Fluoride is very helpful in preventing tooth decay. Parents often ask me why fluoride is beneficial and where they can get it for their children.
Fluoride is an element that helps prevent tooth decay by remineralizing teeth. Remineralizing teeth is a fancy way of saying that it makes teeth stronger and helps stop or slow early stages of cavities. Fluoride also has some antimicrobial properties as well.
City water is fluoridated to a safe drinking level. Since the start of fluoridation of public water, there has been a drastic drop in dental decay. Simply by drinking tap water, you can lower your chances of getting cavities. Many bottle waters do not contain fluoride.
Most all toothpastes have fluoride. The concentration in toothpaste is about a thousand times stronger than city water. All children can brush with a fluoridated toothpaste, but it is important to make sure that your child is using a safe amount. If your child is brushing and flossing regularly, there is little benefit to adding a fluoride mouthrinse. There are also prescription flouride treatments that are sometimes given to high cavity risk patients. Herrin Pediatric Dentistry will discuss your child’s at home fluoride needs at your dental appointment.
Flouride treatments are also done at cleanings on average once or twice a year. These treatments give the teeth an even higher concentration of fluoride than what is found in toothpaste. If your child has a history of decay or has cavities starting to form, our office may recommend more frequent in office applications of fluoride.
One of the common questions asked by parents when it comes to dental treatment is– Is it necessary to treat decay in a baby tooth with a filling? Many people believe since these teeth are going to be lost eventually, there is no need to restore them and the dentist can just pull them. It is true that the baby tooth will be lost, but there are many reasons for having these teeth restored when a cavity does arise.
1. The baby teeth save space for the permanent teeth. If the baby tooth is lost early, the neighboring teeth may drift causing there to be less space for erupting permanent teeth. The baby tooth acts as a natural space maintainer.
2. If left untreated, your child may begin to have pain from the cavity. Pain typically begins with sensitivity to hots and colds but will later progress into a throbbing, spontaneous pain.
3. Untreated cavities can progress into infections that can cause serious swelling and illness. When the infection becomes too advanced, children sometimes have to be hospitalized to treat the infection. In extreme cases, children have even died from the infection from cavities in baby teeth.
4. Even if there is no pain or obvious infection, the baby tooth may have an abscess forming underneath the roots (which can be seen on digital radiographs). The permanent tooth develops right underneath this infection. This means that a large cavity could go unnoticed by the patient and be causing irreversible harm to the developing permanent tooth.
5. Baby teeth function to allow children to better speak and eat.
These are all important reasons to see your pediatric dentist and receive treatment for cavities even if those cavities are in baby teeth!!
Here are ten easy tips to help improve your child’s dental health.
1. Visit your dentist twice a year for check-ups
2. Brush teeth at least twice a day
3. Brush after eating sweets
4. Use a fluoridated toothpaste
5. Floss teeth daily
6. Avoid high sugar and carbonated beverages
7. Drink more water and milk
8. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables
9. Avoid refined carbohydrates
10. Eat more high calcium foods such as cheese and yogurts
It is common knowledge that every dentist recommends daily flossing, but most people rarely ,if ever, floss. My father used to joke that he flossed his teeth twice a year–when the hygienist cleaned his teeth.
So what’s the point? Why and when do I need to start flossing my child’s teeth? There is no particular age in children when a parent needs to start flossing. The appropriate time is when there are no spaces between the teeth. Once the teeth are in contact, the toothbrush can no longer effectively clean between the teeth. Floss helps break up the food and bacteria that collect between the teeth that can cause cavities and gum disease. Flossing is the best way to reduce the occurrence of cavities between the teeth!
If your child is too young to floss on his or her own, then it is necessary for you to help him or her floss. Our office recommends waxed floss picks to parents that have difficulty flossing in their child’s small mouth. Please don’t avoid flossing on your young child as it is very important for oral health. Baby teeth are very susceptible to getting cavities between the teeth because of the shape of the contacts.
Call our office today to schedule an appointment or ask any questions you may have about flossing. We will be happy to show you flossing tips at your next dental appointment.
When should I take my child to his or her first dental appointment? This is a common question that is asked by parents. Many people say not until age three or later, but the answer according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry is by age one or six months after the eruption of the first tooth.
At first this may seem crazy to bring your child this early to the dentist. However, there are many reasons why this is a good idea.
You may be thinking there is no way that my kid will have a cavity at that early of an age and most likely are correct. Pediatric dentists want to see children well before cavities are formed. The earlier your child can become a patient the better. Our office will help answer questions and give oral hygiene instructions that may help prevent cavities. Research has proven that the earlier the visits, the lower the chances of dental decay.
In addition to the counseling with parents, we also will show how to properly brush and floss by cleaning your child’s teeth and applying a fluoride treatment. Fluoride helps to strengthen the teeth and fight dental decay.
With early visits, your child hopefully will become more at home at the dentist office. If treatment is ever needed in the future, your child will already know our office and ideally feel more comfortable increasing the chances of a less stressful appointment for the patient and parent.
So if you are wondering should I make an appointment, please call our office. We would love to help care for your children. Please don’t fear how my child will behave. Our office is dedicated to solely treating children and looks forward to being your child’s dental home for years to come.
As a special offer to encourage that first dental visit for your child. Our office is offering free exams to children under two years of age. If your child is two years or over, we offer new patient exams for $100. These new patient exams include necessary radiographs, cleaning, exam, and fluoride treatment.