WHY SHOULD MY CHILD SEE A PEDIATRIC DENTIST? DON’T BABY TEETH JUST FALL OUT?
Although your child will lose all of his or her baby teeth, the baby molars are not lost typically until the ages of 10 to 12. These teeth are important to hold the space for the permanent teeth to come in. Additionally, the earlier we detect any problems such as cavities or growth and development issues, the easier these problems will be to address and correct. During visits to us, we will also discuss prevention strategies and give recommendations for products that can help support good dental health. More importantly, however, is establishing the belief and habit in your child that dental care is an important part of maintaining good health.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR CHILD’S FIRST EXAM
Meeting You & Your Child
First of all, you are always welcome to join your child at Little Pearls. We truly feel that we are partners in the care of your child and that team work makes the dream work! We will begin the appointment by getting to know you and your child. Regardless or your child’s age, our goal is to make sure your child feels secure. We will address any particular concerns or questions you may have. We will review any previous dental experiences your child may have had. We will then thoroughly evaluate your child’s dental health, growth and development, and review our findings with you.
ORAL HEALTH ROUTINE FOR CHILDREN
Help With Brushing
Kids have a difficult time brushing on their own until around the age of 6, or whenever they are coordinated enough to tie their own shoes. Before then, you’ll need to help them with brushing.
For kids over the age of 3, use a grain of rice sized to pea-sized dab of toothpaste and brush for a total of two minutes at least twice a day, spending 30 seconds on each quadrant of their mouth. As your child grows and begins brushing on his or her own, we recommend supervising him or her to ensure they are using the right amount of toothpaste and brushing properly.
Look Out For Signs Of Decay
Periodically examine your child’s mouth. Surprisingly, children do not usually have discomfort from a cavity until the cavity becomes very large. Cavities on the flat surfaces of teeth frequently start out as white spots on the teeth. Cavities on the chewing surface of the teeth will usually look like dark spots. If you notice these issues, contact us right away for an appointment.
Focus On Good Nutrition
Food that’s good for your child’s body is usually good for his or her teeth, too. Fibrous vegetables like broccoli, whole grains, milk, yogurt, lean meats, and fresh fruits are all great for growing teeth.
You should avoid overly-processed and sugary or starchy foods like chips, cookies, gummy candies, fruit juice, and soda. The bacteria that cause decay love to feed on simple starches and sugar, so these can contribute to the risk of cavities. As a general rule, avoid snacks between meals that contain sugar or are primarily carbohydrates.
Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride is a mineral that helps “remineralize” and strengthen teeth. We do advocate the use of topical fluoride through fluoridated toothpaste. We do not however, advocate the use of fluoridated rinses, since the majority of these include ingredients that we don’t care for such as artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. Although topical fluoride can be helpful in strengthening the teeth, diet choices and hygiene practices are the primary ways to keep kids cavity free.
Regular Dental Appointments
At-home dental care is important for your child’s oral health, but so is a regular visit to LPD. Visiting us every 6 months helps us catch any cavities early and identify any growth and development issues. Catching potential problems early allows us to consider alternatives to traditional dentistry. The regular visits also serve as a way for us to share any additional knowledge we have gained through continuing education.
HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT CHILDREN’S DENTISTRY? FIND ANSWERS HERE.
Pediatric dentists are not the same as “family dentists.” While family dentists treat patients of all ages, pediatric dentists are specially-trained and exclusively treat children, which usually includes patients up to the age of 18. Pediatric dentists must undergo at least 2-3 years of pediatric training after obtaining their dental degree (DMD or DDS).
Through this additional training, doctors learn how to interact with kids, provide care in a friendly, unintimidating way, and catch dental issues early. If you choose a pediatric dentist for your child, you can be sure that they are getting the best possible care tailored to them.
The most common issue, by far, is tooth decay (cavities). 42% of kids between the ages of 2-11 will develop at least one cavity in a baby tooth. Gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, is less common, but can still affect kids if they are not practicing proper oral hygiene habits. Oral developmental problems with baby teeth and adult teeth can also be a concern, so it’s important to see a dentist regularly to make sure your child’s mouth is developing properly.
The best way to protect your child from cavities is proper at-home oral care. Make sure they brush their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes, and floss once per day. You will likely need to floss for your child until they can do it properly on their own. In addition, make sure they maintain a diet low in sugary foods and beverages, and see their pediatric dentist for an appointment every six months.
Your child should get an ortho screening by the age of 7. Even if there are no obvious issues with their oral development, getting an orthodontic screening from a pediatric dentist or orthodontist can ensure that their mouths are developing properly. And, in the case that your dentist notices an issue, they can use interceptive orthodontics (phase 1 orthodontics) to resolve the issue, and potentially reduce the need for orthodontic treatment later in your child’s life.