Preventative Care Visits for Children
Take a moment to consider the importance of pediatric dentistry. keep your child’s teeth strong and healthy- even their primary, or “baby” teeth. Dr. Donald Alexander, your trusted general dentist in Jacksonville, recommends that children begin to visit the dentist for routine dental visits around the age of 3. This is approximately when all primary teeth have erupted.
Children younger than three may be seen by special appointment, or for emergency care.
Preventive care visits are an important part of your child’s physical health and well-being at a time when they are growing and establishing routines that can last a lifetime! Keeping your child’s primary teeth healthy is important for many reasons. Early preventive care visits give Dr. Alexander and his staff the opportunity to teach proper brushing and flossing techniques.
Dr. Alexander also takes the time to emphasize the role that a healthy diet can play in reducing tooth decay and keeping teeth strong and healthy for the best quality of life.
Your child’s primary teeth play a role in their speech development and nutrition. Strong, healthy teeth allow a child to eat a wide variety of foods and enable their speech patterns to develop normally. Children who lose these early teeth to decay may have trouble eating a healthy diet.
They may also develop altered speech patterns at a time when they are mastering these skills for future development. These teeth also serve as “place holders” for the permanent teeth, helping to ensure their proper alignment when they come in between the ages of 6 and 12.
Although the incidence of cavities in young patients has been declining in recent years, there has been a slight increase in cavities in pediatric patients. Early visits to the dentist can enable Dr. Alexander to spot cavities in their early phases when conservative treatment can be most effective and serve to keep the tooth strong and healthy. Left untreated, tooth decay in a young patient may eventually lead to the loss of a primary tooth.
Good habits start early. When it comes to children’s dental health, it is important to establish routines early. This should include daily brushing and flossing, combined with regular professional dental cleanings, and routine dental visits.
Dr. Alexander provides dental care for the whole family that is comfortable in a general practice environment.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has made children’s oral health a priority. Early childhood caries (cavities) are the number one chronic disease among children. For this reason, it is important to get your child to the dentist early and continue with a regular routine of visits.
Tooth decay can be prevented with proper care. During the dental cleaning, our hygienist will remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar from the teeth and gums. We can provide fluoride treatments and place sealants, when necessary, to help protect teeth.
Our staff can also make recommendations to parents about at-home care and other important topics such as thumb sucking, orthodontics, and wisdom teeth.
Pediatric Dentistry FAQs
How do you clean a baby’s gums before their teeth emerge?
Before your baby’s primary teeth emerge, you can clean their gums with a damp, clean cloth or damp gauze. Wiping your baby’s gums can remove food debris. Harmful bacteria can feed on sugars and starches left on the gums, leading to gingivitis and gum disease.
How do you clean baby teeth?
When your child’s first primary tooth emerges, you can begin to gently brush their tooth with an infant-sized brush. If your child is under three, use a small amount of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. You can also continue to clean their gums with a clean cloth or gauze.
How often should I brush my baby’s teeth?
Brush your child’s teeth twice a day, and make sure you brush their teeth in the morning before food and before bed.
When can my child begin to brush their own teeth?
Children typically begin to brush their own teeth after the age of six. However, you need to ensure that they are brushing thoroughly enough. You also must ensure that your child is flossing before brushing their teeth. Additionally, it is important that your child spits toothpaste into the sink and does not use too much toothpaste when brushing. Supervise your child while they brush and floss and give them tips to encourage better habits.
How can I help my teething child?
There are multiple tips to help relieve the discomfort babies feel when they are teething:
- Gently massage your child’s gums
- Refrigerate teething rings before giving them to your child
- Cuddle and hold your child
- Rub a chilled spoon on your child’s gums
If your child is over six months and teething, you can give them a healthy, hard food to chew on. For example, you can give them raw fruits and vegetables like carrots or melons.
At what age should my child get dental sealants?
We will recommend dental sealants for patients between the ages of 6 and 14 to protect their molars from cavities. Our office will provide dental sealants following your child’s dental cleaning.
Does Your Child Suffer from Dental Anxiety?
It is not uncommon for children to experience anxiety and fear when visiting the dentist. One of the best ways to combat this fear is to not be anxious yourself. Children learn by example and can detect the emotions and anxiety of their parents or caretakers.
A child’s dental health is important to their overall long-term health. If you have questions about pediatric dentistry or would like to schedule an appointment for your child, contact our family dentist in Jacksonville today.