02-07-2012 (Dayton, OH) -
Dental related problems such as tooth decay affect more children in the United States than any other chronic infectious disease. Luckily with good dental habits, 90 percent of it is preventable. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and Dayton Children’s wants to remind parents that healthy dental habits for kids begin in the home.
“When a child is in pain from dental problems, their ability to speak, eat, sleep or concentrate can be negatively affected,” says Gordon Womack, DDS, medical director of pediatric dentistry at The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton.
Teaching your children how to brush at an early age, taking your child to a dentist between 6 months and 1 year, and lessening the use of sippy cups are three of the most important steps in improving a child’s dental health. For very young children, it is recommended that parents brush their child’s gums twice a day with a soft or baby toothbrush and water.
Sic easy tips to prevent tooth decay:
- Talk to your pediatric dentist about your child’s fluoride needs. Infants require fluoride to help developing teeth grow strong, and children who primarily drink bottled water may not be getting the fluoride they need.
- If you must put your child to sleep with a bottle, use nothing but water. Other beverages can damage teeth, leading to cavities.
- The best times for your child to brush are after breakfast and before bed.
- Limit snacking, which can increase a child’s risk of developing cavities.
- Limit candy. Sucking on candy is another way that kids can extend exposure to sugar. Limit sweets and the time it takes for kids to eat them, and make sure children brush afterward.
- Never dip a pacifier into honey or anything sweet before giving it to a baby.
Tooth decay is not the only problem children can have with their teeth or gums while playing. If this happens, the following tips are recommended:
When a baby or toddler injures gums or teeth:
- If there's bleeding, put cold water on a piece of gauze and apply pressure to the site.
- To reduce swelling, offer the child an ice pop to suck.
- Call a dentist. He or she will probably want to see the child to assess the need for realignment or removal of a very loose tooth. If the child is very young, the dentist might recommend a spacer to keep the rest of the teeth in place until the permanent tooth appears.
- Over the following week, watch for signs of an abscess such as fever and swollen, tender gums next to the injury site.
A baby tooth can be chipped or knocked out and does not need to be replaced, but a permanent tooth on the other hand will not grow back. Permanent teeth have the best chance of survival if immediate action is taken 30 minutes after the accident. If a tooth does fall out, take the following actions:
- Collect all the pieces of the tooth.
- Rinse the damaged area of the mouth with warm water.
- Give the child a cold compress to hold on the injured tooth.
- See a dentist right away.
For more information about when our Dr.Mom blogger took her child to the dentist visit, http://blog.childrensdayton.org/yay-no-cavities/.
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