Maintaining healthy teeth and gums all starts with initiating an oral hygiene routine at home. Combine this with preventive dentistry, and you are taking the best possible actions for your dental health and your smile. This is also the case for children, starting at a very young age. Whether their baby teeth are just starting to grow in or the tooth fairy is making its last visit to your house, knowing why preventive dentistry is important at every stage of your child’s life can help prevent excessive problems later on.
What is Preventive Dentistry?
The goal of preventive dentistry is to help maintain a healthy mouth and smile for a lifetime. More specifically, preventive dentistry involves biannual professional cleanings, dental exams, x-rays, and specialized dental care services and treatments (e.g., fluoride treatments and sealants) designed to protect your child’s teeth and gums.
It also includes education provided by your dental team, such as in the most efficient ways to brush and floss. These are all considered to be preventative measures because their goal is to identify and eliminate dental problems before they have a chance to arise.
Why is Preventive Dentistry at a Young Age So Important?
Preventive dentistry at a young age is increasingly important today to help head off potential problems before they can wreak havoc on your child’s teeth and gums. Children can become easily distracted and be less dedicated to dental care. They often like to consume sugary treats and drinks, which can cause numerous dental issues down the road.
Here are a few convincing reasons why preventive dentistry is so important to start at a young age.
- With the help of a pediatric dentist, preventive dentistry can serve to catch any developing issues as early as possible and provide treatment before they have a chance to accelerate. It is much easier to prevent gum disease and tooth decay than it is to have your child go through various treatments later on.
- While preventive dentistry can help keep your children’s teeth free of plaque build-up and ensure their gums are healthy, it can also get them used to visiting a dentist’s office on a regular basis. Becoming comfortable in this way helps to diminish the formation of dental anxiety.
- Taking such precautions can help prevent complications from developing in the body due to poor oral health, including diabetes, respiratory issues, and heart conditions.
- Preventative care can instill in a child the importance of oral health. The earlier a child learns about and practices preventive dentistry, the more likely they are to continue caring for their teeth and gums long into adulthood.
It’s important to also note that although your child’s baby teeth are temporary, they play an essential role in reserving or holding space for the permanent teeth to grow into properly. They also help with speech and eating in those early years. Consider scheduling an appointment prior to your child’s first birthday.
Common Preventive Dental Services for Children
The following are the most common preventive dental services to start at a young age for your children.
Professional Dental Cleanings and Exams
Scheduling regular dental cleanings and exams with your pediatric dentist is crucial to help prevent plaque and tartar build-up and other issues that cause problems down the road, such as cavities. During the dental cleaning and exam, progress of tooth growth is also checked to ensure all is well.
A dental sealant is a translucent material your dentist will coat the teeth with to minimize ongoing risks of tooth decay and cavities. It serves as a shield from food and plaque. Most often, these sealants are applied to molars due to their deep ridges, which can trap bacteria and result in cavities. The procedure often takes two minutes or less for each tooth.
Fluoride is an essential mineral for strengthening teeth and protecting them from acids and bacteria. Topical fluoride treatments, often in the form of a gel, can be applied to the surface of teeth to remineralize tooth enamel which can become lost due to an acidic environment inside the mouth.
Space maintainers are dental devices used to reserve or hold a space where a baby tooth is missing. The need for these is due to the fact that when a tooth is missing, the other teeth begin to shift or drift toward each other to fill the gap. This shifting can cause problems when the permanent teeth start to grow in and lead to overcrowding and other issues. With the positioning of space maintainers, teeth have a better chance in many cases of coming in straighter and more aligned.
Mouth guards are protective devices molded to fit your child’s mouth and protect them from injuries, such as when playing a sport. Your child may also grind their teeth, and these mouth guards can help prevent teeth from wearing down as a result.
Contact South Dayton Smiles to Schedule an Appointment for Your Child
Caring for your child includes looking out for their dental health, and this is where South Dayton Smiles can help. We offer pediatric dentistry services to meet the needs of your child starting at a young age. Contact our office today and get started by scheduling an appointment for your child.