Have You Taken Your Child to the Dentist Yet?

Oral health is increasingly becoming an important factor for families. Studies show that taking better care of teeth and gums decreases the chances of getting sick and prevents pain associated with decay and other issues in children.

Years ago, taking kids who hadn’t yet lost their baby teeth to the dentist didn’t seem necessary, but in fact, setting dental hygiene goals and routines from an early age has proven to help children understand the importance so they are more likely keep up with the routine.

But how early is too early? Knowing when to start taking your child to the dentist can go a long way in ensuring they have healthy teeth and gums in life.

When to Start

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a child go to the dentist by age 1 or as the first teeth erupt through the gums. As your child ages, they will begin consuming more solid foods, growing molars and should be checked for any signs of decay. In the past, many would wait until there were cavities or other issues in children before they’d start dental visits. Unfortunately, at that point, it becomes a more stressful situation for the child than a preventive care visit. In fact, the first visit is typically just a meeting to get acquainted with the office, the doctor and the tools they’ll be using in the future.

The First Visit

When your child goes to the dentist for the first time, it’s the perfect time for the dentist to assess their mouth, see if there are any issues and speak with parents about how to start brushing and keeping the mouth clean. Issues such as lisps and grinding may also come up that a dentist can help to address. If there are no issues though, your child will only need to visit the dentist twice a year for routine cleanings and checkups.

Start at Home

Even while your child is still an infant, you can help keep their mouth clean and healthy by wiping their gums with a wet cloth after they eat. You should also create a morning routine with your kids to instill healthy habits. Consider letting them stand with you at the sink to brush their teeth each morning and allow them to mirror your actions so they form rituals for keeping their teeth clean and healthy.

family brushing teeth

At CT Pediatric Dentistry we’re focused on helping children have good oral health. We use kid-friendly methods and work specifically with young children to help them feel at ease during their visit to the dentist.

Contact us today to set up an appointment!

Should You Reward Your Child for Visits to the Dentist?

Two children at the dentist.

Going to the dentist is never a fun task. Even as adults, most of us cringe at the thought of needles and other equipment drilling away inside of our mouths. But it is necessary for dental hygiene and overall health.

As adults, much of our fear about the dentist comes from an idea that we’ll likely feel what’s happening inside our mouths during procedures. With a skilled doctor and advanced medicine however, this is far from accurate.

If your child is worried or anxious about the dentist, you may think that bribing or convincing them to get into the chair with a reward is a good idea. Be careful though about which items you’ll be providing as a reward to promote positive behaviors and form good lifelong habits. Continue reading “Should You Reward Your Child for Visits to the Dentist?”

How to Make Sure Your Child Maintains Healthy Habits Away from Home

Now that the school year has started, children are going to be spending a lot of time with their friends and participating in sports and youth organizations. These activities may sometimes mean that your child will be away from home overnight, or even for several days. He or she could go on sleepovers, on overnight field trips sponsored by a school or youth organization, or to competitions.

When kids are away from home and spending time surrounded by their friends and classmates, they can easily slip out of their normal routine. One common issue is that kids forget to brush and floss their teeth, or they do it less often or for a shorter period of time than what is necessary. Since brushing and flossing are so critical to oral health, that can be problematic. Your child won’t get a cavity if he or she forgets to brush once, but not doing it consistently for a few days, combined with the temptation to eat more candy and sweets than usual, can lead to cavities.

How to Make Sure Your Child Continues to Make Brushing and Flossing a Priority

The best way to make sure your child continues to take care of his or her teeth when away from home is to instill good habits and to have conversations with your child. Make sure he or she understands that brushing and flossing are important to prevent cavities. When your child is home, make sure he or she brushes twice a day and flosses once a day. Supervise your child until you are confident that he or she will do a good job alone.

Before your child goes away, remind him or her of the importance of brushing and flossing. Make sure a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss are packed in your child’s bag or suitcase. When your child comes home, ask if he or she remembered to brush and floss.

Take Your Child to the Dentist for Exams and Cleanings

Even with regular brushing and flossing, kids can still get cavities if all of the plaque is not removed from their teeth. This is why it is important to take your child to a pediatric dentist for exams and cleanings on a regular basis. If your child is due for a dental visit, schedule an appointment at CT Pediatric Dentistry today.

How Hard Candy Can Hurt Your Child’s Teeth

Kids love candy in all its forms. Children and their parents may not realize that some types of candy can do more harm to teeth than others. Hard candy is particularly dangerous to teeth.

Hard Candy Is More Likely to Cause Cavities

When a child sucks on a piece of hard candy, the sugar dissolves over a long period of time. The sugar bathes the teeth, which kids enjoy, but that can be problematic for their teeth. The longer teeth are exposed to sugar, the more acid can form. That means that kids who suck on hard candy have a higher risk of getting cavities than children who chew and swallow candy quickly.

Biting Hard Candy Can Damage Teeth

Another problem with hard candy is the danger of chipping or breaking a tooth. Hard candy is made to be kept in the mouth and allowed to dissolve slowly, but kids often get impatient after a while and decide to bite the candy. That can lead to chipped or cracked teeth, severe pain, and an unplanned trip to the dentist’s office.

Cough Drops and Mints Can Also Cause Problems

While the danger of giving kids hard candy is clear, there are other things that are supposed to help kids but can actually be harmful to them. Cough drops and mints are often filled with sugar to give them a pleasant taste. Like hard candy, cough drops and mints can bathe teeth with sugar when a child sucks on them, increasing the risk of getting cavities. They can also damage teeth if a child bites down.

How to Protect Your Child’s Teeth

It is best to have your child avoid hard candy because of the dangers to teeth. If your child loves hard candy and doesn’t want to give it up, choose sugar-free varieties. Talk to your child about the danger of chewing on hard candy. If your child needs a cough drop or mint, you should also choose sugar-free ones.

Make sure your child brushes after eating candy to remove sugar from the mouth. This can help prevent cavities and the need for fillings. Your child should brush for two minutes twice a day and floss once a day. You should take your child to a pediatric dentist for regular exams and cleanings. If your child is due for a visit to the dentist, schedule an appointment at CT Pediatric Dentistry today.

Parents’ Dental Anxiety Can Affect Children

Routine dental care is essential for children to maintain healthy teeth and gums. In addition to brushing and flossing, kids should see a pediatric dentist for regular exams and cleanings. It is recommended that children begin to see a pediatric dentist by the age of 1.

How Parents’ Fears Influence Children’s Feelings about the Dentist

Children are often nervous and fearful when they encounter new people, places, and experiences. Seeing a dentist for the first time causes anxiety in many children. There are several reasons for this, but one of the most common is the role of parents and their feelings and fears.

Kids learn about the world around them from their parents. If a parent appears calm and relaxed, a child will not be fearful. However, many parents are afraid of the dentist because of their own past negative experiences. Children pick up on that and feel fearful themselves as a result. Even if a child has never seen a dentist before and has no preconceived ideas about what will happen, he or she may become afraid if a parent seems nervous and apprehensive.

How to Help Your Child Feel Safe at the Dentist’s Office

If you are afraid of the dentist or have had negative experiences in the past, it is important not to share those feelings with your child. Doing so could create a needless sense of fear in your child that will make it harder for him or her to receive necessary dental care. Talk to your child about the dentist in a positive way, and never mention shots or pain. Tell your child that the dentist will help him or her have a bright, healthy smile.

If the idea of seeing your child in a dentist’s chair receiving treatment makes you nervous, it is probably better to stay in the waiting room during the appointment. Your child will feel more relaxed if you are not there appearing worried or upset. A pediatric dentist can calm your child and put him or her at ease.

Schedule an Appointment for Your Child at CT Pediatric Dentistry

Whatever you do, don’t skip dental visits because your child is nervous or afraid. Getting regular dental care is critical to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Children need to see a dentist for exams and cleanings starting at a young age. The earlier you start, the better the experience will be for your child. Kids who feel relaxed at the dentist’s office and realize there is nothing to fear look forward to their visits and grow up to have healthy smiles. If your child is due for an exam and cleaning, schedule an appointment at CT Pediatric Dentistry today.

12 Sep 2016 04:27 PM