Good Pediatric Oral Health: Four Misconceptions Debunked
Early childhood cavities is the number 1 chronic disease affecting young children. It is 5 times more common than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever. One reason for these alarming statistics are the misconceptions surrounding oral hygiene in children. In honor of pediatric dental health month we will discuss four common misconceptions to help your children live healthier lives.
A common misconception is that cavities in baby (primary) teeth are not a big concern because they are not permanent teeth. Cavities occur when bacteria eats away at the tooth’s enamel. This causes decay and eventually a hole in the tooth. This hole can grow over time causing pain and can even affect speech development. Making matters worse, the bacteria can also travel from the baby teeth to the adult teeth growing below the gum line. Signs of a possible cavity are chalky white or brown spots on the tooth. If this is noted, it is important to schedule an appointment with the child’s dentist. You should also schedule a check-up with the dentist if your child complains of tooth pain.
Another misconception is that children should be allowed to brush their teeth on their own. While it is important to let the child learn how to properly brush their teeth, it is recommended that they get parental supervision and assistance until they are 7 years of age. This is because it is often difficult for children to properly brush all their teeth at such a young age. Before allowing the child to brush on their own they must demonstrate they can properly brush their teeth and hard to reach areas for the appropriate amount of time (2 minutes).
A third misconception is that fluoride is dangerous for children. Research shows that fluoride is actually helpful at preventing cavities. According to the American Dental Association, children should avoid using fluoride toothpaste until they are two years old unless they have been advised to do so by their dentist or other health professional. Once the child begins using fluoride toothpaste they should be taught to use a small pea-sized amount and to spit out the toothpaste instead of swallowing it.
A belief that children do not need to see the dentist until they begin school is another common misconception. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children be seen for their first dental appointment when the first tooth appears or by age one. As previously stated, cavities can form on baby teeth so it is important that children have regular check-ups to ensure optimal dental health.
Your child’s dental health is important to us. If you have questions or would like to learn more, please contact us at (910) 486-5437 or visit us online at http://www.rainbowpeds.net.