Did you know that it is recommended to have your child seen by a dentist six months after the first tooth appears or by their first birthday? I’m not sure how I missed that tip in all the parenting books, magazines and online articles I read when I was expecting my first child. I now know what I should have known years ago, thanks to the helpful staff at Fishers Pediatric Dentistry.
My boys were much older when they went to the dentist for the first time. I was shocked to learn that they already had several cavities. If only I would have known that taking my children to the dentist earlier was just as important as well baby checks with my pediatrician. Armed with this information, I could have prevented my boys from having cavities at such a young age.
I wondered what other information I may have missed during all of my new mommy reading, so I decided to visit Fishers Pediatric Dentistry to learn more about cavities in children and pick up tips that I could help pass along to other parents.
Dr. Ana Vazquez and her team have been established in Fishers since 1996. I visited the office on a rainy Wednesday morning, and a tropical oasis welcomed me when I walked in the door. Children of all ages were playing while they waited for their office visits. I wasn’t surprised by the friendly office staff or the brightly colored environment because I had previously heard about the excellent customer service and family-friendly office. However, I was surprised by the in-depth information I learned about pediatric dental care and the cavity process.
Here are some of the pearls of wisdom I learned:
- Did you know that the single most common childhood disease is dental decay? This is why the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry encourages parents to schedule their child’s first dental appointment by their first birthday.
- Cavity-causing bacteria can be transmitted from mothers to infants even before teeth erupt. This bacteria can be passed from parent to child by sharing the same cup or even when you test the temperature of your baby’s food by taking that first bite. As a parent, it’s important to take care of your oral health to help decrease the chances your child will have problems at a young age.
- Clean your infant’s mouth after nursing or feeding a bottle by wiping their gums with a wet washcloth. This helps establish an early dental hygiene routine. Use a soft bristle toothbrush as soon as the first tooth appears and brush every morning and night using a smear of fluoridated toothpaste.
- Never put your child to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. Any sugary liquid like formula, milk or fruit juice causes the teeth to be under attack by bacterial acids. This increases the chance for tooth decay. Bedtime drinks should be water only.
- Moderation is key in helping prevent your child from getting early childhood cavities. Focus less on what they eat and more on HOW OFTEN they eat. A majority of all foods contain sugars and starches that allow the bacteria in the mouth to produce acids. This acid attack can last for 20 minutes or more, creating a ‘cavity mode’ that leads to cavities.
- All types of sugars, from candy to crackers, play a role in causing cavities. It is safer to give that ‘special sugary treat’ with a meal and not as a snack.
- Sipping on a sugary drink throughout the day and making snacks readily available pose a greater risk for creating cavities. Frequency is a key factor for helping your child stay cavity-free.
- Choose healthy snacks between meals such as cheese, yogurt or popcorn. Most importantly, drink water throughout the day and between meals to help rinse the teeth.
- Establish a dental home before a child’s first birthday to help build a positive relationship with the dentist and provide important education about preventing cavities.
Wow, this might explain why cavities were found at my son’s first dentist appointment. Brushing twice a day was our routine, but it was when we first woke up, not after breakfast. I have to admit, chewy snacks and gummy vitamins were also a part of our early habits. It all seems so obvious now, but at the time, I didn’t realize ‘cavity mode’ was so important to avoid. Won’t my future daughter-in-laws be lucky someday that I’m now armed with this great information to share with them about dental health?
Fishers Pediatric Dentistry can help you learn more about pediatric dental care. Schedule an appointment online at http://www.fisherspediatric.com/or by calling 317-598-9898. Dr. Ana and her team will help you establish your child’s dental home and make coming to the dentist a fun experience.