How can I prepare for my child’s visit?
Schedule your child’s first visit between the arrival of the first tooth and his first birthday.
If possible, schedule a morning appointment when children tend to be rested and cooperative.
Stay positive! Dr. Brown will help to keep your child’s teeth healthy; keep to yourself any anxiety that you might feel about dental visits.
Never bribe your child to go to the dentist or use the visit as a punishment or threat!
If your child is under three, then Dr. Brown will recommend doing a “lap to lap” exam in which the child will be examined while sitting in your lap with you facing Dr. Brown. (See photo)
Try to make your child’s dental visit an enjoyable outing. Teaching your child good oral hygiene habits early can lead to a lifetime of good dental health.
HOW CAN I PREVENT CAVITIES?
Good Diet = Healthy Teeth
Healthy eating habits lead to healthy teeth. Like the rest of the body, the teeth, bones and the soft tissues of the mouth need a well-balanced diet. Children should eat a variety of foods from the five major food groups. Most snacks that children eat can lead to cavity formation. The more frequently a child snacks, the greater the chance for tooth decay. How long food remains in the mouth also plays a role. For example, hard candy and breath mints stay in the mouth a long time, which cause longer acid attacks on tooth enamel. If your child must snack, choose nutritious foods such as vegetables, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese which are healthier and better for children’s teeth.
Good oral hygiene removes bacteria and the left over food particles that combine to create cavities. For infants, use a wet gauze or clean washcloth to wipe the plaque from teeth and gums. Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle filled with anything other than water.
For older children, brush their teeth at least twice a day. Also, watch the number of snacks containing sugar that you give your children. A two minute timer is helpful helping older children reach their brushing goal time.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends six month visits to the pediatric dentist beginning at your child’s first birthday. Routine visits will start your child on a lifetime of good dental health.
Your dentist may also recommend protective sealants or home fluoride treatments for your child. Sealants can be applied to your child’s molars to prevent decay on hard to clean surfaces.
BABY BOTTLE TOOTH DECAY (EARLY CHILDHOOD CARIES)
One serious form of decay among young children is baby bottle tooth decay. This condition is caused by frequent and long exposures of an infant’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar. Among these liquids are milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks.
Putting a baby to bed for a nap or at night with a bottle other than water can cause serious and rapid tooth decay. Sweet liquid pools around the child’s teeth giving plaque bacteria an opportunity to produce acids that attack tooth enamel. If you must give the baby a bottle as a comforter at bedtime, it should contain only water. If your child won’t fall asleep without the bottle and its usual beverage, gradually dilute the bottle’s contents with water over a period of two to three weeks.
After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums and teeth with a damp washcloth or infant toothbrush to remove plaque. The easiest way to do this is to sit down, place the child’s head in your lap or lay the child on a dressing table or the floor. Whatever position you use, be sure you can see into the child’s mouth easily. Crying and resistance is a normal and age appropriate response for infants and toddlers when beginning.
Seal Out Decay
A sealant is a clear or shaded plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces (grooves) of the back teeth (premolars and molars), baby and adult teeth. This sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque and acid, thus protecting the decay-prone areas of the teeth on the chewing surfaces.
Sealants are checked periodically to ensure that they remain intact and are free from ledges. Having your child avoid eating sticky candies, gum, ice and nuts will prolong the life of the sealant.