During February, National Children’s Dental Health month, the AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) president often comes fourth with tips and advice for having children maintain cavity-free visits. This year was no exception and we’d like to share their highlights, plus our own important reminders, with parents.
Park View's Point of View
At Park View Pediatric Dentistry, we make it our mission to stay ahead of all of the latest advances in pediatric dentistry and incorporate them into our practice.
Our goal here is to always report cavity-free visits and educate our parents and young patients on the necessary steps needed to create a lifetime of healthy smiles. We enjoyed hearing from the AAPD this February for National Children’s Dental Health Month, and no matter how many times we promote cavity-prevention, we must remember that it is not a once in a while routine, but an ongoing lifestyle.
Here are some “must-do” steps and tips for having your child proudly walk out of the dentist office with a “no cavity” report.
Start dental visits by the first birthday
Many parents still wait until their child is 2 or 3 years old for the first dental visit and that is too late, as some may already have cavities that have been untreated. We have seen cases where toddlers come in for the first time with a mouth full of cavities and need to be treated with sedation. The earlier the parent brings in the child, the sooner the parent can understand all of the proper preventative measures to take. Many parents don’t realize that as soon as your teething baby’s tooth comes in, it is subject to getting a cavity. Also the earlier a child comes in, the less likely dental visits will be a source of stress and more of a normal, positive routine. Once your child goes to the dentist for their initial visit, it is important to return every six months for a cleaning and checkup.
Baby teeth matter
Many parents have the attitude that baby teeth are going to fall out eventually and don’t place that much importance on diligent brushing and flossing. Dr. Edward Moody, current president of the AAPD says, “What parents don’t realize about baby teeth is that the first ones come in around 6 to 9 months and don’t come out until about 6 or 7 years of age. The teeth that come in at 2 or 3 years of age don’t come out sometimes until 12 or 13. A small cavity at age 3 or 4 will get bigger. The cavity is an infection, and it’s going to get worse. The tooth starts to hurt. The infection can get all the way into the nerve, the nerve could die, and the tooth could abscess.”
Parents should lead the way when it comes to brushing and flossing
Brushing and flossing keep tooth decay away. Since most young children do not have the proper motor skills to do an adequate brushing job, parents should brush their children’s teeth for them until age six or seven, depending on their motor skill development. The AAPD recommends the 2 x 2 formula—brushing two times a day, for two minutes. Parents should also floss young teeth as soon as the first two teeth touch with dental floss or kid-friendly floss picks.
Diet makes a difference
There’s no getting around the fact that diets containing sugary snacks or soda contribute to tooth decay. Many parents often make the mistake of putting fruit juice in their baby’s bottles, which contributes to “Nursing Bottle Syndrome”, a mouth full of early decayed teeth. At Park View Pediatric Dentistry, we promote hydrating with water and offer nutritional advice and recommendations for healthy snacks, like popcorn, vegetable sticks and fresh fruit.
We’re here for you
If you have not made a choice yet for you baby’s pediatric dentist, we’d be happy to meet with you for a consultation. Children love our warm caring all-female staff, subway–themed office, activity-filled waiting room, goody bags and more!
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Park View Pediatric Dentistry