It is important to recognize children’s dental health in order to call attention to an often overlooked aspect of oral health: child dental disease. Children are among the most vulnerable groups to tooth decay and is considered to be more common than other chronic conditions like asthma. Children are also more likely to develop gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Considering that developing mouths are incredibly important to ensuring long-term oral health into adulthood, Dr. Canatella, Dr. Neumeyer and the team members take this issue very seriously.
To promote awareness of this topic and help parents protect their child’s dental health for many years to come, our office wanted to highlight the importance of scheduling routine dental visits at a young age, not just when a problem appears. We’d also like to discuss helpful at-home care tips that every parent should know and how a family dentist is particularly equipped to manage child dental care in a calm and comforting environment.
When you’re making sure that your child is staying active or eating right, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do the same when it comes to their oral health.
THE IMPORTANCE OF STARTING APPOINTMENTS EARLY
Whether your child’s teeth have begun erupting or not, it’s important that you bring them in for their first dental visit by the time they reach the age of one. Furthermore, if your child’s teeth have begun appearing, they should see the dentist within six months of that tooth erupting. One of the main reasons for this is because baby teeth are just as capable of developing decay as permanent teeth.
The last thing you want is for your child’s teeth to fall out prematurely and cause their permanent teeth to erupt before they’ve fully developed.
But early dental visits don’t just give us the chance to examine your child’s current teeth. They also allow us to confirm other aspects about their oral health, including the condition of their gum tissue, tongue, bite and habits that could be negatively influencing their development. Common issues like tongue thrusting, thumb sucking, and baby bottle tooth decay are just a few of these habits we can catch early when you bring them in at a young age.
HAVE ANY QUESTIONS?
WHAT TIPS SHOULD YOU PRACTICE AT HOME?
While it’s true that routine dental appointments are incredibly important, a majority of your child’s oral care is going to be performed at home.
To protect your child’s oral health and perform the most effective care possible, consider the following tips as recommended by our office.
Babies are born without the bacteria that causes cavities, which means that the only way they can develop tooth decay is if bacteria from your own mouth is transferred to theirs.
Avoid sharing utensils with your child, as well as kissing them on the lips or wetting their pacifier with your mouth before handing it to them for use.
Do not let your child use a baby bottle while they rest in their crib (unless you decide to exclusively put plain water, milk or formula inside the bottle.) Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when children are exposing their teeth to juice or other sugary drinks for long periods of time.
Only use a smear of toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice when brushing their teeth up until the age of three. Between three and six years of age, increase the amount of toothpaste to a pea-sized amount. This will be the standard amount to use going forward.
HOW A FAMILY DENTIST CAN MAKE VISITS EASY
Unlike traditional dentists, family dentists put an emphasis on comfort and a wide variety of treatments. When your child visits, whether it’s for the first time or tenth, you can expect an environment that makes them want to be there. Our dentists and team members are experienced with patients of all ages, which means they have the patience necessary to help children get the care they need.
Furthermore, family dentists are more convenient for families because they’re more capable of seeing multiple family members in a single visit. This saves you valuable time spent on scheduling future visits.
From all of us at Canatella Dental, we hope you schedule your child’s dental visits at an early age. Doing so now improves the chances that they’ll take better care of their oral health into adulthood. Until then, we hope to see you and your family soon!