Oral health is one of the best gifts you can give your child. It starts when they are small when just the first tooth buds are emerging. How caregivers approach oral health care with their children determines oral wellness well into the future. Scheduling an in-office dental exam and cleaning can ensure that your child’s oral health is intact now and in the years to come.
Caring for baby teeth is essential because they perform critical functions. Baby teeth promote good nutrition by allowing for proper chewing. They also aid in speech development. Furthermore, they act as spaceholders, guiding the permanent teeth into their proper position.
If your child loses baby teeth early, don’t hesitate to call our office. Space maintainers are sometimes used to serve the function a baby tooth does until the permanent tooth comes in.
One of the best ways you can protect your child during their first year is to follow responsible baby bottle guidelines. Baby bottle tooth decay is a real issue. According to the CDC, “We’re reaching epidemic proportions of a rapid form of tooth decay especially in younger children, often from disadvantaged backgrounds. We’re seeing increases in the rate of what we call early childhood caries (ECC) or what use to be called baby bottle tooth decay.”
In short, baby bottle tooth decay is most commonly found in infants and toddlers when they are put to sleep with a bottle. In addition, it can occur when children are put to sleep nursing, or simply walking around with a sippy cup. Moreover, often children’s teeth aren’t being cleaned as they should.
Parents can help reduce tooth decay by not offering children anything but water in a bottle when put to sleep. Also, take care to notice how long your child has the bottle. Typically, a child can empty a bottle in 5-6 minutes. After this time, the bottle should be removed.
By engaging the services of a dental team early, parents can expect a reduction in the cost of dental care by 50 percent over a five year period.
Along with these money savings, parents that commit to regular dental visits starting when the first tooth appears will significantly educe the number of dental procedures their child will need by staying ahead of decay and other oral issues. In a study performed to evaluate the effect of early treatment on oral health, there were 3.58 more dental procedures performed on late starters, over eight years than on early starters
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a dental home should be instituted no later than 12 months of age to support children and their families with a lifetime of good oral health. A dental home offers guidance and preventive, acute, and comprehensive oral health care so parents can start their children on the right track and keep them there.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that parents schedule their child’s first dental visit when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.
Following these guidelines can save your child from tooth decay and its subsequent problems. Early dental care also sets the stage for a lifetime of better oral wellness.
Involving your dentist in your child’s oral care from infancy on will help you in your goal for healthy teeth for a lifetime. Dr. Botero and her friendly staff at Li’l Sunshine Smiles are here to help guide you and your child to excellent oral wellness. A consultation with our team can help identify what your child needs to keep her oral health where it needs to be. Call us today at 813-576-0200 to make an appointment and to learn more tips for healthy teeth and oral habits.