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The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states that preventative care should start by the first birthday or six months after the first tooth erupts. We strive to build a positive relationship from the first visit so your child has a healthy attitude about visiting the dentist. Our preventative treatment plan includes dental cleanings and sealants, fluoride treatments, and the services described below.
Instruction on Oral Hygiene
Bacteria naturally present in your child’s mouth can cause a sticky substance known as plaque to form on your child’s teeth. This happens when food remains on the teeth too long. Plaque contains acid that harms the tooth’s enamel and causes cavities, pain, infection, and possible loss of teeth. We recommend the following to prevent tooth decay:
- Avoid putting your baby to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice since this leads to childhood cavities. Water may be okay.
- Teach your child how to brush his or her teeth as soon as the first tooth appears.
- Assist your child with tooth brushing until around age six and don’t allow children under age two to use toothpaste with fluoride.
The Importance of Good Nutrition
A healthy diet is essential for your child’s development and his or her dental health. Foods containing high amounts of sugar, starch, and carbohydrates produce more bacteria in the mouth than other types of food. We encourage you to limit treats and snacking between meals as both increase the risk of tooth decay.
Thumb-Sucking and Other Oral Habits
Using a pacifier and thumb-sucking are common ways for babies to soothe themselves. Unfortunately, these habits can affect proper tooth alignment when they continue past infancy. You can help your child avoid developing habits that are hard to break by offering comfort and praise when he or she feels anxious. A preventive appliance may be necessary for older children who are struggling to break these habits.
Tongue thrusting is another common habit in children. This means your child moves his or her tongue forward while swallowing food. Since this can lead to orthodontic problems later, we may recommend oral therapy or a night guard to eliminate the habit.