Between ages two and eleven, your child’s primary teeth will have all erupted and he or she may even have some permanent teeth. This is a pivotal time to establish good hygiene habits, since maintaining excellent oral health for a lifetime truly begins at this stage. Some parents mistakenly believe that caring for primary teeth is not as important because they eventually fall out, but baby tooth development creates the basis for a beautiful smile into adulthood. Our doctor and our team can help educate your youngster about his or her teeth and gums so he or she can take a proactive role in maintaining them. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children see the dentist every six months. Contact our Clearwater, FL pediatric dental practice today to find out more about children’s dental care or schedule an appointment with us.
Fluoride Treatment Fortifies The Enamel
Fluoride is an effective weapon against tooth decay that should be utilized to ensure that your child’s teeth remain healthy and strong. When you bring your child in for routine cleanings and examinations, be sure to discuss your primary water source with our dentist to ensure your child is receiving adequate fluoride. Hillsborough county and Clearwater city water have adequate amounts of fluoride, but if you’re not sure if you have fluoridated water, call your water company.
Early Orthodontic Intervention for a Straighter Smile
Research has found that early orthodontic treatment can help correct many serious problems more efficiently and effectively than waiting until adulthood. Traditional orthodontics is not begun until all the permanent teeth have grown in, but at that stage, our face and jaw growth is near maturity. By beginning orthodontic treatments early, we can address and treat serious malocclusions (bite problems) when your child’s oral structures are still in development and can be more successfully modified.
The first set of pediatric braces is typically called Phase 1 or Interceptive Orthodontics and usually begins between 6 and 10 years old. Typical treatment goals include:
- Preventing the necessary extraction of permanent teeth.
- Quick, efficient treatment – usually between 6 and 15 months.
- Preventing future jaw surgeries to correct jaw mal-alignment.
- Promoting increased stability when braces are completed.
- Lowered treatment cost.
Our doctors recommend Phase I Interceptive Orthodontics to establish a healthy, symmetrical jaw and facial growth. Your child may still need Phase II Full Orthodontics to correct the rest of the permanent teeth once they’ve erupted. However, Phase I patients usually experience a quicker and easier Phase II than those who did not complete Phase I.
Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)
Bruxism, often called teeth grinding, can develop in young children. Experts are not sure why children and adults grind their teeth, but most agree that treating the issue is less pressing in younger patients. Grinding usually stops when the first permanent tooth erupts, and most children will cease this behavior by the age of 12. However, if your youngster does not stop grinding, our dentist may need to provide additional treatment, since this condition can damage the enamel, cause jaw pain, and create other oral health issues.
Brushing and Flossing
Children need to clean their teeth and gums just like adults do. Having good oral hygiene prevents tooth decay, tooth loss, and additional dental problems. It is important to always:
- Brush and floss after each meal and before bed.
- Brush for at least two minutes each session. Timers are good for promoting this habit.
- Change your toothbrushes every three months.
- Floss your child’s teeth for them until the age of six or seven. Small children can irritate the gums while flossing so it’s best to assist them until they are older.
- Floss that is attached to a dental handle is usually easier for children to use.
Diet and Habits
Having a healthy smile also involves eating a balanced, nutritious diet. Our recommendations are as follows:
- Sugar promotes tooth decay and can cause cavities. Enjoy sugary foods and drinks in moderation and brush after each consumption!
- Fruit juices are typically highly acidic and can break down enamel on the teeth. Water down these beverages or skip them all together!
- Prevent children from sucking on their fingers or pacifiers. Sucking habits can cause the permanent teeth to develop crooked and can severely affect your child’s bite.