Parents should have their child visit a kid-friendly dentist once every four to six months for a check-up visit and cleaning. Additional visits may also be necessary if the child is going through certain treatments or experiences oral health concerns that developed since the last visit.Understanding when to take a child to a kid-friendly dentist…
Why Is Children’s Tooth Care Important?
It is impossible to overstate the importance of children's tooth care. The healthy development of a child’s teeth, gums, and jaw is as important as the development of any other part of their body. Tooth decay is the most common dental issue that affects children.
The importance of children’s tooth care
One- and two-year-olds have a higher risk of decay than children of other ages, so it is essential to start taking good care of your child’s mouth from birth, even when they do not yet have any teeth. They do, you just cannot see them. A child’s teeth are fully formed while they are in the womb, but it takes time for them to erupt.
Tooth decay might seem like a minor dental issue, but it is one of the main causes of dental complications. The early stages of tooth decay are not a big deal since they can be easily reversed, but the latter stages can cause severe damage to a tooth, lead to infection, or cause a tooth to fall out of its socket.
If you are wondering what the big deal about a child’s baby tooth getting decayed and falling out is all about, you should know that baby teeth serve as placeholders for permanent teeth. Baby teeth falling out prematurely significantly increases the risk of the permanent tooth behind it erupting poorly. Dentists typically do everything possible to save baby teeth for this reason.
Poor oral hygiene has been linked to less success later in life, poor social relationships, and poor performance. Proper children’s tooth care can help to prevent many of the dental issues children deal with. It is important to set your child up for a lifetime of excellent dental healthy by taking them for their first dental appointment by their first birthday.
Taking care of your child's mouth
Tooth decay is the top dental problem that affects children, yet it can be easily prevented with good oral hygiene and regular dental appointments. Some of the things parents should do to ensure their children’s mouths are healthy include:
1. Start oral hygiene early on
Parents of infants and toddlers should wipe their child’s mouth with a soft, clean cloth after every feeding session and right before putting them to sleep at night. This reduces the sugars and bacteria in their mouth, protecting them against decay.
Tooth decay is caused by oral bacteria consuming sugars left over from meals in the mouth and excreting acids as a waste product. These acids eat away at teeth, eventually leading to cavities and other structural damage. Reduce the sugars in the mouth and oral bacteria will not have anything to make teeth-damaging acids with.
Once a child’s teeth start to erupt, clean them with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water at least twice a day. Parents should avoid using fluoride toothpaste until the child is at least two.
After a child’s second birthday, parents should start brushing their child’s teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste for at least two minutes twice a day. One of those times should be right before the child goes to bed for the reasons listed above. Parents should start flossing their child’s teeth once daily as soon as the spaces between their teeth can no longer be cleaned with a toothbrush. Teach children good brushing habits early on and it will be part of who they are by the time they are old enough to brush their teeth by themselves.
2. Visit a dentist before their first birthday
The American Academy for Pediatric Dentistry recommends bringing children in for their first dental appointment about six months after their first tooth erupts or before their first birthday. These visits help to familiarize the child with the idea of going to the clinic, while it gives the pediatric dentist a chance to assess the child’s current dental health.
Any existing issues can be pinpointed early and addressed before they impact the child’s development. It also provides an opportunity for parents to pick the brain of a professional on the best ways to protect their child’s oral health.
3. Take advantage of preventative treatments
Pediatric dentists protect children’s mouths with preventative treatments like:
- Dental sealants: This involves using composite resin to coat the biting surfaces of a child’s molars. This prevents bacteria and the acids they make from damaging them. The teeth at the back of the mouth are the most vulnerable to decay since their location makes them harder to properly clean
- Teeth cleanings: Teeth cleaning treatments involve using a scaler to remove tartar and plaque from a child’s teeth. It protects against gum disease and tooth decay
- Fluoride treatments: These are used to strengthen teeth and protect against tooth decay
Start good dental habits early on
Regular visits to a dental clinic go a long way in protecting your child’s teeth and allow for early detection of any existing issues. Call or stop by our Richmond clinic to set up an appointment with our pediatric dentist.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Children’s Tooth Care in Richmond, TX.
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