Kids dental health with Drs. Jennifer Zoll and Erin Knierim

How should parents handle children who are afraid of visiting the dentist?

A lot depends on why the child is anxious. Many times children are afraid of the unknown and need reassurance that they are in a safe place and we are here to help them. Establishing a dental friendly home early on helps children to get comfortable in the dental office so that it is a familiar place. Positive experiences at a young age can help set your child up for a lifetime of good oral health and less anxiety about visiting the dentist.

How early should parents take their children to the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child see the dentist for their first visit by 12 months of age, or 6 months after the first tooth erupts, whichever is earlier. You can also bring them in earlier if the parent or physician has a concern. At the first visit expect to discuss your child’s diet, oral hygiene, habits that may affect dental health, the use of fluoride, their dental development and prevention of dental injuries.

How does thumb sucking affect alignment?

Habits such as thumb sucking apply forces to the teeth and bones. Prolonged habits can be associated with changes like narrowing of the upper jaw, flaring of the top front teeth, space developing between the top and bottom front teeth so the child can't bite the front teeth together (open bite) and posterior crossbite.

When should parents teach children to start flossing?

Flossing should begin as soon as the sides of the teeth start to touch. For younger children flossing is best accomplished by the parent. For older children, model flossing for them, then observe their technique and give feedback until you are confident they have the hand skills to floss on their own.

Jennifer L. Zoll, DDS, 3036 West Sylvania, Toledo
419-474-0733 |