Dentistry and Dental Hygiene for Kids, Awake or Asleep

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted an increase, the first in 40 years, in the number of preschoolers with cavities .

Parents missed an average of 2.5 days of work or school annually due to their children’s dental problems 

Q. How old should my child be before I make his first dental appointment? 

A. You should take him in by the time he celebrates his first birthday.

First visits are mostly about getting kids used to the dentist's chair and educating parents about how to care for baby's teeth. If your child has transitioned from the bottle to cup and doesn't snack or drink in the middle of the night, you get a one-year pass, until age 2. That's when the standard every-six-month dental visit recommendation kicks into gear. When your child is between ages 4 and 6, expect your dentist to take a first set of dental imagine to check for cavities lurking between the teeth.

Prevention is the name of the game between ages 6 and 12, when baby teeth give way to permanent teeth. Your child's dentist will probably suggest a sealant, a plastic resin that bonds to teeth's chewing surfaces, between ages 7 and 9. Cavity-prone molars are the most likely site for treatment. The resin keeps cavity-causing bacteria from getting into the grooves and valleys of teeth.

Also, when your child is around age 7, his dentist will likely suggest an orthodontic evaluation. Most kids will wait until their early teens for braces, but orthodontics is about modifying jaw growth, so identifying skeletal causes of crooked teeth early helps ensure a beautiful smile later on.

In the end, it's the basics -- brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and getting regular dental checkups -- that have the most impact on a kid's smile. 

Watch this video to learn more about your child’s dental visit.

Watch this video to learn more about dental hgyiene home-care.

Dr. Zangooei  suggest a number of tips for parents to prevent the decay of baby teeth:

Take an infant to a dentist before the first birthday for an assessment of cavity risk, even if the child has only a few teeth.

In general, brush the teeth of children 2 or younger with a bit of fluoride toothpaste twice a day. At 2, start to use a pea-size dollop.

Reduce snacking. Eating any starchy or sugary food causes the pH level in the mouth to drop sharply, leaving teeth awash in an acid bath — murder on enamel — for 20 minutes until saliva normalizes the pH. The frequency of exposure to acid is more important than the sugar content of food.

Do not share utensils with a child or “clean” a pacifier in your mouth, then give it to your infant.

Research has shown that parents or caregivers with active tooth decay can pass cavity-causing bacteria via saliva.

Brush preschoolers’ teeth for them. “They are not in a position to effectively brush their teeth until they are 7 or 9,” 

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