Dentists – Sending Your Kids To The Dental Chair

Learning what pediatric dentists recommend will help you make wise decisions about your little one’s oral health. Many parents wonder how to best protect the health of their children’s teeth.

Pediatric dentists are dental practitioners that specialize in caring for children and teenagers. This is a very needed profession, because according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children between the ages of five and 17. If you are a parent, you should learn what these practitioners recommend for you to do to protect your children’s oral health.

First, pay attention to nutrition. You already know that the foods your child eats play a vital role in his or her growth and development, but pediatric dentists warn against too many sugars and starches. When not cleaned off of the teeth properly, these food items can case tooth decay. Do not allow your child to eat any sugary items after brushing his or her teeth, and this includes juice or milk in a cup or bottle at bedtime. If your child must have a drink, choose plain water. Brush your child’s teeth after meals if you can, and if you cannot, give your child a drink at the end of each meal to wash away some of the debris.

Begin brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they appear. You can use a washcloth or soft-bristled brush and plain water for the first year, then switch to a toddler toothpaste. Allow the child to brush his or her teeth when you feel they are old enough and coordinated enough to do so well.

The timing of the first visit to the dentist is also important. Many recommend bringing your child around age one. While the dentist will not be able to do much in the way of cleaning, this first visit provides the opportunity to talk to you about your baby’s teeth and allows your child to become accustomed to visiting the dentist, so it will not be scary when a more thorough checkup is needed.

Around age three, you should plan to have your child’s teeth professionally cleaned at the dental office. If you have been taking your child to the office since age one, this should not be too traumatic. Pediatric dentists have skills to calm children’s fears and make them feel comfortable.

When you visit the dentist, be sure to discuss fluoride. Your child may need fluoride treatments if you do not have water that has fluoride added to it. However, too much fluoride is also harmful, so discuss the options with your dental professional. Do not use toothpaste that has fluoride in it until you are sure your child is old enough to not swallow much of the toothpaste. Ingesting large amounts of fluoride is not recommended.

Flossing is always recommended. If your child will cooperate, you can floss his or her teeth in the early years. Child-sized flossers make it possible for young children to floss their own teeth. Establishing the habit of flossing when it is simple because of the space in a young child’s mouth sets the stage for lifelong healthy oral hygiene habits.

Remember, as a parent, you are the only one who can teach your child healthy dental habits. Think of the things dentists have told you throughout your life, and apply them to your child. The reward will be a pearly white smile to greet you throughout your time parenting your little one.