It is the responsibility of parents and caregivers to make sure their children have access to quality oral health care and practice good oral hygiene. Here are six questions they often have about their child’s dental health.
According to the American Dental Association, children should see a dentist as soon as the first tooth has emerged or by the first birthday, whichever occurs first.
Many parents express concern about exposing their children to radiation through dental X-rays. Rest assured, the amount of radiation to which your child is exposed during an X-ray is minimal. In addition, precautions will be taken to keep your child safe, such as the use of a thyroid shield. Dental X-rays can identify underlying oral health issues and enable dentists to provide care as soon as possible.
Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens tooth enamel to prevent cavities. It is found in many public drinking water supplies and toothpastes, but your child’s dentist may recommend fluoride treatments to further protect his or her teeth. This is especially likely if your child is not getting fluoride from drinking water.
Thumbsucking is a very common and normal habit for babies and young children, and it is usually not problematic unless it continues for an extended period of time. Fortunately, children usually outgrow the habit before their permanent teeth come in. In some cases, dentists may recommend oral appliances that prevent thumbsucking, protecting your child’s teeth and palate.
There are several ways parents can help their children prevent cavities. Practice excellent oral hygiene by flossing once a day and brushing at least twice a day (young children will need help). Do not let your child go to bed with a bottle, and encourage him or her to drink plenty of water. In addition, feed your child a healthy diet low in sugar.
Choose a pediatric dentist who is located nearby, has extensive experience working with kids, and makes you and your child feel comfortable. As a parent or caregiver, you should always feel free to ask your child’s dentist any question. The more information you have, the better decisions you can make about your child’s health.