Pediatric dentists attend three years of training after dental school to learn how to care for the teeth of children. When dental issues are diagnosed early, there is a better chance that they can be treated before they become major problems in adulthood. Preventative dentistry is the beginning of life-long healthy teeth and gums.
The Importance of Preventative Dentistry for Children
The American Dental Association recommends that children visit the dentist for the first time when they reach their first birthday. Parents may think that since baby teeth will be lost anyway, there is no need to have them examined by a dentist unless there is serious decay. This is not a healthy opinion and could lead to long-term dental problems. Preventative dentistry from a young age is the best option. Pediatric dentists learn to communicate with children in order to help them relax and be comfortable when they visit the dentist’s office as well as to teach them how to brush and floss properly.
Parents may also need to learn how they can help at home to prevent tooth decay. Some tips may include not allowing infants to sleep after drinking milk or juice from a bottle or nursing. The sugars in these liquids will work to weaken the tooth enamel, and if it happens every night, the teeth will start to decay.
How to Prevent Tooth Decay in Children
Parents can also help prevent tooth decay by limiting sugary snacks and beverages in toddlers and older children. Milk or water is healthier for the teeth than sugary sodas and juice. Even chocolate milk is better. Sticky food and gum with sugar may remain in the small spaces for hours. The best alternative is fresh fruit, nuts, cheese, crispy veggies, crackers, popcorn and boiled eggs. These foods are also better for your child’s overall health.
Even if your child eats sugary food at times, effective brushing and flossing can keep the teeth and gums healthy.
Our specialist will show you preventative dentistry techniques such as how to brush and care for your child’s teeth before he or she can do it alone. This may start with a gentle rubbing with a soft cloth and warm water for an infant. You may need to help your child brush and floss until he or she is seven years old. These good habits may be continued throughout the child’s lifetime.
The Best Treatment is Prevention
Tooth decay is the number one problem for young children’s teeth. Preventative dentistry is the best treatment. There are also some things our dentist can do to help. Fluoride treatments may strengthen your child’s teeth, and if they are prone to decay, dental sealants may offer protection from the acids that cause decay.
Accidents and injuries are other possibilities for damaging children’s teeth. Our dentist can help by fitting an athletic mouth guard to protect the teeth and possibly even reduce the severity of a concussion. Some of the sports that are best played with a mouth guard are football, basketball, boxing, cycling and gymnastics.
Preventative dentistry is the one thing a parent can do to help their child have healthy teeth and gums throughout life. We proudly offer preventative care for children among our many services at Distinctive Laser Dentistry in Saint Louis Park. Contact us today to schedule your child’s first appointment.