At our pediatric practice, we want to build your child's foundation for a lifetime of healthy teeth. It starts here, but doesn't end once your child graduates form our pediatric practice. That's how we address several stages of your child's health teeth in this life span diagram.
Stages: 0-24 Months
Before your baby's first tooth erupts, clean his or her gums with a damp washcloth after feedings. Cleaning your baby's gums will help keep bacteria levels low and maintain a clean home for his or her new teeth. Some babies experience sore gums and general discomfort when teething. Signs of teething include crankiness, lack of appetite, excessive drooling, restless behavior, pink or red cheeks, coughing, upset stomach, and chewing or sucking on fingers and toys. You can help relieve the pain with teething toys or by giving your baby a cold, wet cloth to suck on.
Once the first tooth erupts, use a soft toothbrush and water to brush your baby's teeth and gums in soft, gentle circles twice a day, and check for any spots or stains. Within six months of your baby getting their first tooth - and no later than your baby's first birthday - he or she should have their first visit to our Board Certified Dentist, Dr. Olga Dolghier. An early dental visit confirms the teeth are growing in healthy, and it also helps to make your child feel comfortable at the dentist.
Stages: 2-6 Years Old
Small changes in dental habits can have big effects in a child's dental health. It is important to begin promoting good oral health at an early age. Ages 2 to 6 are very important years, as the habits you teach your children during these crucial times are the habits they will carry with them into adulthood. These are also the ages that children are most likely to develop painful cavities. Unbeknownst to many parents, cavities are nearly 100% preventable, yet tooth decay remains the leading chronic condition among children.
Risk Factors for Childhood Cavities Include: 1. Siblings with cavities before the age of five, 2. Use of a bottle or sippy cup with milk or juice at nap time of before going to sleep, 3. Excessive sweets, such as juice or sticky foods. 4, Infrequent brushing routine, 5. Insufficient fluoride in water and lack of fluoride supplements, 6. Chalky white spots on teeth.
Dental health tips are as following: By the time your child is two, or by the time he or she can spit, start using a peas sized dab of fluoride toothpaste. Be sure to train your child to spit our the toothpaste and rinse afterward. Help your child brush properly twice daily, until he or she has the motor skills to handle the toothbrush alone. Your child's dentist will be able to spot any areas that may require extra attention when brushing. The dentist will also check for orthodontic problems, clean and polish teeth, apply a fluoride treatment, and maintain a dental history for your child.
Stages: 7-12 Years Old
Now that your child has taken the reigns for their daily dental routine, your supervision is still needed more than ever. Many children in this age group tend to dislike brushing, and may even hoodwink you into thinking they brushed when in fact, they did not. (I know my son likes to get his brush wet and tell me he has brushed... Dr. Olga). Keeping a close eye on their developing oral health habits is a great way to dissuade your children from cheating.
During these year, our Board Certified Pediatric Dentist, Dr. Olga may suggest that your child get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as the teeth come in - before decay attacks the teeth. The first permanent molars - called "6-year molars" - come between the ages of 5 and 7. The second permanent molars - "12-year molars" - come in when a child is between 11 and 14 years old. Dental sealants are an easy, effective preventive measure. Once applied, they last about 10 years, and will need to be checked periodically for chips and wear.
Be mindful about your child's snacking tendencies. Frequent snacking allows sugars to build up in the mouth, increasing the risk of decay. When your child does snack, offer nutritious options like raw veggies, plain yogurt or fresh fruit. Afterward, encourage your child to drink water to rinse away food particles. Teach your child to avoid sticky foods such as chewy candy. Drinks and saliva do not easily wash these foods away. so they have high cavity-causing potential.
Make sure your child is getting the recommended supply of calcium. In addition to building strong bones, calcium helps keep the teeth, gums and jawbones healthy. Milk and other dairy foods are excellent sources of calcium.
Stages: 12 Years Old+
As your child reach this age, you might notice a few quirks in their smile. Gaps in their teeth might be visible and their teeth may no longer be properly aligned. This is a common occurrence as a child's adult set of teeth begins to take root, Luckily, there are many ways to solve a crooked smile. Orthodontia or more commonly known as braces is a treatment for the correction of irregular teeth. Patients who visits an orthodontist may need specialized care that your general dentist might not be trained to provide. Treatment to correct asymmetrical teeth is not unusual in teens due to simple adolescent changes.
If braces are recommended, your child's dental habits are more important than ever. Certain foods such as caramel and popcorn may become restricted due to their sticky and destructive nature. Your child will need your help in practicing good dental hygiene habits every day. Brushing and flossing are paramount for those who have braces because food particles and plaque can easily get trapped in the wires. Regular dental cleanings are a necessary step to a better smile.
Without these healthy habits the time and money spent on braces may be wasted and your child might have to go through the process again. Orthodontics treatment may seem intimidating, but the results are a straight and sparkling smile.
Palm Valley Pediatric Dentistry - Goodyear, Avondale, Surprise - PVPD