Updated: Oct 31, 2019
As a professional Corpus Christi Dentist office, Gonzalez Family Dentistry can treat children for routine exams and cleanings as well as other preventative dental health measures. It is important to get your children into a dentist office as soon as you can after the age of 1 or after about 6 months from the first tooth appearing. Though Gonzalez Family Dentistry is not specifically a pediatric dentist, routine exams and problems can be dealt with. If there are more complicated issues with your child's oral health, Dr. Gonzalez can set you up with the correct route to take in order to get any problem resolved by a specialist.
Gonzalez Family Dentistry is also a Corpus Christi Dentist who can treat dental patients for a variety of other preventative and corrective dental issues such as routine exams and cleaning, impacted teeth, braces and invisalign advice and steps to take, fillings, veeners, extractions and dentures. Please fill out our form on the bottom of the page here.
About Dental Care for Children
Having healthy teeth is very important to children´s overall health. These structures help kids nourish and communicate. Strong dental care helps develop good oral habits as children grow. However, poor dental care can lead to complications that include infections, disease, or other teeth problems.
When should dental care start for children?
Dental hygiene should begin when the child is still a baby by using a soft child-size toothbrush until the age of 6 or 7. At this age, teeth should be brushed with water or toothpaste with no fluoride in it until the kid is old enough to spit out the toothpaste.
Normally, children will need help brushing their teeth until the age of 7 or 8, but is important that he or she knows toothpaste needs to be fully spread among the teeth, gums, and tongue, brushing these elements for about 2 minutes. Around that age, kids can use a larger sized toothbrush, which should be changed every 3 to 6 months.
Flossing is another key element of the child´s dental care routine, needing to be done at least once a day from the age of 4. For them, using a floss that comes on a handle can make the process easier.
For proper dental care, regular dental check-ups with the dentist should be performed from the age of 1 or within 6 months of the first tooth appearing. The professional can show the child the right way to brush the teeth as well as other important details (1, 2, 3).
What is fluoride and why is it so important for children´s teeth?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral and one of the best ways to help children prevent tooth decay by strengthening its enamel and reduce cavities in baby (primary) teeth and adult (permanent) teeth.
In many municipal water supplies, fluoride is added for proper tooth development. However, if water does not contain it, pediatricians usually recommend its consumption through external supplementation or by using toothpaste and mouthwashes with fluoride.
It is very important for small children to not swallow fluoride containing dental products to avoid any health problem. Parents instead, need to follow all instructions regarding fluoride supplementation (1, 3).
What could happen if dental care is not done properly with children?
Like other age groups, dental decay can happen if correct dental hygiene is not done correctly. However, in children, the problems produced by the lack of dental care can be very serious, leading to some major complications that can directly affect their development and social behavior. Some of these include:
· Oral diseases and disorders create short term and prolonged physical discomfort. Pain, infection, and tooth loss are the most common consequences of oral disease, causing difficulties with chewing, swallowing, speaking, and can disrupt sleep and productivity.
· Tooth loss is directly associated with deteriorating diet and compromised nutrition, which can impair general health and exacerbate existing health conditions.
· The mouth is often an entry point for infections, which may spread to other parts of the body. In children, there is a special connection between tooth infection and meningitis.
· Dental disease negatively impacts the general quality of life, affecting not only the physical well-being, but also psychological and social well-being. Children could have a tendency to avoid social contact as a result of concerns over facial appearance. Similarly, persistent pain could have isolating and depressing effects.
· Given the importance of the mouth and teeth in verbal and non-verbal communication, disorders that disrupt their functions are likely to damage self-image and alter the ability to sustain and build social relationships. This can especially affect kids, which found themselves in constant physical and mental development.
· Additionally, poor oral health in children seems to be connected with more absences from school and lower grades due to the serious impairment caused by dental issues.
At very early stages of life, infants and toddlers are still susceptible to cavities. These cases of tooth decay are specially referred to as baby bottle tooth decay or early childhood caries, mainly affecting the upper front teeth, however, other teeth could also be affected. One of the most common causes of this disorder is the prolonged exposure of the baby´s teeth to sugary drinks when this is put to bed with a bottle or when the bottle is used as a pacifier. If not treated correctly, this type of preventable decay can affect the way on how adult teeth erupt in future decades (4, 5, 6).
How to make dental care fun for children?
Nowadays, there are many ways that can make dental care fun for children, even for the most reluctant ones who do not want to have anything to do with this hygienic practice. Here are a few things that can be helpful.
· Giving children the opportunity to choose their own toothbrushes and toothpaste can provide them a sense of independence. Today, the dental care market produces many products specifically directed to kids, existing from toothpaste of different colors and flavors to toothbrushes with the image of the most popular superheroes or cartoon characters. These options make this whole process a lot easier.
· Reading books or watching fun videos that talk and teach about dental hygiene can help children understand the importance of this activity.
· To make sure kids brush their teeth for at least 2 minutes, using a timer or playing their favorite song can help keep track of time.
· Of course, children respond very well to rewards, this one not being the exception. Giving them something healthy to eat or a gold star, just like at school, can help increase their interest in dental care.
· Planning a fun activity to do after going to the dentist can help kids forget about the stress lived during the visit (1).
You can set up an initial appointment or find out more information if you are having issues or if you and your family would like to have a new family dentist. Our contact information can be found here. We cannot wait to hear from you. Have a great day.