A Preventative Approach to Pediatric Dentistry
Common Oral Health Issues for Children
Just like adults, children can have a range of dental issues. Many of these can appear even before they start to lose their baby teeth, a process that starts around age six. A little prevention goes a long way!
When children eat, bacteria use foodstuffs – particularly sugar – as fuel to colonize tooth enamel. If this process is not disrupted early on, it leads to the development of a thick, sticky film. Ultimately, dental plaque erodes enamel, resulting in cavities.
Cavities should be treated right away even if they occur in teeth that will ultimately be lost. This is because they can lead to painful infection of the tooth. In severe cases, the gums can be damaged. People of all ages rely on healthy gum tissue throughout life! Cavities and gum damage can also begin between teeth, so flossing is essential.
As kids begin to lose teeth, they might face orthodontic issues. Orthodontics is the area of dentistry dealing with proper and healthy alignment of teeth. Only a skilled pediatric dentist can tell you if a child might face orthodontic issues and what treatment may help.
Ways to Prevent These Issues from Occurring
Regular Dental Checkups
Regular dental checkups are crucial to dental health. During a checkup, dental issues can be identified and treated before they become too serious. Pediatric dentistry offers kids a wide range of prevention options to safeguard their teeth.
It’s important that kids start to build a relationship with a trusted local dentist so they understand it is not so scary. Kids who don’t see a dentist regularly or who’ve had negative experiences with the dentist are much more likely to experience dental anxiety as adults. Checkups can pinpoint emerging cavities, gingivitis, alignment issues, and much more. Plus, dentists can advise children on the best way to take care of their teeth as they grow.
With dental sealants, the chewing surfaces of hard-to-reach back teeth can be protected from decay. A specialized coating is spread on these surfaces and becomes hard within minutes. The coating can get into tiny crevices in the teeth that would be very hard to clean. Bacteria cannot penetrate dental sealants, ensuring prevention of future decay. Sealants virtually never need to be replaced, either. However, it’s vital to pursue treatment as early as possible, since teeth with cavities, decay, or restorations cannot accept sealants.
Fluoride is a chemical compound that has the unusual property of bonding naturally with tooth enamel and strengthening it. Because it is safe and effective, it is added to many municipal water supplies. Adults and kids alike should always use toothpaste with fluoride.
At-Home Dental Care (Brushing and Flossing)
Kids need special attention to ensure that they develop positive dental health habits. As kids mature, listen to what they say about brushing their teeth and keep an eye on their brushing. Children might face dental hygiene problems that adults usually don’t. For example, some kids find mint toothpaste unpleasant or painful. Others may have difficulty with conventional floss. For these, it’s easier to use floss on a handle or a water flosser.
Like adults, kids should brush once in the morning and once in the evening for 5-7 minutes, being careful to clean off all tooth surfaces. It is also wise to brush after meals. Ideally, flossing should also happen every evening. If this is too difficult at first, encourage kids to start with flossing at least three times a week.
Start your kids off right with the best in pediatric dentistry: Contact Park View Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics.