In the United States, one out of five children goes without dental care, according to a recent statistic. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 42% of children aged two to 11 have, or have had, cavities in their teeth. Many parents assume that cavities in their child’s baby teeth are nothing to worry about since those teeth will fall out and be replaced by permanent adult teeth. But the reality is that dental decay in baby teeth can negatively affect permanent teeth and lead to future dental problems. For this reason, and others, it is of critical importance to schedule regular appointments for childrens dental services.
During regular well-child visits, a pediatrician will check your child’s teeth and gums to ensure that they are healthy. If the doctor notices any dental problems, such as carries, abscesses, or malformations, they may refer your child to a dentist who specializes in childrens dental services.
As part of a child’s dental checkup, a dentist will check to see whether or not all of the child’s teeth are developing normally and that there are no major dental or orthodontic issues and check for new tooth eruption. A pediatric dentist will also explain the importance of proper dental hygiene and explain how to properly care for the child’s teeth. They also may apply a topical fluoride solution to provide extra protection against cavities. If you live in an area where the water is un-fluoridated, the dentist may prescribe fluoride drops or tablets. However, it is important to note that children younger than age two should not use fluoride toothpaste unless directed to do so by a dentist.
As soon as your child’s first tooth erupts, it is critical that you begin to brush the child’s teeth twice a day. You should use a child sized tooth brush with soft bristles, and with a miniscule amount of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. It is important to clean each tooth thoroughly, including the top, bottom, inside, and outside. At age three you can begin to use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on your child’s teeth. You should continue to brush your child’s teeth until about age six, or until they are capable of doing it themselves each day.