Parents magazine noted that for the first time ever, cavities are on the rise among 2-5 year olds, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, even though the overall rate of tooth decay has gradually decreased over the last few decades. Few parents realize that dental decay is really a chronic disease – and it’s more common than any other condition in kids including asthma, diabetes, and obesity.
So, what can you do to keep your children’s teeth healthy?
- Start dental visits at age 1. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Dental Association all recommend scheduling an appointment by your child’s 1st birthday. This first, friendly visit gives the dentist a chance to check for early signs of decay, as well as talk to you about cavity prevention and proper teeth-cleaning techniques. It’s important to note that some adult (general) dentists are not comfortable and/or equipped to see children until age 3, but pediatric dentists begin seeing patients at age 1.
- Consider fluoride varnish treatments. Studies show that toddlers who get this in-office treatment twice a year are four times less likely to have cavities.
- Limit bottles and sippy cups. Sugars in formula, milk, and juice allow cavity causing bacteria to flourish. Limit juices and milk to mealtimes and fill cups or bottles with water throughout the rest of the day.
- Watch out for cavity causing foods. Limit sticky candies and starchy foods like breads, chips, and crackers. Instead try snacks like raw carrots, apple slices and yogurt that can actually reduce sugar in your child’s mouth. Cheeses such as cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, Gouda, and Monterey Jack can also help reduce decay by stimulating the production of saliva.
- Get into a good brushing routine. Kids need to brush their teeth twice a day, just like Mom and Dad. Keep in mind, little ones need help brushing to be sure the job gets done right.
Is it time for your child to visit the dentist?
One question we often hear is, “What is a pediatric dentist?” Just as pediatricians specialize in your child’s medical needs, we specialize in dentistry for children. Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. Pediatric dentists complete an additional 2-3 year residency to receive specific training in treating children’s dental needs.
At Children’s Dentistry of Knoxville, our facility and our equipment is designed with children in mind and our staff LOVES working with kids all day, every day. Most dental offices look like…dental offices. When you come through our front door, you will know right away that this is not your typical dental office. This is a place where kids come first and smiles are always the most important part of every day!