Category Archives: Early Dental Care

The first time you hear a grating sound coming from your toddler’s mouth it can be quite startling.  Don’t be alarmed. Teeth grinding, also known as Bruxism, is reasonably common in young children and is rarely a cause for concern.  As adults we may be more inclined to grind our teeth during times of stress, like those felt during a national pandemic, this is not the case for a toddler’s grinding. 

“We get a lot of calls to the office from parents worried about their children grinding their teeth,” says Dr. Mannella, of Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph.  “We like to check a child’s mouth to make sure there are no underlying problems but the reality is that most kids just grow out of it without doing any harm to their teeth.” 

According to Dr. Mannella, approximately 15% of all toddlers will grind their teeth.  “Usually it first begins when a child’s upper and lower teeth cut through the gums.  Sometimes it can occur because the upper and lower jaws are growing at a different rate, sometimes it is a means for a toddler to self soothe when teething, or even from the pain of an ear infection.  And some kids just grind their teeth simply because they’ve figured out how to do it and they are curious about the sound they’ve learned to make.”

Because the enamel on baby teeth is thinner, excessive grinding can erode the enamel if a child is still grinding their teeth by the age of four or five.  When physical reasons for grinding are ruled out sometimes grinding can be a reaction to stress or anxiety, such as a new sibling, a change in daycare, or the start of a new school year. 

Around one-third of children with bruxism will still be grinding their teeth as adults.  Grinding and teeth clenching as an adult can lead to some pretty severe jaw pain and headaches, so it’s worth keeping tabs on this habit as your child gets older.

If you have concerns about your child’s tooth grinding, or any questions about your child’s oral health, Dr. Mannella and his team at Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph are always happy to discuss any issues that matter to you.  You can reach their office at 973-989-7970 or check out the Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph website at You can also follow the practice on Facebook and Instagram for the upcoming family events.

We follow the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and American Academy of Pediatrics, recommendations which state that a child’s first visit to the dentist should occur when the first baby teeth appear or by their first birthday. Our goal is to establish a Dental Home for your child, an ongoing relationship between our pediatric dentist and your child, allowing care to be delivered in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated and family-centered way. 

During this visit, our dentist and hygienist will discuss teeth eruption patterns, oral hygiene, fluoride recommendations, nutrition and diet, any habit (pacifier, thumb sucking, etc.), dental sealants and interceptive orthodontics.  We will also plan a re-care schedule to fit your child’s needs. Children will receive a thorough examination, digital images (x-rays) if needed, cleaning and a fluoride treatment. The first visit is a great time for you and your child to explore our office.  We encourage parents to accompany their children back for the initial visit.  Our staff will review the health history form and discuss proper tooth brushing technique, diet, and other age-appropriate information.

Our staff is trained to make your child’s first visit a positive experience. Please do not be upset if your child cries. Children are often afraid of anything new and different, and crying is a normal reaction to fear of the unknown. Some children may be fearful, but once a child becomes familiar with our friendly staff and the new surroundings, the fear disappears. To prepare your child for the visit, be positive in your approach and allow us explain to your child what will happen during the appointment.

Before the visit, we encourage you to talk with your child about his or her visit in an age-appropriate, positive manner.  Parental attitudes toward the dentist play a significant role in how children view the dentist.  Children are skillful at reading mom and dad, if you are anxious there is a good chance they will pick up on it.  Please do your best to remain calm and upbeat about your child’s visit.  Explain that we will count their teeth and maybe take some pictures.  Please avoid using words that may suggest unpleasantness.  All procedures will be explained in a manner in which kids can understand.  We treat all children as if they were our own.

Children’s books, such as The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist and Show Me Your Smile!: A Visit to the Dentist (Dora the Explorer) are a great way to prepare your child for their visit.   

For your convenience prior to visiting our office, please click on the link below to print the New Patient Forms, complete the information and bring it with you to your first visit.  

Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth.  As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur.  Brush your child’s teeth in the morning and before bed time.

For children under the age of 3 use a child-size toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste   with an amount no larger than the size of a grain of rice.

 When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing their teeth daily.

For children 3 to 6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.   Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to supervise their brushing and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.

The selection of toothpaste at the grocery store seems to grow weekly. With a little knowledge about what’s best for your little one, you can successfully navigate this isle and make a toothpaste selection that will make you happy and your child eager to brush.

From the time the first teeth begin to erupt until all permanent teeth come in it is especially important for children to use a toothpaste containing fluoride. Fluoride in toothpaste helps to prevent cavities by strengthening teeth. Until a child is capable of spitting out toothpaste when brushing, a rice or pea sized amount should be used at this stage. While you may not love the idea of purchasing separate toothpastes for your kids, toothpastes with whiteners should be avoided as they are too abrasive for baby teeth which are softer than adult teeth.

In order to get your child excited about brushing it is a great idea to allow them input in selecting their toothpaste. Many manufacturers make kid-friendly options that taste appealing to children and are also tooth friendly as well. You may shake your head at why a 3 year old prefers bubble gum flavor over mint, but the important issue at this age is to get your child to be compliant at brushing for 2 minutes twice a day. The right ingredients are much more important than the flavor of the toothpaste.

Some great, kid friendly options available in most grocery stores today are:

Toms Of Maine

Toms of Maine makes toothpastes that contain fluoride as well as those that do not contain fluoride. The only Toms of Maine toothpastes that contain fluoride are the Fruitilicious Children’s Gel and Outrageous Orange Mango Children’s Toothpaste


Kids 2 in 1 Strawberry Smash or Watermellon Toothpaste


Toothpaste featuring Disney and Marvel characters in flavors like sparkle fun, bubble gum and minty breeze

If you have questions about your child’s toothpaste, or any issues related to their oral health, please give our office a call. Our trained professionals are always eager to provide the answers you are seeking.

Between the costumes and the candy, Halloween ranks as one of the absolute best days of the year for kids. With a little bit of care and planning parents can be more comfortable that this day of fun won’t lead to a mouth full of cavities down the road.

With Halloween candy there certainly are some that are worse for your kid’s teeth than others. So that you can purchase your candy with some insight this year, below are some examples of the many varieties of candy and the pros and cons of each.


Chocolate by itself is one of the better candy options. It melts and is more easily washed off of teeth. Dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate because it has less sugar. Chocolate becomes a less optimal option when mixed with sticky fillings.

Sticky/Gummy Candies

These types of candies represent some of the worst options for your child’s teeth. They have a very high sugar content and because they are sticky they are harder to remove from your child’s teeth and therefore give cavity-causing bacteria more time to do their job.

Sour Candy

The acids used to create sour flavors also work to erode teeth. That coupled with the high sugar content which is used to balance the tartness in the candy is a bad combination for teeth.

Hard Candy

Hard Candies have two issues working against them. Because they are hard they tend to linger in your child’s mouth coating every tooth in a sugary saliva mixture. Because they are so hard there is also a tendency to want to chew these types of candies and sometimes they can actually break teeth.


Chewing gum can be one of the best options for Halloween candy if you choose carefully. It stimulates the production of saliva, which helps clear away food, and reduces the levels of acid in your mouth that cause tooth decay. When choosing a gum look for one that contains a sugar replacement instead of natural sugar.

Regardless of what kind of candy you wind up purchasing, your kids will undoubtedly come home with way more candy than they can, or should, eat. With this in mind, Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph will be collecting your wrapped surplus candy to be donated to the Ronald McDonald house. The kids staying at the Ronald McDonald house are all fighting difficult medical situations and are unable to go trick-or-treating at home this year. Your candy will brighten these kids day and are sure to bring lots of smiles.

We also are requesting you have your kids make cards of support to donate along with your candy. We will be accepting candy and cards in our office through 5pm on November 10th. Happy Halloween!

We follow the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations which state that a child’s first visit to the dentist should occur when the first baby teeth appear or by their first birthday. Our goal is to establish a Dental Home for your child, an ongoing relationship between our pediatric dentist and your child, allowing care to be delivered in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated and family-centered way.

Why so Early?

There are several reasons why you should take your child to a dentist early. First, it helps your child feel at ease around the dentist. This reduces the chances that they will feel overly anxious about visiting the dentist as they get older. As a parent, you want to instill good habits in your children, and one good habit they must develop as an adult is to visit their dentist regularly.

Another reason is that the dentist will be able to oversee the development of the child’s teeth. Our dentists make sure that your child’s teeth and gums are all healthy and educate them on proper nutrition and brushing habits. We also recommend fluoride treatment to help keep your baby’s teeth strong and diagnose and treat any potential issues before they get worse.

Why are primary teeth so important?

Quite a few parents don’t realize the importance of primary teeth.

  • 1. Having a complete set of teeth promotes a healthy smile, which helps a child’s confidence.

  • 2. Teeth are crucial for proper speech development. With missing teeth, a child may develop speech defects that can affect them now as well as later in life.

  • 3. Children also need teeth to chew food properly. If a child has no teeth until the permanent teeth arrive, the inability to chew the food properly may lead to poor nutrition, and ultimately, poor health.

  • 4. Primary teeth also act as placeholders for the permanent teeth. When a child loses a primary tooth, the adjacent teeth can drift into the empty space, and decrease the space available when the permanent tooth comes out.

Keep in mind that visiting the dentist early also benefits the parents. During these early visits, our Team will provide all sorts of great oral care tips that will benefit you and your child!

Many new parents are often unsure about proper oral care for their children.  One of our missions is to educate parents about the oral hygiene needs of babies, toddlers and young children and how oral care should evolve as a child grows. The dentists and hygienists at Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph are all experts in the oral care of babies and children.

At all routine visits, they educate parents and caregivers on the age specific oral care needs of their children.  Dental care for children is ultimately about teaching them to develop good oral care habits they can carry with them as they grow older. Following proper oral care, guidelines are important in avoiding tooth decay.  In the US, it’s estimated that more than 25% of children get a cavity as early as 4 years old.

So what do you need to know about dental care for your children? Here are some helpful facts and suggestions:

1. Dental care should start even before your baby has teeth. You should run a clean damp washcloth over your baby’s gums after feeding in order to get rid of harmful bacteria.

2. Brushing should begin with the eruption of the very first teeth. A specially size toothbrush designed for infants should be used along with a baby fluoride toothpaste with the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of acceptance.

3. In order to minimize the amount of fluoride toothpaste, your baby will swallow, only use an amount of toothpaste equal to the size of a grain of rice.

4. Flossing should also start when your child has 2 teeth touching each other. With flossing, you can clean the areas in between them that the toothbrush bristles can’t reach.

5. Kids should learn to spit while brushing around the time they’re 2 years old. Don’t give them water to swish and spit, as they’re just more likely to swallow the water along with the toothpaste instead.

6. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should schedule a visit to a dentist when your child turns 1 year old.  In support of this recommendation, Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph offers free exams for children under the age of two.

7. Good dental care also involves proper feeding habits. Always avoid putting your baby to sleep with a bottle in his or her mouth. While it may be an easy way to get babies relaxed for sleeping afterward, the natural sugars in breast milk, formula and cow’s milk can cause tooth decay if allowed to linger for hours on teeth and gums.

8. Sucking on a bottle all day can also harm the teeth. Once children reach the age of one, switch them from a bottle to a sippy cup with a hard spout or straw. At 12 months children should be old enough to learn to drink from a cup on their own.

Free Exams For Children Under Two - Schedule An Appointment