Keys to Preventive Pediatric Dentistry
There are a few main areas of focus in preventive pediatric dentistry. Formulating good daily oral hygiene practices can be established at home, though some children respond well to having a professional authority figure such as a pediatric dentist provide instructions that are then reinforced by the parent. Regular checkups and teeth cleaning, and fluoride treatments and dental sealants are areas that can be administered for your child at their pediatric dentistry clinic.
Good oral hygiene practices involve everything from twice-daily brushing and flossing to healthy eating habits. The most effective way to establish these practices from an early age is through collaborative efforts between the child’s parents and pediatric dentist from an early age. We recommend a child’s first pediatric dentistry checkup as early as the eruption of his or her first tooth. This is a good opportunity as a parent to become educated about the best at-home practices for daily oral hygiene and begin tooth brushing habits.
Nutrition is also an important part of good oral health. A balanced diet boosts the immune system, which helps guard against oral diseases. Also, sugary and starchy high-carb foods tend to cause oral bacteria that produces acids, which can lead to tooth decay. Making a habit of brushing and flossing after eating these kinds of foods will assist greatly in your child’s long-term oral health.
One of the biggest keys to effective preventive pediatric dentistry is to see your child’s dentist for regular, 6-monthly checkups. A preventive pediatric dentistry evaluation usually involves a thorough exam to not only check for any existing problems, but also to examine for potential future dental health issues that your child may be at increased risk of. Any dental problems found can be treated to prevent further progression of the condition, and measures can be taken as prescribed by the dentist to minimize the chance of any future problems that your child may be at risk of.
Another important part of a regular pediatric dentistry checkup is professional teeth cleaning. During this preventive treatment, your child’s dentist will use specialized dentistry tools to eliminate any cavity-causing plaque and tartar that couldn’t be removed during your child’s routine brushing and flossing.
Fluoride Treatments and Dental Sealants
At your child’s pediatric dentistry appointment, ask the dentist about strengthening and protective treatments to help guard your child’s teeth against tooth decay.
Fluoride treatments increase the strength of your child’s teeth by reinforcing the enamel. This makes it much easier to combat decay-causing bacteria and acid. Another common treatment is dental sealants. The sealant is applied in a thin layer to the deep grooves on the surface of molars and left to harden – a process that normally takes just a couple of minutes. This translucent sealant becomes a powerful barrier between the chewing surface of your child’s molars and her food, minimizing the chances of developing tooth decay and cavities in these most vulnerable areas.
Braces can be painful, unpleasant, and costly. Yet millions of Americans need them each year, not only for aesthetic purposes, but primarily for functional and structural reasons. What if there was a way to prevent or minimize your child’s risk of needing braces in their later years?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children receive their first orthodontic evaluation by age 7, when they first begin transitioning to adult teeth. At this stage, a qualified pediatric dentist or orthodontist can determine if space maintainers can help your child. Space maintainers are specialized dental appliances that are customized for each child to hold the gap in place after the loss of a baby tooth and helps guide the adult tooth to settle in correctly.
Wearing a mouth guard when playing sports helps protect children’s teeth and gums from injury and harm. Generic pharmacy-bought mouth guards are usually made for adults and don’t cater to the growing needs of children (or to the different oral and facial structures of adults either, to be honest – but that’s for another section!). Your pediatric dentistry clinic can fabricate a mouth guard that is customized to the size and shape of your child’s jaw and mouth for ultimate protection and comfort!