03 Jul Pediatric Dentistry – Facts to Consider
Pediatric dentistry is a branch of dentistry that deals with the examination and management of dental health in children and Pediatric Dentists provide both primary and specialized oral health care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs. Their professional education includes two to three years of specialized study after completing dental school. Did you know babies can catch cavities from their caregivers? In 71 percent of the cases, the mother is the source.
Research indicates that the cavity-causing bacteria known as Streptococcus mutans can be transmitted from mothers to infants even before teeth erupt. The better the mother’s oral health, the less the chance the baby will have problems.
Here are some tips that you can consider for pediatric dentistry:
● Before the teeth erupt, clean the baby’s mouth and gums with a soft cloth or infant toothbrush at bath time.This helps ready the baby for the teeth cleaning to come.
● When the teeth erupt, clean the child’s teeth at least twice a day with a toothbrush designed for small children.
● Take the baby to see a pediatric dentist by the baby’s first birthday. The earlier the visit, the better. It is important to establish a dental home to ensure that the child’s oral health care (or pediatric dentistry) is delivered in a comprehensive, ongoing, accessible, coordinated and family-centered way by the dentist.
● If the baby is placed to sleep with a bottle, use nothing but water. When a child is given a bottle containing sugary liquids such as milk, formula or fruit juice, the teeth are under attack by bacterial acid for extended periods. This can cause cavities in babies called “early childhood caries,” formerly known as baby bottle tooth decay.
● Breast-feeding has been shown to be beneficial for a baby’s health and development. However, if the child prefers to be breast-fed often or for long periods once a tooth appears and other foods/beverages have been introduced into her diet, she is at risk for severe tooth decay. Clean the baby’s mouth with a wet washcloth after breast-feeding, and encourage a bottle with plain water during the nighttime.
● Never dip a pacifier in anything sweet; it can lead to serious tooth decay.
● Even though the baby teeth have not erupted, infants still need fluoride to help developing teeth grow strong. A pediatric dentist will determine the child’s fluoride needs during the initial pediatric dentistry consultation.
● Children older than six months may need a fluoride supplement if their drinking water does not contain the ideal amount of fluoride. Fluoride has been shown to reduce tooth decay by as much as 50 to 70 percent.
● A pediatric dentist will help determine whether the child needs a fluoride supplement and, if so, will prescribe
● The proper amount based upon the child’s age, fluoride levels in her primary source of drinking water, and other dietary sources of fluoride. Fluoride is conveniently available in fluoride drops or in combination with prescription vitamins.
● Sucking on a thumb, finger, or pacifier is normal for infants and young children; most children stop on their own. If a child does not stop by herself, the habit should be discouraged after age three.
● Never dip the pacifier into honey or anything sweet before giving it to a baby.
● Never attach a pacifier to the child’s crib or body with a string, ribbon or cord.
● A pacifier’s shield should be wider than the child’s mouth. Discontinue use if the child can fit the entire pacifier in his mouth.
● Inspect pacifiers frequently for signs of wear or deterioration; discard if the bulb has become sticky, swollen, or cracked.
● Never leave an infant unattended with a pacifier in her mouth, or let her sleep with a pacifier.
● Never substitute a bottle nipple for a pacifier.
The Elite Dental Care offer a full spectrum of oral health services for all children at every stage of their lives from infancy through adolescence including those with special and complex oral health needs and also with special developmental and behavioral care needs.