The short answer is “First visit by first birthday.” That’s the view of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Pediatricians agree. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children who are at risk of early childhood cavities visit a pediatric dentist by age 1.
The idea of such early dental visits is still surprising to many new parents. However, national studies have shown that preschool-aged children are getting more cavities. More than 1 in 4 children in the United States has had at least one cavity by the age of 4. Many kids get cavities as early as age 2.
To prevent early childhood cavities, parents first have to find out their child’s risk of developing cavities. They also need to learn how to manage diet, hygiene and fluoride to prevent problems.
But cavities aren’t all that parents need to learn about their child’s dental health. The age 1 dental visit lets parents discuss: *How to care for an infant’s or toddler’s mouth *Proper use of fluoride *Oral habits, including finger and thumb sucking *Ways to prevent accidents that could damage the face and teeth *Teething and milestones of development *The link between diet and oral health
It’s that time of year again! Our annual Operation Gratitude Program starts Wednesday, November 1st and lasts through the month of November. Help us support our military heroes by selling us your Halloween candy.
•Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.
•Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing their teeth daily.
•For children younger than 3 years, caregivers should begin brushing children’s teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing to ensure that they use the appropriate amount of toothpaste.
•For children 3 to 6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.
Fruit juice offers no nutritional benefit to children under age 1 and should not be included in their diet, according to a new policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics that marks the Academy’s first change in recommendations on fruit juice since 2001.
The policy statement recommendations include:
•Intake of juice should be limited to, at most, 4 ounces daily for toddlers age 1-3. For children age 4-6, fruit juice should be restricted to 4 to 6 ounces daily; and for children ages 7-18, juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces or 1 cup of the recommended 2 to 2 ½ cups of fruit servings per day. •Toddlers should not be given juice from bottles or easily transportable “sippy cups” that allow them to consume juice easily throughout the day. The excessive exposure of the teeth to carbohydrates can lead to tooth decay, as well. Toddlers should not be given juice at bedtime.
•Children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits and be educated about the benefits of the fruit as compared with juice, which lacks dietary fiber and may contribute to excessive weight gain.
•Human milk or infant formula is sufficient for infants, and low-fat/nonfat milk and water are sufficient for older children.
•Consumption of unpasteurized juice products should be strongly discouraged for children of all ages.
•Children who take specific forms of medication should not be given grapefruit juice, which can interfere with the medication’s effectiveness. In addition, fruit juice is not appropriate in the treatment of dehydration or management of diarrhea.
Multivitamins are an excellent way to help children and adults receive nutrients that their diet lacks. For parents of picky eaters, this can be especially helpful. However, not all vitamins are created equally. Chewable, gummy vitamins are often marketed to children but carry risks to your child’s oral health. Here are three ways gummy vitamins affect your child’s oral health.
1. Gummy Vitamins Stick to Your Child’s Teeth
Like gummy candy, particles of gummy vitamins can easily stick to your child’s teeth. Bacteria that causes decay feeds on sugars and food matters left on your teeth. Because they can be harder to clean by brushing, the risk of developing decay increases. If your child takes a gummy multivitamin, encourage them to brush their teeth thoroughly shortly after consuming one. Our dentist also suggests scheduling your child’s next visit to ensure a professional and thorough cleaning.
2. Gummy Vitamins Contain Sugar
Compared to pills and harder, chewable multivitamins, gummy vitamins generally contain more sugar. Ingredients such as gelatin and sucrose are often found in gummy vitamins. Sugar feeds bacteria that can contribute to tooth decay.
3. Don’t Confuse Them For Candy
Candy contributes to tooth decay because the sticky, sweet, sugary contents cling to teeth, promoting decay. Gummy vitamins are similar because they share several key ingredients with gummy candies. It is vitally important that your child never confuses a multivitamin for a candy. Consuming more vitamins than the suggested amount can lead to serious health complications.
Multivitamins can help balance a diet that does not include key nutrients. While gummy vitamins are often a great way for children to be excited to take a vitamin, consider the risks they pose to your child’s oral health. If your child does regularly take a gummy multivitamin, have them brush their teeth after taking one. Taking a vitamin before brushing your teeth prior to bedtime is one way to ensure your child’s teeth remain clean.
We advise you to consult your child’s pediatrician for information regarding which multivitamin supplements are best for your child. Children should receive at least two dental examinations per year, with additional visits needed for those with a high risk of developing decay or other oral health complications.
Little teeth will grow into a big smile. To ensure your child is on track for a lifetime of optimal oral health, it is important to instill good oral hygiene habits early in life. We understand that this can sometimes be a challenge. It’s hard to keep the interest of young children, which can make brushing twice a day for two minutes each time difficult to do. We’ve gathered a few pointers to help you and your child make brushing time a fun experience.
Choose a Cool Toothbrush and Great Tasting Toothpaste
Make your child part of the process by allowing them to select a cool toothbrush. By choosing one with a favorite color or neat character on it, selecting a toothbrush can be fun. When it comes time to choose a toothpaste, pick one that is palatable to your child. Not all children find the mint flavors often used in adult toothpastes to be appealing. Instead, go for one with a taste your child loves.
Timing is Everything
It is essential that your child brushes for a full two minutes, twice each day. Two minutes can feel like a long time. Allow your child to control a timer to better engage them in their brushing. Use a sand timer, egg timer, or even a timing app on your phone. Many children also find it helpful to visually see how long they have been brushing.
Children learn by example. You can set a great example for your child by being a brushing role model. Brush together with your child. This also gives you the opportunity to correct any improper brushing habits they may otherwise do on their own. By brushing together, you are also emphasizing the importance of regular brushing each day. Show your child that proper oral hygiene is important.
For most adults, brushing your teeth is second nature. For young children still learning, it can be challenging or boring. You can help your child prepare for a lifetime of optimal oral health by helping them feel comfortable brushing their teeth properly. Stick to cool toothbrush designs and fun flavors. Also try using a timer, and brushing together to further build good habits. Don’t forget that your child should visit us for regular examinations and professional cleanings.