The newsLINK Group - How to Prevent Your Child's Tooth Decay

Editorial Library Category: General Business | Dental | Pediatric Dentistry Topics: Preventing Child Tooth Decay Title: How to Prevent Your Child’s Tooth Decay Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: If you’ve every had to sit by a child while the dentist fills a cavity, you’ll have no trouble understanding why any pediatric dentist, no matter how skillful at working with children, would much rather that you help the child prevent the cavity in the first place. Editorial: How to Prevent Your Child’s Tooth Decay 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 If you’ve ever had to sit by a child while the dentist fills a cavity, you’ll have no trouble understanding why any pediatric dentist, no matter how skillful at working with children, would much rather that you help the child prevent the cavity in the first place. Prevention is easier, cheaper, and more pleasant for the child: Schedule the first checkup with your pediatric dentist when your child is a year old. Focus on good nutrition with your child. A child is less likely to develop cavities when eating a balanced diet: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, and protein. You don’t have to completely avoid sugary foods and drinks, but you can (and should) limit the amount your child is eating and drinking because the sugar encourages tooth decay. Caring for teeth starts the day you see the first tooth in your baby’s mouth. Use a soft toothbrush or a washcloth and a small amount of toothpaste (aim for the size of a pea). Continue to clean your child’s teeth until the child is old enough to start learning to use a toothbrush; chance is your child will need your help brushing through the toddler stage. As your child grows and becomes more able to care for teeth by brushing, shift your role to a supervisory one. You will want to continue supervising until your child is about six years old. Look for early signs of tooth decay once a month. If you see horizontal spots or lines that are either white or brown, and are located close to the gums, they indicate demineralization, which is one of the first indications of tooth decay. (The minerals protect the teeth, so if they are leached out, the teeth are left unprotected.) If you are nursing your child, by bottle or breast, the spots or lines will usually appear on the inside surface of the upper teeth. Older children with permanent teeth may have the spots or lines on biting surfaces or between the teeth. Make an appointment with your pediatric dentist immediately if you see this evidence of demineralization. Make sure your child is getting the correct amount of fluoride. Unless your child is being treated with therapeutic doses of fluoride, use a fluoride toothpaste and drink fluoridated water. Talk with your pediatric dentist about dental sealants. These plastic coatings go on the chewing surfaces of your child’s permanent molars, which will appear sometime between the ages of six and 12. Dental sealants can protect the teeth by putting a barrier between food particles and the tooth’s surface. Think about using Xylitol. This is a natural sweetener that comes from hardwood trees. It weakens the effect of streptococci mutans, which is the bacteria that causes cavities. If you decide to try this, you want to aim for six grams per day, divided into three doses. The gum needs a minimum concentration of 50% of Xylitol. If your child is old enough to chew gum or suck a candy drop that has Xylitol in it, that’s another method for reducing the bacteria. You can find high-concentration Xylitol products at health food stores and suppliers. Sources: “Pediatric Tooth Decay: Protect Your Child’s Oral and General Health,” by Linda Dyett, article sent to me by Sophie. Word Count: 537 Copyscape Clear Date: 12.15.2014

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