Did you know that an estimated 42% of children age 2-11 have had cavities in their baby teeth? And while it’s not uncommon to think that the baby teeth are unimportant, nothing could actually be further from the truth! The baby teeth serve many important functions and also guide the development of the permanent teeth. Not to mention that some baby teeth remain in your child’s mouth until about age 12. Since every child needs a full set of teeth at every age, how can you prevent childhood cavities and help them have a lifetime of healthy smiles? Keep reading to get the top 4 tips from a children’s dentist in Rowlett!
1. Schedule the First Checkup Early On
The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends that parents schedule their child’s first checkup within 6 months of getting their first tooth (and no later than their first birthday).
Although they won’t be getting a cleaning, X-rays or a fluoride treatment, these visits are still important for several reasons:
- Just like a visit to the pediatrician, you’ll be able to make sure everything in your child’s mouth is healthy and developing normally.
- You’ll learn the best way to keep your child’s teeth clean at home – which is crucial for cavity prevention.
- A children’s dentist will also discuss dietary recommendations with you as well as the best way to use fluoride (which strengthens the teeth to prevent tooth decay).
- Also, these early visits are great for helping your child feel comfortable in the dental chair from the start, which sets the stage for them to get the care they need throughout their entire lives.
- Finally, you’ll be able to ask any questions you may have about thumbsucking, pacifiers or other issues related to your child’s oral health.
2. Establish Good Oral Hygiene Habits
A dentist for kids in Rowlett can recommend the best way to brush and floss and also the best oral care products. These tips will be tailored to your child’s needs to help them establish great oral hygiene habits as early as possible.
These habits are essential for helping your child have a healthy smile well into old age.
3. Get Sealants When the Time is Right
When your child’s first permanent back teeth come in (usually around age 6), it’s a good idea to have sealants done to prevent cavities from developing. The chewing surfaces of the molars have many microscopic pits and grooves that collect cavity-causing bacteria.
Unfortunately, the bristles of a toothbrush are too large to reach these areas, so even good brushing habits can’t always prevent cavities from forming. And since these permanent teeth have to last your child’s entire life, it’s well worth it to make every effort to keep them cavity-free!
4. Minimize Sugars
The occasional juice, soda or piece of candy is okay as a treat, but it shouldn’t be part of your child’s everyday diet. Instead, make water and plain milk the main beverages they get.
Also, it’s not only the amount of sugar your child consumes, but the frequency as well. Try to discourage snacking or grazing throughout the day and focus on having 3 meals along with 1 snack each day.
With these 4 tips, you can lower the chances that your child will need to get fillings and other major dental work and increase the chance that they’ll have a healthy smile for life!
About the Author
Dr. Tera Pollock is a children’s dentist in Rowlett who firmly believes in the power of prevention. She and her staff love working with children and helping them lay the foundation of great oral health for a lifetime. If you have any questions, she can be reached via her website or at (972) 475-0301.