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|Dentistry for Kids
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Regular examinations help detect and prevent health issues before they become serious. Twice yearly dental check-ups help catch problems when they are small and easier to treat. Left unattended, small treatable problems become worse and may require more extensive, expensive procedures to repair.
Are cavities in children on the rise? Many people think so. But we are seeing more and more of our younger patients growing up without them.
Why is that? Well, there are a number of factors. Some may be beyond a parent's control and others involve lifestyle choices and habits that can be changed through increased awareness and education.
If your child has already had a cavity, chances are that more will occur. That's because there are probably conditions that allow them to develop. But if you are vigilant, you might be able to avoid a cavity. For instance, a white spot along the gum line can be an indicator that a cavity is forming. We can often help avoid further decay in such cases -through a combined therapy such as fluoride, mouth rinses and changes in eating habits- if we see the patient soon enough.
Regular checkups for infants and toddlers allow us to talk about appropriate diet management. Talking directly with older children gives us the chance to find out about their dental behavior and offer suggestions and advice.
Mouthguards and Sports Guards
Your mother may have said it and it's still true: once you've gotten your adult teeth, you don't get any more. So take good care of them.
Kids don't think about the lifetime of oral health issues they could incur by not using adequate mouth and facial protection while playing in sports. So, we have to do their thinking for them: coaches, parents, league organizers, schools, and recreation programs. A chief aim of National Facial Protection Month is to raise awareness nationwide to the need for sport safety.
The AAO indicates that 80% of all sports-related emergency room visits occur in children ages 5 to 14. Don't let your child become part of that statistic. If worn properly and routinely, inexpensive mouth guards, helmets, protective eyewear, and face shields greatly reduce the risk of injury.
Sealants are generally used to help prevent tooth decay on the biting surfaces of back teeth (molars). The natural grooves of these teeth can trap food that can resist casual brushing and rinsing. If left in place, the trapped food allows bacteria to multiply, eventually causing tooth decay and requiring costly attention.
Sealants offer a cost-effective, preventive step to reduce the chances of tooth decay on the chewing surfaces of molars. However, they do not replace the need for regular brushing and flossing.
We encourage you to pay attention to the type of toothpaste you give small children. Levels of fluoride and other agents vary from product to product.
A pea-sized amount is recommended for children under six years of age but read the fine print on the tube for recommendations. You should also keep it out of reach; kids are sometimes tempted to eat toothpaste.
Fluoride is helpful in preventing dental caries but too much can cause defects in the enamel or even more serious conditions. Check with us if you'd like more guidelines and recommendations.
A baby's natural reflex is to suck. Sucking a thumb or finger can help young children learn about their surroundings, feel secure, relax and fall asleep.
Parents sometimes start to worry if the practice continues, though, especially once permanent teeth appear. Thumb sucking or pacifier sucking, if particularly vigorous, can affect the proper growth and alignment of teeth and cause other unwelcome changes.
Most children stop the practice between ages two to four. Simple first measures to discourage the continued practice include putting a sock over the hand at night, or gently encouraging your child by using praise when the behavior is not occurring. If your child's baby teeth appear to be affected by thumb sucking, call our office.