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Visit Your Pediatric Dentist Early for Exceptional Teeth

Setting your child’s first appointment before the age of one begins a lifelong pattern of exceptional oral health and overall health as a result.

Obviously we consider visiting a pediatric dentist to be an important, in fact crucial, practice. But how common is it for young children to have dental problems? Or how common of an occurrence is it to encounter children who have never visited a dentist?

According to the recent California Health Interview Survey, these dental problems in young children are far too common.

Much of this begins with a lack of education of how to properly care for your teeth. While every good pediatric dentist focuses on teaching children and making that learning fun, far too many children are never exposed to this learning as discussed in the following article:

9% of California kids have never seen a dentist | Inquirer Global Nation

inquirer.netPALO ALTO, California – Nine percent of children ages 2 to 11 in 2013-14 had never had a dental visit, according to data from the California Health Interview Survey.

The Length of Time Since Last Dental Visit for kids in California survey comes on the heels of the Little Hoover Commission’s scathing report on Denti-Cal, the dental health care program for 13 million low-income Californians.

In over 12 additional counties, at least 10 percent of children hadn’t visited a dentist, including Santa Clara County, Sacramento County and Los Angeles County.

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children ages 6 to 18. Untreated dental problems, such as cavities and gum disease, can affect a child’s health and quality of life by causing pain, nutritional and sleep problems, impaired concentration and increased school absences, as well as lost work hours for parents. 9% of California kids have never seen a dentist | Inquirer Global Nation

Does this study shock you?  We hope it does.  And we hope you understand the value of early visits and early detection of any problems. There has been a trend in recent years towards more education on the importance of taking care of a child’s baby teeth as well as the permanent replacements.  The easy accessibility of online information is contributing to this as well.

Dr. Komaroff, a Harvard Medical School physician and professor, in the following article agrees.  He provides some good insight as to why children’s teeth are susceptible to this early decay and some prevention tips:

Ask Dr. K: Take children’s teeth seriously – The Manchester Journal

DEAR DOCTOR K >> I just took my 4-year-old daughter to the dentist, and she has three cavities! How can I better care for her teeth? And what can I do for my infant son so he doesn’t end up with cavities, too?

DEAR READER >> Our mouths are home to many bacteria. They live there pretty much all of our lives, taking advantage of one convenient fact: When we put food in our mouth, that’s food for bacteria, too. And while we have to work to put food in our mouths, they just sit there. Doesn’t seem fair.

Eating or drinking too many sugary foods, or not properly brushing or flossing our teeth, allows these bacteria to grow too much and make acid that slowly breaks down a tooth’s hard enamel. When that happens, a small pit forms in the tooth — what we call a cavity. Cavities in young children can cause pain, swelling and abnormalities in how the bottom and top teeth come together.

There are simple steps parents can take to help reduce the risk of cavities for their children. Follow these guidelines for infants and toddlers up to the age of 3 years: Ask Dr. K: Take children’s teeth seriously – The Manchester Journal

Dr. Natalie Harrison and Dr. Steven Hogan in their blog on their Houston, Texas dental website agree.  They go further to provide excellent, easy to understand and easy to follow steps to assure your child has good oral health:

Essential Tooth Tips for the Parents of Infants & Toddlers – Dr. Natalie HarrisonDr. Natalie Harrison

More than 40% of children have cavities by the time they reach kindergarten.  In fact, The CDC reports that tooth decay is the most common preventable disease in children and while the cavity rate in children of older age groups has been slowly declining, the rise in cavities among those under 5 is actually increasing. Unfortunately parents often wait too long to begin a routine of oral care and to start caring for emerging teeth.  Here are five essential tips to get your child started on the right path:

Getting into a daily habit of taking care of your child’s mouth as soon as possible will increase the likely-hood that you (and eventually your child) will keep up this healthy practice once teeth appear.

While using a brush isn’t advisable on infant gums and toothpaste isn’t needed before teeth emerge, using a soft wet washcloth gently wiped over gums twice a day is a great way to begin a regular oral routine for your child. This will help to keep bacteria at bay and will also keep your child’s gums healthy.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends establishing a “dental home” by age one or when the first tooth appears, whichever occurs first. A dental home is a practice that you and your child are familiar with and have established a relationship with the dentist. Finding a practice that you trust early in your child’s life will allow the dentist to catch potential issues before they become bigger problems. Essential Tooth Tips for the Parents of Infants & Toddlers – Dr. Natalie HarrisonDr. Natalie Harrison

Finding what the ADA calls a dental home is crucial.  The above article finishes it final paragraph repeating this idea.  We would like to be your child’s dental home.  Bring them in early and as they grow they will associate our offices with fun, learning and where they want to go with any oral problems.

We want to be Your Pediatric Dental Home.  Call us today at (719) 286-9641.


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