How Dentistry Can Impact Your Children's Health – 5 FAQs

According to the CDC, 1 in 5 children have at least 1 decayed tooth that is untreated. And 1 in 7 adolescents has at least 1 untreated and decaying tooth. This is jarring news because tooth decay is entirely preventable. And as parents, it is our responsibility to make sure our children learn how to responsibly care for their teeth.

Ready to get serious about your child’s dental health? Here are some of the most common questions from parents along with answers from the experts.

FAQ 1: At what age should I take my child to see a dentist for the first time?

According to America's Pediatric Dentists, take your child to see an accommodating dentist for children as soon as their first tooth appears. Or before his or her first birthday. Whichever comes first.

FAQ 2: Why is my child's first dental appointment so important?

Getting your child comfortable at the dentist can set him or her up for either viewing the relationship with their dentist as a positive one. For example, one where the dentist is a partner in your child's oral health. Or a negative relationship, where the dentist becomes the source of pain and suffering.

Setting the right tone for your child's first dentist appointment can help establish how he or she views oral care for the next several years. You want your child to have firmly established good oral habits that will last through to adulthood. But an essential part of that is scheduling and keeping dental appointments as part of one’s oral health care routine.

FAQ 3: How can I portray a positive attitude to my child about going to the dentist?
As a parent, the feelings and perspective you have on going to the dentist can often be transmitted to your children. Certain comments, although well-intentioned, can have the opposite effect. For example, comments like, "It will be over before you know it," can inspire anxiety instead of calm.

So what should a parent say to their child leading up to the appointment?

Keep an air of open curiosity about the appointment and excitement about spending some one on one time with your child. Pose outward questions about the things you see and observe around you. Bring some play material for your child to keep boredom away in the waiting room.
FAQ 4: Why is it important to take care of baby teeth if they will fall out anyway?

Your child's baby teeth are a placeholder for the adult teeth that will come around the age of six. If they fall out too soon due to decay, the placement of the adult teeth can become skewed. Teeth placement often will shift forward as a result, and the front teeth can become crowded. Your child might need braces eventually when the adult teeth come in.
This is often the reason that dentists will recommend fillings for baby teeth that have cavities. As simply pulling the decaying tooth and leaving it at that can lead to other problems.

Another reason goes a bit deeper into teaching children overall self-care. When a child is taught to take care of his or her appearance by using good oral health habits. And through other aspects of taking care of oneself, he or she will take those habits with them into teen and adulthood.

FAQ 5: What foods can I feed my child for healthier teeth and gums?

Cheese has been shown to raise pH levels in one's mouth after consumption. Which lowers a person's risk of tooth decay. Cheese also contains high amounts of calcium and protein, both essentials for strong teeth. Also, while most sweet foods are a no-no for teeth health, apples are an exception. Apples require vigorous chewing, which results in more saliva in one's mouth. Saliva helps to wash away food particles as well as bacteria.

Other foods your child might enjoy that can help with oral health include almonds, carrots cut up as veggie sticks, and yogurt.

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