We hear the question "Is pediatric dental care really necessary?" from parents on a regular basis. It is not that parents are uninterested in oral health but simply that they think if they brush their child's teeth at home, nothing more will be necessary.
In a perfect world this would be true but in reality, children are just as likely to suffer from tooth decay as adults, in fact sometimes more likely. This makes it more important than ever for children to receive proper dental care and regular teeth cleanings.
Why are children likely to suffer from tooth decay?
There are several factors that contribute to tooth decay in children. They include:
1. It is difficult to clean a child's teeth
Even diligent parents have to struggle with a wiggly toddler, active three-year-old and elementary kids who all have no interest in brushing teeth. It is difficult to get them to remain still for the full two minutes that is necessary to properly brush their teeth. Parents do their best but there is often still some plaque remaining on the child's teeth. This plaque can harden to tartar and increase the likelihood of tooth decay.
2. Children do not like to floss
Plaque and tartar can also build up between teeth. Since children do not like flossing, many parents forgo this exercise. When providing pediatric dental care, we floss the child's teeth to remove plaque from these areas.
3. Children tend to like food and beverages that are high in sugar
Many children also have a sweet tooth. They tend to gravitate towards things like ice cream, high sugar juices and soda. These are things that increase the likelihood of decay as well. Even snacks that parents regularly put in lunch boxes like fruit chews can be high in sugar and also have a high acidic content.
Even granola bars can be bad for their teeth when they contain corn syrup and chocolate chips. With so much sugar touching a child's teeth on a daily basis, they are at risk for oral health problems from dietary reasons alone.
4. Many children drink milk or juice after brushing their teeth at night
This is a particular issue with babies and toddlers. So much so that there is a term for it, baby bottle tooth decay. After parents put their child to bed, if they wake up thirsty, many will respond with a bottle full of milk or juice. There is sugar in both and leaving that sugar on the teeth throughout the night is going to increase the likelihood of them developing decay.
Pediatric dental care fills the gaps
Parents have an important role to play in maintaining their child's oral health at home. Still, it is difficult to do. We understand that and seek to partner with parents to close the gap and keep children's teeth healthy. We believe that it is important for children to remain in good oral health and that we need to work together to achieve that goal.
As such, we are highly supportive of parents, take the time to educate and provide information and do our best to back parents up by encouraging children to listen to the request for brushing and flossing at home. Working together, we can help children get through childhood with little to no oral health problems.
Schedule an appointment
We encourage you to call our office and schedule an appointment for pediatric dental care. While here we can examine and clean your child's teeth, answer questions and provide additional tips on what you can do to help their teeth remain healthy at home.
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