In honor of February’s Pediatric Oral Health Month, Rocky Mountain Pediatric Dentistry would like to share the top three questions that are most frequently asked.
1. When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?
- The American Dental Association (ADA) and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommend taking your child to the dentist by their 1st birthday. Tooth decay can start early, and may even appear as soon as your child’s first tooth comes in.
- An early dental checkup connects your child to a dental home. This “home base” helps you, your child and the dentist to get to know each other through the years. It also helps the dentist to get to know your child’s and family’s needs so they can provide the best care.
- At the first visit, the dentist will show you how to clean your child’s teeth, talk about feeding and oral habits, and recommend dental care products. Finally, the dentist will help ensure your child is getting the correct amount of fluoride, a natural mineral that protects teeth.
2. When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?
- Your child’s teeth should be brushed once the first tooth comes in. After brushing at night, only allow your child to drink water.
- Teaching good oral hygiene habits at a young age can lead to a lifetime of good dental health.
3. Why is my child getting cavities?
- Bacteria: The type of bacteria that causes decay is in everyone’s mouths. Babies get these decay-causing bacteria from their caregivers (parents, grandparents, nanny, etc). Remove the bacteria by brushing and flossing.
- Poor Oral Hygiene: A lack of brushing and/or flossing can lead to cavities. Everybody should brush two times a day for two minutes each time. Flossing should be done at least once per day. Every child is different; however, usually a child needs help brushing at least once a day up to the age of 9. Pay attention to how well your child is brushing. If you feel they are brushing and flossing well, then you may decide to let them do it completely on their own.
- Food: Bacteria uses the sugar (carbohydrates) in foods/drinks and turns it into acid. Each time your child eats or drinks, this acid attack lasts for 20 minutes or longer after eating or drinking. Over time, the enamel gets damaged, tooth decay develops and cavities appear. Children are more likely to get decay if their teeth are in contact with sugar or carbohydrate rich foods frequently. Babies should NOT be put to bed with a bottle in their mouth as the liquid pools around the teeth.
- Dental sealants and professional fluoride treatments are two important ways your dentist can help your child prevent cavities. Dental sealants are a coating that the dentist puts on the grooves of your child’s back teeth to protect them. Your dentist will let you know if these are right for your child.
Tips for a Positive Dental Visit
- Scheduling a morning appointment is recommended because children tend to be rested and cooperative. Don’t schedule during nap time.
- Stay positive about the dentist! Don’t show any anxiety that you may feel about going to the dentist.
- Make your child’s dental visit an enjoyable outing. Don’t use the dental visit as a punishment or threat.
Left Toothbrush: Smear (Rice) size fluoride toothpaste for children under 3 years old, or if child doesn’t spit well
Right Toothbrush: Pea size fluoride toothpaste for children 3 years and older
For more helpful hints about keeping your child’s teeth healthy, visit our website.
At Rocky Mountain Pediatric Dentistry we teach your children the proper way to take care of their teeth and, just as important, they learn that going to the dentist can be fun. The pediatric dentists, Andrea D’Addario, DMD, Janelle Tonn, DDS, and Amanda Zenthoefer, DDS, MSD, practice a full scope of pediatric dentistry services. RMPD has the specialized equipment, facility, and staff to properly address today’s most demanding pediatric dental needs in a warm and caring environment.
Our office has two locations for your convenience:
- Colorado Springs office: 6071 East Woodmen Road, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO. Conveniently located in the North Care building on the St. Francis Medical Center campus
- Monument office: 1415 Cipriani Loop, Monument, CO
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, call: (719) 638-RMPD