The way children care for their bodies today will have an impact on their health as adults.
Preventive dental care will improve the oral health of your children. It is possible for your child to reach adulthood without ever having tooth decay.
Take your child to see the dentist regularly, beginning by the child’s first birthday.
· Give only water to your child at naptime or bedtime.
· Start brushing as soon as the child’s first tooth appears.
· Begin flossing when two teeth begin to touch.
· Brush and floss your child’s teeth daily until they can be do it with supervision and then eventually by themself.
· Provide a balanced diet and limit snacks with sugar.
· Make certain your child gets the proper fluoride needed for decay-resistant teeth. Ask your dentist how this should be done.
· Ask your dentist about dental sealants, a thin protective barrier that shields the chewing surface of back teeth against tooth decay.
· Ask your dentist about mouth guards. They cushion blows that might otherwise cause broken teeth, injuries to the lips and face, and sometimes-even jaw fractures.
Good oral health practices should begin in infancy and continue
throughout adult life. Attitudes and habits established at an early age are critical in maintaining good oral health throughout life.
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years more of specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.
Questions you may ask:
Do I need a referral to see a pediatric dentist? No, pediatric dentistry like the pediatrician is considered primary care so you do not need a referral.
Since a pediatric dentist is a specialist and has 2 to 3 years extra training does it cost more? No, since pediatric dentist are primary care the cost is the same as going to your family dentist.
Baby teeth act as place holders for adult teeth. If baby teeth are lost too early the teeth that are left may move and not leave any room for the adult teeth to come in. Healthy baby teeth make for a beautiful smile. Decay in baby teeth can cause pain and life threatening infection, may affect speech development, and may make eating painful, resulting in poor weight gain.
Tooth decay is caused by certain types of bacteria that live in your mouth. When they stick to the film on your teeth called dental plaque, they can do damage. The bacteria feed on what you eat, especially sugars (including fruit sugars) and cooked starch (bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.). Within about 5 minutes after you eat, or drink, the bacteria begin making acids as they digest your food. Those acids can break into the outer surface of the tooth and melt away some of the minerals. Your spit can balance the acid attack if they don’t happen very often.
However if: 1) your mouth is dry,2) you have a lot of these bacteria, or 3) your snack frequently; and then acid causes loss of tooth minerals. This is the start of tooth decay and leads to cavities.
* Flossing is an essential part of the tooth-cleaning process. It removes food particles and plaque between teeth that brushing misses.
* Flossing should begin when 2 teeth touch, typically between 2 and 2½ years of age. Some children may only need a few back teeth flossed and others may
need flossing between all their tight teeth, depending on dental spacing.
* Children usually need assistance with flossing until they are 8 to 10 years of age.
* Flossing tools, such as pre-threaded flossers or floss holders, may be helpful for children who are just learning how to floss.
* Some children may find it easier to use a loop of floss, which is created by taking a piece of floss about 10 inches long and tying the ends together into a circle. Parents (and older children) can hold the floss tightly between the thumbs and forefingers to floss.