Facts About Early Childhood Cavities

pediatric dentistry in Fort WorthParents are advised to start bringing their children for their first dental visit around the age of twelve months. Toddlers have just a few baby teeth, so why the need for such early intervention? Your kid’s dentist has several reasons why these visits should have an early start.

The first dental visit is more an informational exchange with a cursory dental exam for the toddler. The dentist may allow the parent to be present, even having the toddler sit on their parent’s lap for the child’s security and comfort. Over time, the child feels more comfortable in this atmosphere and the sights and sounds are not something they fear.

During this appointment, the dentist gathers information about the child, such as medical problems. The facts dispensed by the dentist provide information the parent needs to offer the utmost in dental care as their child grows. This information includes facts about fluoride needs, how to prevent dental decay, nutritional benefits, and how to stop or break oral habits that might impede the normal eruption of teeth. Decay prevention is not just about permanent teeth. The baby teeth require protection as they provide the basis for permanent teeth.

Parents with children with special needs (both physical and emotional) may be recommended to see someone in the field of pediatric dentistry. A pediatric dentist has undergone two additional years of training specifically in the needs of children. The dentist’s demeanor and even the office décor are geared toward treating youngsters.

The family dentist is certainly a great place to start. During the initial dental visit, parents are educated about dental decay and how it forms. Prevention starts in early stages … putting your baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice can encourage plaque build-up leading to cavities. And keeping baby teeth healthy is critical to the health and formation of permanent teeth.

As baby teeth are lost and permanent teeth start to emerge, the child is totally comfortable seeing the dentist. And with the education gleaned over these earlier years, the child has also learned the importance of keeping their teeth as healthy as possible. Cavities occur from too many sugary snacks and beverages, lack of a proper daily oral hygiene regimen, and infrequent visits to the dentist for a thorough cleaning and dental exam.

Correcting dental decay is unpleasant; prevention is very doable. So call our practice today to get your child in for his or her first appointment!

Are baby teeth really that important to my child?

pediatric dentistry in Fort WorthWhile it is common knowledge that permanent, adult teeth replace baby teeth, many people are unaware how important it is to protect baby teeth with proper oral hygiene and routine professional care. Pediatric dentistry is a dental specialty that provides customized care for younger patients so that they can develop healthy habits at an early age and enjoy proper oral function. Our children’s dentist takes a welcoming, family-friendly approach to treating dental conditions that affect kids.

Why Oral Healthcare is Important During Childhood

Even though baby teeth are ultimately replaced, children are susceptible to oral health conditions like cavities and gum disease that can produce discomfort and affect a child’s ability to enjoy healthy oral function. In recent years, the Center for Disease Control has published studies on the effects that tooth decay has on children and their quality of life. Severe tooth decay can lead to poor performance in school, continuous discomfort, and speech impediments. Tooth decay is an infectious disease that requires professional dental restorations because teeth cannot self-repair. If cavities are not treated, they will only get worse.

In addition to decay, children can develop gum disease. This condition is destructive to oral health as well and can result in a chronic oral infection. Gum disease is most commonly caused by inadequate oral hygiene. If left untreated, gum disease can develop into a systemic disease that affects the health of bone, gums, and teeth.

Gentle Cleanings and Checkups Preserve Oral Health

On top of practicing proper oral hygiene at home, parents should schedule bi-annual cleanings and annual examinations for their children. During cleanings, our team gently removes harmful substances that cause cavities and gum disease while also providing easy-to-understand oral health education. During examinations, our children’s dentist will examine the entire mouth and check for signs of dental conditions as well as developmental abnormalities.

We are proud to provide comprehensive pediatric dentistry to families in our community. Call Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry at 817-569-6633 today to reserve an appointment.

Pacifiers and Your Child’s Oral Health

pediatric dentistry Fort WorthLong debated in pediatric dentistry and amongst other health and dental professionals, the use of a pacifier can have a profound impact on children’s oral development and health. A pacifier is typically a one-piece device that provides non-nutritive sucking for babies as a means of comfort when not nursing or using a bottle.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that families see a children’s dentist as soon as the baby teeth start coming in, and the first checkup should occur by the child’s first birthday. This helps reduce risk of developmental problems involving the teeth and jaw structure by allowing the children’s dentist to catch early signs of possible trouble. The dentist can also instruct parents on proper oral health habits that are appropriate for the child’s age, as well as provide guidance for possible problem-causing behaviors including pacifier use and thumb sucking.

Parents that choose to offer a pacifier should ensure the pacifier is cleaned every time they offer it to a child. The pacifier should not be dipped or coated in anything other than water. Coating the pacifier in a sweet solution can promote the development of bacteria in the mouth, setting the stage for cavities to develop early and causing damage to baby teeth, which can affect the jawbones and adult teeth depending on the severity of the case.

Pacifier use can often lead to thumb sucking behaviors as the child is weaned from the pacifier. The AAPD recommends consulting a children’s dentist about mouthpiece options if the thumb sucking and/or pacifier use continues to age three. This can create problems for the bones and adult teeth as the child continues growing if not addressed early.

For more information on caring for children’s teeth and oral health throughout children’s developmental stages, contact our caring team at Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry today!

How Do Cavities Form?

pediatric dentistry Fort WorthCavities are also known as caries and refer to decay in teeth, usually requiring a filling. Nearly all patients that develop cavities have cavities form in the back teeth long before they form in any front teeth. This is largely due to poor oral hygiene habits such as mindless brushing or insufficient brushing and flossing. Cavities also tend to form faster with poor diet, especially when combined with poor brushing and flossing habits.

It is estimated that only a quarter of the country’s children possess nearly 80-percent of the country’s cavities. Pediatric dentistry specializes in the dental care of children, when developing good oral hygiene habits and a foundation of dental facts can set patients up for a lifetime of success. A common misconception, even in adults, is that milk teeth or baby teeth are unimportant and therefore cavities in baby teeth are just expected and have no impact on future oral health.

In reality, cavities in baby teeth can be prevented with a good diet and careful training for good brushing and flossing habits. Cavities that form in baby teeth can promote the growth of future bacteria in the mouth, setting the stage for cavities to form in adult teeth. These cavities are typically located in the molars or back teeth, areas where brushing habits are usually weakest. Regular visits for cleanings and checkups with a children’s dentist can help teach parents and children proper oral hygiene habits to protect teeth for life.

To understand the formation of cavities, it’s important to know that sugar is not the culprit. Instead, the risk of cavities increases with the consumption of carbohydrate-rich foods and beverages, in conjunction with poor brushing and flossing habits leaving harmful bacteria in the mouth. The mouth contains a variety of bacteria and some can be beneficial. Bacteria feed on sugars from carbohydrates and they produce an acid when they consume the sugars. This acid wears down tooth enamel, leaving the tooth vulnerable to cavities.

In addition to a healthy diet, twice-daily brushing, daily flossing, and the use of a fluoride rinse, visiting a children’s dentist for regular checkups and professional cleanings can help stave off cavities and protect teeth and gums. To learn more about developing good oral hygiene habits in children, preventing cavities, reducing risk of cavities, and other beneficial oral health practices, contact our caring team at Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry today!