Kids need to be taught and nurtured into good dental habits from an early age. It is the responsibility of parents and caregivers to instill good dental care practices in children. However, for them to effectively protect and care for their children’s teeth, they need to have access to the right information and expertise. Luckily, dental care providers now have a department fully dedicated to dentistry for kids. This makes it easier to track and monitor a child’s oral health right from infancy all the way to adulthood. Some key facts you should know about children’s dentistry include;
Pediatric dental care focuses on the unique dental needs and problems experienced by children. The dentists providing the service needs to undergo additional training that allows them to attend to the dental need of kids while being mindful of their developmental stages and behaviors. Unlike adults, children may not always co-operate during dental visits. This means that the dentist handling them has to be patient and have the right skills to engage them and make dental visits comfortable. To qualify as a pediatric dentist in Tampa, FL, one needs to complete four years of dental school and at least two additional years of residency training with a focus on dentistry for infants to teens and children with special needs.
It is unfortunate that most kids do not get to see a dentist soon enough. Many parents wait until there is a problem before they can familiarize their children with the dentist. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, you should take your child to the dentist before they turn one or immediately their first tooth appears.
Baby teeth do play a critical role, and it is necessary to take good care of them. The teeth play a role in good nutrition as they help children chew and also play a major role in speech development. They also hold the correct spacing for permanent teeth, meaning they can influence the future of your child’s oral health.
Depending on the age of your child, the first visit may include a full oral exam, that is, the teeth, gums, jaws, bite, and soft tissues. Your dentist will also observe the dental growth and development just to rule out any abnormalities or potential problems. During this visit, you will also be educated on practices you can follow back at home to ensure good oral health at all times.
Good oral hygiene is important and should begin even before your child develops any teeth. For infants without any teeth, the gums need to be regularly cleaned. You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush or a clean cloth to gently wipe the gums. This will ensure they are free from germs and bacteria and at the same time prepares them for brushing.
Once the first tooth appears, you can introduce toothpaste to the cleaning routine. A rice grain-sized amount of toothpaste should do the job with the help of a soft-bristled toothbrush. You can consult your dentist on which type of toothpaste is best for your child. Brushing at this stage should be done twice daily, preferably in the morning and before bedtime.
You can expect to help your child clean their teeth up until they are around 7 years. As they improve their motor and coordination skills, you can allow them more independence and simply offer supervision to make sure they are doing it correctly.
Extended use of the bottle and thumb-sucking are habits that have been proven to negatively impact oral health in kids. Tooth decay as a result of bottle feeding is quite common and affects both a child’s primary and permanent teeth. The American Dental Association recommends that your child begins the transition to a sippy cup from the time they are a year old.
Thumb-sucking is also another habit that needs to be corrected as it could result in misaligned teeth. Primary teeth are fragile, and the excessive force exerted on them while sucking on the thumb can cause them to shift out of place. This misalignment of teeth can cause problems in the future and create the need for orthodontic interventions.