How Can a Pediatric Dentist in Austin Help Prevent Cavities?
Children lose their baby teeth, so it’s okay for them to get cavities, right? Unfortunately, this is far from the case! It’s important to prevent cavities in children not only for their comfort but for the health of their gums and the future health of their permanent teeth. In fact, children who have cavities are more likely to develop cavities in their permanent teeth later in life. That’s why it’s so important to work with your neighborhood pediatric dentist in Austin to help prevent and treat cavities in your child.
Your Pediatric Dentist in Austin vs. Childhood Cavities
There are lots of unique challenges kids face when it comes to developing cavities, and it’s up to you and your pediatric dentist to respond to these challenges to support the best oral health of your child. The truth is, kids are more prone to cavities than adults for a few different reasons, even from infancy.
You may have heard the term “baby bottle tooth decay,” which refers to cavities very young children can get from sugary milk residue left on their teeth. This is one reason it’s important for a child to see the dentist as early as their first tooth comes in.
Throughout childhood, your Austin dentist can guide you through overcoming the challenges delicate primary teeth (“baby teeth”) to help protect your child from painful dental procedures and to support their very best oral health for the rest of their lives. Let’s take a look at a few methods pediatric dentists use to fight cavities in kids.
Methods of Preventing Cavities in Kids
Since children face different challenges than adults when it comes to their oral health (and their overall health, for that matter), pediatric dentists have a different toolkit than general dentists. Here are just a few of the ways pediatric dentists commonly fight cavities in children:
AGE-APPROPRIATE DENTAL HYGIENE AND HOME CARE
Childhood is very dynamic! Babies, toddlers, children, and adolescents all have different dental needs. Home care and prevention is the best way to prevent cavities for anybody of any age, but the best practices for that home care vary by age.
For babies, before their first teeth erupt, it’s still important to clean gums with a soft, damp cloth to clear away sugary residue from milk or formula. When teeth do start to come in brushing should start right away, as with flossing as soon as two adjacent teeth erupt.
For children, daily brushing and flossing twice daily are important as their primary teeth develop. Three to six-year-old children require only a smear of toothpaste, while children older than six need an amount about the size of a pea.
As soon as children’s permanent teeth come in, developing good hygiene habits becomes an investment in the teeth they’ll have for the rest of their lives, which means they need to take it seriously! Childhood is an important time to develop these habits like brushing and flossing, and your pediatric dentist is a great resource for encouraging and guiding children to establish good oral hygiene.
You’ve probably heard that fluoride is good for teeth. Fluoride is present in toothpaste, water, and some foods and drinks we consume. For children especially, your pediatric dentist will check to see that your child is getting enough fluoride for good oral health, and supplement if necessary.
For children who are at high risk for cavities, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends fluoride treatments up to every six months from their dentist.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts and those of your kids, cavities happen. More often than not, these cavities develop in tiny crevices and nooks in teeth that are almost impossible to brush, even with great brushing techniques.
A popular solution in pediatric dentistry is sealants, which involve a durable plastic that your dentist coats on teeth with deep crevices to prevent the growth of bacteria in these pits and grooves. They are quick and simple to apply and usually done during a regular dental checkup.
Daily Prevention is the Best Approach
Dentists have some great tools at their disposal to help kids prevent cavities, but daily prevention is still the very best method of keeping children’s smiles healthy. It’s important to remember that every child is different; some may be more sensitive to sugary foods and require cutting back on these kinds of snacks, while others may simply be more prone to cavities and need more rigorous home care.
Your Austin family dentistry practice is your best resource to learn about best practices in daily hygiene as well as tips to improve the health of your kids’ teeth every day. At South Austin Dental Studio, our friendly providers and staff are here to help you and your kids every step of the way. Our family dentistry of South Austin is perfect for the whole family, and we offer exceptional, convenient, and expert services to our communities as we’ve done for over 30 years.