Pediatric dental care is important, there’s no doubt about it, but many people don’t really understand why. After all, baby teeth fall out, so does their health and dental hygiene really matter in the long run? In short, the answer is yes, it matters very much.
For instance, regular dental visits with a dental pediatrician are a crucial part of pediatric dental care and should actually begin as early as a child’s first birthday. A pediatric dental exam can identify any burgeoning problems in a child’s mouth, something that could not only impact their baby teeth but their adult teeth too, as baby teeth effectively act as a placeholder for the adult teeth that are to come. And aside from identifying potential problems, a dentist for children can help to instill proper methods and habits of dental hygiene in your child, something that is hugely important for the health of their teeth for all the years of their life.
And a pediatric dental exam will also be important for identifying any cavities that are in place. While cavities can certainly be prevented the majority of the time, a dentist who has conducted many a pediatric dental exam can tell you that there is a genetic component as well, and that some children are simply more prone to developing cavities than others are. In fact, more than forty percent of all children (forty two percent, to be more exact) have had at least one cavity between the ages of two and eleven, with many having more – and up to forty percent will have had this cavity by the time they reach the age of five or six, about the time that they begin kindergarten.
Cavities happen, but it is hugely important to schedule a pediatric dental exam aside from their biannual check ups if you suspect one in your child. While you might think of a cavity as a relatively minor and benign condition, the typical cavity has been known to cause a great deal of pain – and children who have untreated cavities and poor oral health on a whole are up to three times more likely to miss school days on regular basis, meaning that cavities that go untreated can actually impact the quality of your child’s educational experience.
And though the pediatric dental exam is an important thing and one that should be happening at least twice a year, especially if other pediatric dental services and pediatric dental treatments are necessary, oral hygiene and dental health goes far beyond going in for a pediatric dental exam. In fact, oral care should begin as soon as the first tooth eruption makes itself known, which can be as early as a few months of age and as late as a year.
When that first tooth erupts, it is typically enough to clean it with a damp wash cloth in the same way that you would clean your own teeth. As your child gets older and gets more teeth, you can introduce a toddler sized toothbrush. However, it is very important to only use water or fluoride free (toddler safe to swallow) toothpaste until they surpass at least two years of age, as fluoride is not recommended until that point and can actually cause damage if it is introduced too early. It is also not safe to swallow, and many children don’t understand the concept of spitting out their toothpaste until they are a little bit older.
No matter how diligently you and your child practice thorough dental care, there are always incidents that simply cannot be prevented. Such is the case for many sports injuries, or even just regular playground play. Kids can play rough, and sometimes they pay for it with their teeth. While this is typically not that big of a deal when baby teeth are involved, it is still very important to bring your child in to be looked at in your local pediatric dentist office, just to make sure that nothing is permanently damaged and that your child is not in pain.
Dental care matters, from the pediatric dental exam to preventative care methods for all children.