So, why do you think some children are afraid of the dentist?
For some children, the first visit to the dentist can be very intimidating due to a fear of the unknown. Sometimes, a parent can be nervous about a visit to the dentist based on their past experiences or concerns, and children become apprehensive if they see that their parent is anxious. A pediatric dentist has several years of additional training beyond dental school and has techniques to make the dental office a friendly setting for children. Their offices are geared to the pediatric population with child-friendly themes and decorations to help them feel more comfortable.
Do parents ever do anything that could portray the dentist in a negative light to their kids?
The best thing a parent can do to give their child a positive experience at the dentist is to come to the office with a positive attitude about the visit. Sometimes, because of their previous experiences or concerns, they may discuss their experiences in an unfavorable light. Sometimes, parents, unfortunately, use the dentist as a negative reinforcement to get their child to brush, etc. For example, “Johnny, if you don’t brush, the dentist is going to drill your teeth.” Every parent wants their child to have a great start in life and part of that is setting the stage for a great visit to the dentist by discussing the visit in a positive light. If parents are unsure how to discuss something, they can contact their pediatric dentist for tips on how to prepare for the visit in a child-friendly manner.
What are the biggest contributors to poor oral health in kids?
Dental cavities are the most common chronic disease of childhood — five times more common than asthma. By their eight ht birthday, 60 percent of children have had a cavity. Some of the most common causes of childhood cavities are diet and oral home care. Unfortunately, the common American diet includes frequently eaten snacks or treats that are high in carbohydrates and sugars which can make cavities grow. Your pediatric dentists are very happy to provide recommendations on healthy snacks and treats, as well as great tips on how to care for your child’s teeth and gums.
Do parents ever voice concerns over their child’s oral health?
Every parent wants their child to get the greatest start in life and part of that is good oral health. It’s not uncommon for a parent to be concerned, especially if they have noticed stain or part of a tooth break. Regular visits to a pediatric dentist can help to keep a child in good oral health and if a cavity is present, catch it at an early point when it is easier to treat. My heart goes out to parents who think they have been doing everything correctly only to have a child with extensive cavities. Visits by a child’s first birthday can provide parents with information about proper diet, habits to avoid and oral care tips that can keep their child cavity-free.
Do you find that most parents enforce healthy practices with their kids’ oral health?
I think all parents want the best for their children and are willing to make an effort to keep them cavity-free. It comes down to establishing a dental home with a pediatric dentist by their child’s first birthday, regular preventive visits, offering healthy meal and snack options and developing consistent home care routines. In our practices, we spend a great deal of time educating both parents and children on the best oral health practices. It’s a partnership with parents to identify what is possible and reinforcing positive behaviors in a culturally appropriate manner.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing pediatric oral health?
Dental cavities and ways to prevent them are always top of mind. Although there have been great innovations in materials and preventive products, one of the most promising recent products is silver diamine fluoride (SDF). Silver diamine fluoride is a quick, relatively inexpensive and painless medication that halts the decay process as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. SDF shows great promise with very young children, individuals with special health care needs and the other potentially difficult to treat populations. In the case of a very young child, silver diamine fluoride offers the promise of delaying treatment until they are mature enough to undergo dental treatment in a normal clinic setting. Although not a final fix, it is one more option for parents to discuss with their pediatric dentist.
Fluoride Protects Kids Teeth from the Inside
Fluoride is essential for cavity protection because it hardens tooth enamel and it remineralizes teeth, reversing the natural breakdown process caused by acid. Once your dentist recommends a fluoride toothpaste, usually around age 2, you can start brushing your child's teeth twice a day with a toothpaste that contains this cavity-fighting mineral. The use of topical fluoride (from toothpaste, mouth rinses, and professional in-office treatments) is only one way to prevent tooth decay with this mineral. Swallowed fluoride can also help to strengthen teeth in children up to the age of 16. It enters the bloodstream where it can be used by developing teeth. Drinking water is fluoridated in some communities to help support good oral health. If your drinking water isn't fluoridated, then your dentist may recommend supplements for your child.
having Healthy Kids Teeth Encourages Healthy Adult Teeth
Baby teeth start to fall out around the age of 6 or 7 and are then replaced by the permanent teeth. Even though your child will lose all of his primary teeth, it is still important to take good care of the first set of teeth. Untreated tooth decay in baby teeth can affect the adult teeth that are still under the gum line.
You can ensure that your kid's teeth are healthy and cavity-free into adulthood. Start early with good daily oral hygiene habits and dental visits. Ask your dentist about optimal fluoride use. Your child will be grateful that he has a super parent to protect his smile.
We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions so get an appointment.