December is National Safe Toys and Gifts Month. During their first winter, many children will receive teething toys and children with special needs may continue to enjoy them as their second set of teeth come in. There are many safe options available, but parents and other gift-givers may not be aware of how to use them and keep them clean.
The Teething Process
Babies’ first teeth usually start coming in when they are about six months old. Dentists recommend that biannual checkups begin at this point. For the most part, the front bottom teeth come in first, followed by the front upper teeth, with the last of the twenty baby teeth erupting by the time the child is three. Particularly during the early months, children’s gums will be sore and they will seek relief by biting down on whatever objects are available.
Besides cleanliness and choking hazards, the other issues with toy selection are chemical composition and intended use. Children often have a preference for cooler items. Many parents use a chilled washcloth to clean their babies’ gums, which is fine if the washcloth is cleaned after each use. Chilling rubber or silicone toys in the refrigerator is also a way of providing children with something cool to chew on. But toys should never be frozen. They could cause ice burns on a baby’s hands as well as their lips and inside their mouth. Gel fillings in teething rings could crack if frozen, compromising the integrity of the toy.
Some dentists recommend avoiding gel toys out of fear of leakage. But toys could also become sanitation hazards if a baby’s teeth leave difficult-to-clean punctures. It is best to avoid plastics entirely. They’re brittle and may contain the potentially hazardous chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA). It is also important to dry out and disinfect squeak toys after each use because water can enter them and allow mold to grow. Don’t allow squeaky toys in the tub. And be aware that plush toys are unsanitary to chew on unless they were designed for that purpose.
For Older Children
Older children are usually less vulnerable to choking hazards, but children on the autism spectrum may still be soothed by pressure on their teeth. Some enjoy chewable jewelry such as non-toxic bracelets and necklaces. Specialty companies offer rubber chew toys that have differently-textured surfaces to provide children with their preferred stimulation. But if misaligned teeth or jaw clenching are a concern, it may be a good idea to try motorized oral tools that will provide stimulation without the need for bite force.
Dental Care for Children Dental Care for Children Even the smallest teeth need attention and care. Infants will start to teethe at about six months old, and many of the baby teeth will erupt above the gum line by the time the child is one year old. This is why the first dental appointment for your child should take place between their first and second birthdays. A child’s first dental appointment does not typically involve any treatment. Instead, this visit is a wellness check or "chair-ride" for the infant to discuss oral care during development and introduce oral care habits as a routine to keep up with throughout their life.
The First Appointment At the appointment, you can hold your child in your arms while your dentist examines his or her teeth and mouth. You should use this opportunity to discuss your child’s medical history and any issues you’re concerned about. Your dentist will review the child’s teething and tooth development to see that their growth is on track. Your d…
Dr. Stangebye is celebrating 28 years of excellence this year!
Many of our patients have known Dr. Stangebye for a very long time. Some patients were even inherited from Dr. Nauss and have been with our dental family for the full 28 years. Our patients are considered part of our dental family. For those of you who have not been with us as long, here is a little history about our practice and Dr. Stangebye.
Dr. Stangebye was born and grew up in Hobart, Indiana. He graduated from River Forest High School in Hobart where he participated in football, wrestling, track and field and band. It was actually in band where he met the love of his life, Sue. He has also had an everlasting love for all things mechanical, especially airplanes and motorcycles. Following high school, he obtained his undergraduate degree from Purdue University, specializing in Electrical Engineering. He then began pursuing his dental career at Indiana University School of Dentistry. He graduated from Indiana Universi…