I’m sure you frequently hear about the importance of raising cavity-free children, but have you ever wondered why it is so important? After all, when I was young, having cavities was normal. Kids went to the dentist expecting to have their teeth poked, scraped, and drilled for hours.
Boy, how times have changed! Now kids grow up expecting to have healthy teeth. They are rewarded if they visit to the dentist office and leave with an A+ on their dental report card.
I’m not saying that kids today have it easy (that would make me sound old!), but there are a couple of advantages that kids today have that we did not. They grow up with fluoride in the water, which strengthens teeth. Good oral hygiene practices are encouraged and parents have become more proactive in bringing their kids to the dentist.
It is important to understand the basics of dental hygiene so you can help your children grow up with the healthiest teeth possible. I wrote this simple special report to give you a couple quick, helpful tips that you can use to help your child grow up with healthy teeth, and prevent as many dental problems as possible.
Good Oral Hygiene Starts Early
A common question I hear is “When should I bring my child in for his/her first appointment?”
Most dental books say when your child begins to have teeth, but that usually doesn’t work well. I recommend that you bring in your child in when she is three years old. I’ll sit her in the dental chair, let her ride up and down, and lean way back. Then I’ll let her look in her mouth on the big computer screen while we count her teeth. Then we will polish her teeth and paint a special fluoride “vitamin” to prevent cavities.
This makes for a fun and pleasant dental experience that will kick-start a lifetime of dental fitness. Here are a few other tips you can follow to ensure your kids grow up with healthy teeth.
1. Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth with a clean gauze pad the first week the child is brought home from the hospital. Although most babies don’t have any teeth until about six months of age, a daily cleaning in infancy will get your child accustomed to the process and ensure clean and healthy gums when the teeth do come in. By starting early, your baby is more likely to accept cleaning her teeth later when it is necessary to prevent tooth decay.
2. Incorporate a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste into the routine by the time your child reaches 18 months or at the time her first molars come in.
3. Kids need to start visiting the dentist no later than age three and as early as age one. Although baby teeth will eventually fall out, they are very important to your child’s dental development. That is because the muscles of her mouth and jaw form around the foundation laid by her first set of teeth. The dentist can make sure your child’s dental development is proceeding normally with checkups every six months.
4. Many children suck their thumb. It is a natural and satisfying behavior for babies. However, once permanent teeth start coming in, around the age of six, the habit can alter the position of baby’s developing teeth and the dental arches if it continues after his permanent teeth begin to erupt. Fortunately, the damage is usually self-correcting, unless your youngster continues the habit much past the age of six. If you are having trouble getting your child to stop sucking his thumb, your dentist may be able to offer some advice.
5. Make sure your child gets the benefits of the latest in cavity prevention, including fluorides and sealants. If you use bottled water, fluoride supplements are generally prescribed at age three, when all the baby teeth are in.
6. Have your dentist apply a sealant to protect the biting surfaces of the molars. These are generally applied when the six-year molars come in. Sealants are nearly 100 percent effective in preventing cavities on the biting surfaces of molars, the most cavity-prone area of the mouth. They are approximately one-half the cost of a filling.
7. Do not give your child a bottle at night with juice or milk. If your child must have a bottle at bedtime, dilute it with water or use a pacifier.
I am confident once you experience our quick, painless, anxiety-free dentistry at Larrondo Dentistry, you will select our office for all of your dental needs. If you have questions call me at 951-925-6596.
Dr. Jorge E. Larrondo