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February 14 2011

Making sure our kids receive dental care

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No matter what your age, most people remember their first visit to the Thornton family dentist as a frightening experience. According to Arlington, TX dental professional Dr. Chip Mercer, “It is important that children receive early preventive dental care to ensure good oral health and a healthy dental attitude”. 

Good parenting requires that we all teach our kids good dental hygiene along with all the other life lessons that we all need to learn. 

Teething: Teething begins by the ages of 6 months to a year, with the lower front teeth coming in first. The gums around an emerging tooth are often sore, red and irritable. By simply cleaning these areas with a warm soft cloth will do much for teaching a child to tolerate a dentist later in life. A clean teething ring relieves the baby’s urge to chew. It is important to guard against decay at this stage by avoiding sweet snacks and giving water sips after sweetened baby food to prevent baby bottle decay. A child should be brought in for a first dental visit about the age of one year. The dentist will examine the child while she is seated in the parents lap, screen the teeth for any decay and assess the development.

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Primary Teeth: The primary teeth will come in by the age of two years. It is important to clean the child’s teeth as they emerge and promote healthy oral hygiene. West Chester dentist visits at this age can be instrumental in shaping the child’s oral care behavior. By providing a welcoming atmosphere and a healthy introduction to the doctor’s office, most kids will adopt healthy habits from this tender age that will follow them throughout their life. At this age, parents need to check the milk teeth regularly for any white spots or pits that indicate early decay. Milk or primary teeth are important for not just chewing but also affect the development of permanent teeth. Losing primary teeth to early decay means loss of crucial space for permanent teeth to emerge, often leading to crowded or impacted teeth later. If primary teeth are lost too early, it is really best to provide a device that will maintain the space between teeth until the new ones grow in. 

The Transitional Stage: Seven to twelve years is the age when the child transitions from primary to permanent teeth. Tooth loss should be watched closely to be sure that they are coming in properly.  Permanent teeth at this stage are often spaced and correct naturally as back teeth emerge. However, problems of proclined or crowded teeth, cross-bites, thumb sucking habits etc. may need orthodontic intervention. It is this early intervention and proper care at this stage that will really have the greatest impact on a child’s dental health. Fluoride applications and pit and fissure sealants are simple and effective decay preventive measures for youngsters at this stage.