Every January, my Monroe dental team likes to reflect on the previous year and prioritize things for the coming year. Inevitably, we always end up talking about children’s dentistry.
At Bayou Dental Group, one of our big focuses is giving your children great oral health. We are firm believers that children who have great dental care when they are younger will maintain great dental health for the rest of their lives. Given that the new year has just rolled around, today I want to provide a few facts about your children’s teeth.
Tooth decay is the number one chronic disease in children. Chronic diseases like asthma and the common cold are second to dental decay. You don’t see clinics across the country to help with dental decay like you would with the cold or flu, but dental decay can hurt your child’s oral health.
Almost 80 percent of Americans will have tooth decay by 17. That number continues to grow from ages to 2 to 17. About 25 percent of children between the ages of 2 to 5 have tooth decay. That’s a huge percentage of youngsters in this country. That tells us that young children are not taking proper care of their teeth.
Brush your infant’s gums before they develop teeth. Before your infant begins developing teeth — that often happens at 6 months of age — you can lightly brush your child’s gums with a soft cloth or infant toothbrush. This helps clean the gums, and it gets your child used to having their teeth cleaned.
Bottle-feeding and breast-feeding can lead to tooth decay. Formula and breast milk both contain sugars. Long-term exposure to formula or breast milk can cause tooth decay, which is why you should avoid allowing the baby to sleep with a bottle and develop healthy brushing habits as early as possible.
Beware of pacifiers or thumb-sucking. Babies who suck their thumbs or use pacifiers can suffer from alignment issues. The fingers or pacifiers can cause crooked teeth, gapped teeth, or crowding.
Fluoride can decrease the risk of dental decay. Fluoride is a natural mineral that has been found to decrease the risk of tooth decay or even repair the first signs of tooth decay. Luckily most municipalities include fluoride in the water supply. If you do not have access to fluoride, ask us about fluoride treatments.
These are just a few things to consider this year when you’re planning your child’s dental care. Here’s what you can expect from your child’s first dental visit.
Your child’s first dental visit
I get new parents in my office who have numerous questions about their children’s dental health. They want to know what to expect from their child’s first dental visit or when they should first bring their child to the dentist. The general rule of thumb is to bring your child to a dentist before they are 2 years old, though we like to see children when their first teeth start appearing. It’s important to remember that any tooth can be subject to tooth decay. Baby teeth matter. They help your child eat and speak, and serve as placeholders for the permanent teeth.
During your child’s first visits at Bayou Dental Group, we focus on the experience. Most of our dental team have children of their own and understand how to make your child comfortable in the dental chair. The first few visits of the child’s life will consist of us “counting teeth” and examining the jawbone development. Once more teeth develop, we’ll start with light cleanings. Our dental team is trained to work with children, even when that means restoring teeth that have cavities.
When your child visits our office early in their life, we can help them avoid serious oral health problems down the road. They’ll also be more comfortable with the dentist.
Schedule an Appointment With Us Today
The first of the year is an ideal time for families to schedule their dental appointments. If you have children or a youngster you is developing teeth, we can help oversee their dental care. Call our office today at 318-302-4236 to schedule your dental appointments.