Do you have children? Do you know exactly how to care for their teeth and gums? Do you know when to take them to the dentist? It is important to provide your child with a “dental home”. Dentistry is not just for adults and the entire family should benefit from proper oral health. Fort Myers dentist Drs. Bass and Donovan Dentistry long to ensure that your children and family grow up with the knowledge, comfort, and direction to maintain excellent oral health for the entirety of their lives. We have discussed below many of the frequent issues and concerns that surround pediatric dentistry.
The First Dentist Visit
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists has held the same opinion in regards to this matter for several years. They claim that it should be “First dental visit by first birthday”. At this time, several teeth have erupted (appeared in the oral cavity). This is a great rule of thumb, however, it is important to understand that if your child shows signs of anything that appears out of the ordinary that you take your child in before the first birthday. Subsequent visits will be suggested by your dentist and the timing of those visits are determined in part by your child’s specific risk category.
Brushing the Child’s Teeth
Prior to the eruption of the teeth, a soft cloth towel should be used to wipe the gums daily. This will eliminate any bacterial debris and byproducts that have accumulated. Teeth should be brushed starting right when they erupt. There are several things that need to be taken into consideration. First, a soft bristle brush should be used. The American Dental Association logo and approval should be on toothbrushes and the age range will also be printed on the package. Second, toothpaste should used in the recommended amount and no more. Children under 2 should be given a smear of toothpaste. Children from 2 to 6 should be given a pea sized dab of toothpaste, applied across the brush bristles and not over the entire length of the brush. Toothpaste should also be stored out of the reach of children. Excessive fluoride exposure will cause fluorosis. This is a permanent discoloration of the teeth.
Why Early Dental Care is Important
A “dental home” is an important part of your child’s development. Early visits not only allow the doctor to assess any unhealthy areas but also allows the dentist to recommend proper oral healthcare for the child. Parent education is vital to the development of healthy habits. In addition, early and frequent visits will allow the child to become accustomed to going to the dentist and makes future appointments more enjoyable. Research has shown that most adults experience apprehension at the very least during dental visits. If this is minimized it is much more likely that the child will maintain that relationship upon reaching adulthood.
This Video Illustrates Some Great Dental Tips for Your Children
Why Diet is Important
There is no doubt that there is a genetic component to oral health and the incidence of tooth decay. That being said, the environmental aspects of tooth decay are tremendous. Proper brushing, flossing, and the adherence to specific routines can prevent disease of the teeth and gums. These habits are within patient control. Diet is the other aspect of oral health care that has complicated impacts on the prevalence of disease.
The mouth is full of bacteria. If that surprises you then you should know that the healthy body is also full of bacteria. We rely on much of this for our health. There are species of bacteria, however, that have deleterious effects on our body. The mouth is comprised of a complex ecosystem. When bacteria are given a good meal they will flourish. Bacteria most successfully subside on fermentable carbohydrates. These are sugars and those foods like bread and certain starches that can be processed and turned into fermentable carbohydrates. When the bacteria eat these, their byproducts will cause the acid content in the mouth to rise and the teeth are stripped of minerals. This causes decay.
In a perfect scenario, your child should be given foods that are not cariogenic. This means foods that do not cause dental decay. You can search the internet and find lists of different foods in order of cariogenicity. In addition to the type of food, the consistency also can affect the chance for decay. Sticky foods, especially those that are sugary, will contribute to tooth decay.
Drinks also can contribute to tooth decay. Sugary drinks like juices and drinks with added sugar provide a great source of nutrition for bacteria and provide a fast track to decay. A child should never be put to bed with a bottle or a sipping cup containing anything but water. Drinks containing sugar should never be given after the child’s teeth are brushed.
We want the best for your child’s oral health. We want your children to be our patients and have healthy teeth and gums that last a lifetime.