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 significantly prevent tooth decay in any child and save the child from suffering embarrassment.
Pediatric Oral Health Tips
Start early. As soon as the first tooth appears, start with wiping to clean it every day 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 the specific fluoride requirements of your child. At age 2, most children are getting the right amount of fluoride to help prevent cavities if they drink water that contains fluoride and brush their teeth two times daily with a very small amount of toothpaste with fluoride. If the drinking water does 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.
Always supervise your child. Until such time that the child is able to correctly use his/her own toothbrush you should brush your child’s teeth twice a day. 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. And schedule regular dental visits for checkups and cleanings.
Check your child’s mouth 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 your child becomes anxious or panics at the sight of a dentist or just a thought of visiting a dentist office you may consider using a sedation technique in order to relax him/her through the dental procedure.
Consult with the doctor to determine the best method to help reduce your child’s stress level. There are several types of dental sedation methods being used by sedation dentists. They are oral sedatives, nitrous oxide sedation, intravenous (IV) sedation and general anesthesia. All of these methods provide sedation on varying degrees.