brush every morning once you wake up and every night before you go to sleep. The bacteria in your mouth produce the most acid to cause cavities during your sleep, making your breath in the morning stink! No one wants to be the stinky breath kid at school, so make sure your child brushes their teeth and tongue every morning before school. If you feel like your child has extra stinky breath, consider getting a tongue scraper for their oral hygiene routine.

We hope everyone has a great school year!

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