According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), tooth decay is one of the most common chronic infectious diseases among U.S. children. This is a preventable health problem that begins early. 28% of children aged 2–5 years have already had decay in their primary or baby teeth. By the time they reach 11 years of age, approximately half of children have experienced decay. By the age of 19, tooth decay in permanent teeth affects two-thirds or 68% of adolescents. Low-income children have twice as much untreated decay than children in families with higher incomes. Problems such as pain, dysfunction, underweight, and poor appearance can result greatly reducing a child’s capacity to succeed in the educational environment.
A healthy smile is a good indication of a happy child. Oral health experts are all in agreement that developing healthy smiles in children should start in infancy. CDC experts have promoted a set of pediatric oral health tips that if followed will help to prevent any child from suffering the embarrassment of tooth decay.
Pediatric Oral Health Tips
Start early. As soon as the first tooth appears, start with wiping to clean it daily with a clean, damp cloth. When more teeth come in, switch to a small, soft toothbrush. You can start using toothpaste with fluoride when the child is 2 years old and if your doctor recommends it you can use toothpaste with fluoride even earlier. Do not let a child under the age of 6 use fluoride mouth rinse unless the child’s doctor or dentist recommends it.
Check with your child’s doctor or dentist about your child’s specific fluoride needs. After age 2, most children get the right amount of fluoride to help prevent cavities if they drink water that contains fluoride and brush their teeth twice a day with a very small amount of toothpaste with fluoride. When the composition of the drinking water doest not have enough fluoride parents of children 6 months and older should ask about the need for a fluoride supplement.
It was known that fluoride is an important element for the fight against cavities. But for children younger than 6 years old, swallowing too much fluoride may be detrimental to his/her health. Fluoride can cause white spots to appear in the child’s permanent teeth. Always advise your child to use only a small amount of toothpaste (approximately the size of a pea) and tell your child not to swallow but spit out the toothpaste and rinse thoroughly after brushing.
Supervision. Until your child has the ability to handle a toothbrush you should brush the teeth of your child two times daily. After that you should continue to keep a watchful eye to make sure the child is doing a thorough job and using only a small amount of toothpaste.
As a parent be a good role model to your child by practicing good oral health care habits. Visit the dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.
Always watch for the signs of periodontal disease. Symptoms include bleeding gums, swollen and bright red gums or gums that are receding away from the teeth and bad breath.
Sedation Technique And Sedation Methods
If dentists or the dentist office causes your child anxiety or panic attacks you may consider using a sedation technique in order to relax him/her through the dental procedure.
Ask the doctor which method would be best to help relieve your child’s stress level. There are different types of dental sedation method to choose from. Today there are four such methods used by sedation dentists. They are oral sedatives, nitrous oxide sedation, intravenous (IV) sedation and general anesthesia. All of these methods provide varying degrees of sedation.