Category: Spring 2010
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Early dental visits essential to children's health
July 10, 2010
Proper care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help children's teeth last a lifetime. As tooth decay rises, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends beginning good oral health practices with an introductory dental visit before a child's first birthday.
The ADA recommends regular dental check-ups, including a visit to the dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth. Preventive care such as cleanings and if necessary, fluoride treatments, provide children with “smile” insurance. Routine dental exams uncover problems that can be easily treated in the early stages, when damage is minimal.
Baby bottle tooth decay
Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when a child is frequently exposed to sugary liquids such as milk, fruit juice and other sweet liquids. The ADA suggests the following preventive steps:
- Begin oral care early. Wipe the baby's gums with a wet washcloth or a clean gauze pad after each feeding.
- Babies and toddlers should finish their naptime and bedtime bottles before going to bed. Don't allow them to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juices or sweetened liquids, or a pacifier dipped in sugar or honey.
- Encourage children to drink from a cup by their first birthday.
- Don't let children constantly sip on sugary liquids, including milk and juice, from training (sippy) cups. Offer these liquids at mealtimes.
- Help your child develop good eating habits early and choose nutritious snacks.
Any child involved in a recreational activity, such as soccer, hockey, football, roller blading, riding a scooter, and even bicycling should wear a mouth guard. Mouth guards are available in stores, or they can be custom-fit by your dentist.
Sealants are used to protect the chewing surfaces from tooth decay, the single most common chronic childhood disease. Read more in this month's BrushUp about preventing or reducing the incidence of decay with sealants.