When should your child first be seen in our office?
According to the new policy statement recommending oral health risk assessments, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends your child be seen for a caries risk assessment and clinical evaluation beginning at the age of six months or when first tooth erupts in the mouth and no later than their first birthday. By getting your child established early it helps to eliminate unwanted dental fears in the future. The Academy also recommends fluoride varnish be applied to the primary teeth every three to six months starting at tooth emergence.
The first baby teeth that come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth. You will usually notice these teeth when your baby is about six to eight months old. Next to follow will be the four upper front teeth and the remainder of your baby’s teeth will appear periodically. They will usually appear in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2 1/2 years old.
At around 2 1/2 years old your child should have all 20 baby teeth.
Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth, but they are also important to chewing, biting, speech and appearance. For this reason, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and good daily oral hygiene.
What should I tell my toddler about the first dental visit?
We are asked this question many times. We suggest you prepare your child the same way you would before their first haircut or trip to the shoe store. Your child’s reaction to his first visit to the dentist may surprise you.
Here Are Some “First Visit” Tips:
- Take your child for a “preview” of the office.
- Read books with them about going to the dentist.
- Review with them what the dentist will be doing at the time of the first visit.
- Speak positively about your own dental experiences.
- Inform child of possible x-rays(pictures) that may be taken of their teeth
During your first visit the dentist will:
- Examine your mouth, teeth and gums
- Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking
- Teach you about cleaning your teeth and gums.
- Possibly take radiographic images (x-rays/”pictures”)
- Make fluoride recommendations for in the office and at home
- Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits
*AAP Recommends Fluoride to Prevent Dental Caries as early out as three to six months (8-25-14)
Dental Caries -or tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children in the U.S., a silent disease that disproportionally affects poor, young and minority populations. In a new clinical report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) “Fluoride Use in Caries Prevention in the Primary Care Setting”, states that fluoride is effective for cavity prevention in children. The following new recommendations were issued: Fluoridated toothpaste is recommended for all children starting at tooth eruption, regardless of caries risk. A smear(the size of a grain of rice) of toothpaste should be used up to age three. After the third birthday, a pea-sized amount may be used. Parents should dispense toothpaste for young children and supervise and assist with brushing. Fluoride varnish is recommended in the primary care dentition starting at tooth emergence. Over the counter fluoride rinse is not recommended for children younger than six years of age due to risk of swallowing higher than recommended levels of fluoride. Fluoride is available in many sources, including food and tap water, and may be administrated at home and professionally applied. Pediatricians should be aware of the risks and benefits of various applications to appropriately advise families to achieve maximum protection against dental caries, and to help counsel patients about proper oral health.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical sub specialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety well being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.
What about preventative care?
Tooth decay and children no longer have to go hand in hand. At our office we are most concerned with all aspects of preventive care. We use the latest in dental sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. This is just one of the ways we will set the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health. Look for dental sealants under treatment tab on our website for further information and a short video.
How Cavities are formed?
Most of the time cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help. The longer it takes your child to chew their food and the longer the residue stays on their teeth, the greater the chances of getting cavities.
Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment can destroy the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities.
Consistency of a person’s saliva also makes a difference; thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. When a person eats diets high in carbohydrates and sugars they tend to have thicker saliva, which in turn allows more of the acid-producing bacteria that can cause cavities.
Tips For Cavity Prevention
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
- Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing.
- Watch what your child drinks.
- Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
- Make treats part of meals.
- Choose nutritious snacks.
Please phone our office with any questions or to schedule your little one to get them started out on the right path to optimal oral health.