September 10, 2019
As a parent, there’s nothing you want more than for your child than for them to be healthy and happy. Unfortunately, there are some situations that can simply be out of your control. Cavities in children are one of the most common oral health problems. In fact, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, about one in two children from the ages of six to 11 have cavities. If your child is being affected by tooth decay, it may be a good time to reconsider their oral hygiene routine and try new ways of teaching them how to care for their teeth. Here are a few actions you can take to make sure your child has a beautiful and healthy smile as an adult.
Find a Pediatric Dentist
A great first step to getting your child the dental care they deserve is to find a specialist in your area. Pediatric dentists undergo an additional two to three years of training to learn how to exclusively treat small, developing smiles. Ones that are board-certified also complete rigorous testing to prove their expertise and knowledge.
Unlike general and family dentists, pediatric ones work specifically with infants, toddlers, children, and teens. They’re also able to provide counseling and recommendations for habits that can impact your child’s development and the way their teeth grow in, like thumb-sucking.
Develop an Oral Care Routine
It can be a difficult task to convince children to think of brushing and flossing as a fun and important task instead of a chore. Starting at an early age can get them settled into a morning and nightly oral hygiene routine to help them avoid cavities when they’re older. If you have an infant, you can begin cleaning their mouth after each feeding by running a clean, wet gauze pad or washcloth along their gums.
As soon as their first tooth appears in their mouth, be sure to schedule an appointment with their pediatric dentist. During their first visit, they’ll teach them how to brush and floss, and why it’s important to take care of their pearly whites. This may be just what they need to get excited about maintaining their oral health and warding off kid cavities.
Ask Your Pediatric Dentist About Preventive Treatments
If you’re concerned about your child’s oral health, speak to their pediatric dentist about different preventive treatments they offer. These can help keep problems at bay and ensure that their teeth stay healthy until their permanent ones grow in. Some treatments include:
- Dental Sealants. These are small shields that are painted over your child’s molars to protect them from cavities.
- Fluoride Treatments. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps strengthen enamel and protects your child’s teeth against decay.
- Occlusal Guards for Teeth Grinding. This custom-made oral appliance will protect your child’s mouth from the consequences of nightly grinding and clenching.
As a parent, it’s no surprise that you’d do anything to protect your child’s smile. Even though it’s impossible to completely avoid cavities, by taking these preventive measures you can reduce your little one’s risk of forming oral health problems that interfere with their development.
About the Author
Dr. Marty Killeen is passionate about giving children the tools and knowledge they need to keep their smiles healthy. He strives to make each visit educational, fun, and comfortable, because he knows how important it is for little ones to enjoy visiting the dentist. He completed a pediatric dental specialty residency and attends the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s annual meeting to stay up to date with the latest advancements in his field. For questions or to schedule a checkup and cleaning for your child, visit Wilderness Station Pediatric Dentistry’s website or call 402-420-8020.
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