Preschoolers Need Prevention

Preschoolers Need Prevention

Experts agree that cavities in preschool-aged children are on the rise.

One unfortunate side effect of this is the increasing event of general anesthesia to treat small children’s numerous cavities– sometimes as many as 12 or 16 at a time. This expensive (and riskier) procedure is often the only way health care workers are able to treat cavities in the very young.

So how can patients– and their parents– avoid this costly solution?

Parent-patient partnership

Being a parent of a toddler or preschooler is no easy task! Often, parents report how difficult brushing their 18-mo-old’s teeth can be. Kids don’t understand “prevention,” so the burden falls on the parents to help set their kids up for success.

Preventive dental care is your child’s best bet when it comes to a lifetime of oral health. Studies show that children who experience dental caries in their “baby” or “deciduous” teeth are more likely to have cavities later on– in their permanent teeth.

Parents, you aren’t alone

Your dentist in lakewood, CO, Advanced Family Dental, is here to work with you. Between regular dental visits and daily dental care, we will give your child the healthy start he or she deserves!

To start, follow these simple steps.

Do:

  • Begin brushing with the emergence of your child’s first tooth. This may seem like overkill when Junior only has one snaggling incisor to speak of, but part of this step is simply normalizing the daily care routine for him– and you. Follow the same regular routine each day: once in the morning, once before bed. This early start will come in handy when Junior has a full set and you really need his cooperation.
  • Make your child’s first dental appointment when she cuts her first tooth. The ADA recommends early, regular dental visits following the first tooth for several reasons: it normalizes dental visits for your child, creates a partnership between dental professionals and parents, and provides preventive care to catch small problems– while they’re still small.
  • Encourage your child to drink water. In most areas in the US, water is fluoridated– this helps build tooth enamel and protects against caries. In addition, water rinses small mouths free of food that could feed bacteria.
  • Use a flouride toothpaste.

Don’t.

The following habits can cause cavities for small patients:

  • Frequent snacking. Try to limit eating to meal times and one afternoon snack. Frequent meals, or “grazing,” supply a constant source of food to cavity-causing bacteria in your child’s mouth.
  • Sweet drinks. Set strict limits to sweet drinks and stick to them. Consider giving your child whole fruit, rather than juice, and avoid soft drinks as much as possible. Sweet drinks are a major contributing factor to preschool cavities!
  • Candy. If you allow your child to eat candy, limit the amount and show him or her how to brush afterwards. Really, we should all do this– no matter what our age!
  • Utensil sharing. Studies have shown that cavity-causing bacteria can be introduced into a child’s mouth from a parent. Sharing spoons, forks, or straws are all ways that adults can actually give their children oral bacteria; use separate utensils.

More questions about oral health for your child?

Parenting is tough already– we’re here to help. Please call or schedule an appointment, and let your team at Advanced Family Dental help give your child a jump-start to a lifetime of great oral health!

Photo Credit: debcll via Compfight cc

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