Pediatric Dental Facts
The National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research estimates that children will miss 51 million hours of school each year due to oral health problems and about 12.5 million days of restricted activity every year from pediatric dental symptoms. Because there is such a significant loss in their academic performance, the Surgeon General has made pediatric dental care a high priority.
Recommendations for Parents
We highly encourage the parents of our young patients to teach their children how to practice good dental hygiene. It is recommended the parents introduce proper oral care early in a child’s life – as early as infancy. The American Dental Hygiene Association states that a good oral hygiene routine for children includes:
- Thoroughly cleaning your infant’s gums after each meal with a water-soaked infant cloth. This stimulates the gum tissue and removes food.
- Gently brushing your baby’s erupted teeth with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Teaching your child at age 2 or 3 about proper brushing techniques and later about brushing and gentle flossing until 7 or 8 years old.
- Regular visits with the children’s dentist to check for cavities in the primary teeth and for possible developmental problems.
- Encouraging your child to discuss any fears they may have about dentist visits, but not mentioning words like “pain” or “hurt,” since this may instill the possibility of pain in the child’s thought process.
- Determining if the water supply that serves your home is fluoridated; if not, discussing supplement options with your kid’s dentist or hygienist.
- Asking your hygienist or dentist about sealant applications to protect your child’s teeth-chewing surfaces and about bottle tooth decay, which occurs when teeth are frequently exposed to sugary liquids.