Adding a member to your family is an exciting time. With so many appointments to ensure the health of mother and baby, it’s easy to forget that your teeth, gums and tongue play an important part in your overall health and wellness. Routine dental care while pregnant doesn’t just ensure you have a sparkling smile to match your new glow — it can also potentially prevent complications late in pregnancy and during birth and head off problems with your oral health after your bundle of joy enters the world.
Raising kids is busy work. Parents of infants know how easy it is to get caught up in the day-to-day routine of ensuring baby is happy, healthy and developing properly. Moms and dads of toddlers and preschoolers are always on the go, seemingly doing it all with little to no sleep. Parents with school-aged children are swept up in spirit days, snack duty and extracurricular activities, while parents of teens may be left wondering where all the time went as they tackle broken hearts and college entrance exams.
Tackling Childhood Tooth Decay — Fillings, Sealants or Other?
Mommy wars and parent shaming are real — everyone has a different way of doing things, and this can often cause conflict and ruffle feathers. The common link between all parents is wanting to do what’s best for their children, especially when it comes to their medical and dental needs.
As infants grow into toddlers, preschoolers and grade schoolers, their dental care needs increase, too. One thing all parents worry about at one time or another is the best way to prevent decay. There are a number of solutions to help combat tooth decay and cavities in children, but which is truly the best?
New Study Results
The results of a three-year, multi-university study are in: active prevention is the best way of dealing with childhood tooth decay. According to the FiCTION study, the results of which were published in the November 26, 2019, issue of The Journal of Dental Research, the best way to deal with childhood tooth decay is to stop it before it starts. Although this nugget of wisdom is conventionally held as true based on common sense, medical science now backs it as fact.
Study findings concluded that, once decay sets in and treatment is started, there’s not much difference in the outcome. Most children will experience pain and infection regardless. So by default, the best way to treat your child’s teeth for cavities is to make sure they don’t happen in the first place.
How to Prevent Childhood Cavities
Preventing childhood cavities starts with regular dental checkups, starting about six months after infants get their first tooth and continuing at least twice a year. Checkups allow dentists to spot problems before they start and offer preventative treatments. For example, children who lack adequately strong enamel may require fluoride treatments to escape cavities. Starting and maintaining a regular dental visit schedule also ensures that your child’s teeth come in properly and on time — and that they can get early treatment for any spacing issues or abscessed teeth.
Regular checkups also allow dental staff to adequately clean your child’s teeth — something that brushing and flossing alone cannot do. It’s easy for young children to miss spots while brushing or to have trouble flossing because of the small size of their mouths. Dental cleanings give your child a fresh, clean slate to work with.
In addition to making and keeping regular dental appointments for your child, you can help prevent cavities by getting your kids into the habit of taking care of their teeth at home. Kids should brush twice a day for at least two minutes at a time, using a toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association.
If your child isn’t old enough to avoid swallowing toothpaste, skip those containing fluoride. Once they can spit their toothpaste out, switch to a formula containing the mineral. Flossing, too, should happen at least twice a day. Mouthwashes and rinses are optional but can help — and your dentist may recommend an additional rinse or wash containing fluoride if your drinking water lacks it.
A variety of brush types, styles and sizes exist — while some research suggests that electric toothbrushes may get children’s teeth cleaner, it’s most important to pick one that your child likes and will use regularly. If possible, let your kids help pick out their toothbrushes. Similarly, devices that help kids floss (like GumChucks or branded, shaped single-use flossers) are available to get kids interested in flossing and make it easier.
Treating Cavities — What’s Best?
Even with religiously kept appointments and adequate home care, some children will develop cavities. Whether it’s due to sneaking sweet, sugary candy, genetic factors or spacing issues that can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria between the teeth, cavities that form must be treated to avoid pain and infection.
There are two main ways of dealing with tooth decay in children — drilling it out of the tooth and filling it to prevent further damage, or sealing it under a crown or filling without drilling it to stop its spread to surrounding teeth.
Research suggests that there’s no marked difference in outcomes between children whose decayed teeth are drilled and filled or sealed — the incidence of complications and future cavities was about the same.
Still, every child is different, and your child’s teeth may have factors that make one option or the other better for their unique situation. So it’s important to work with your dentist to choose the treatment option that’s best for your child.
How We Can Help
The office of Drs. Krieger and Hur loves to get kids excited about dental health and hygiene. Our staff is friendly and patient — we want to make sure your kids are happy to come back after their first appointment. We employ a pain-free dentistry approach to our practice, and part of that is reducing the anxiety that often surrounds a trip to the dentist.
Whether you’re booking baby’s first dental appointment, just moved to the area and need a new family dentist or are seeking treatment for a cavity, we’re honored to have you choose us. To book a spot, simply call our office at (201) 560-0606. You can also reach out to us by email by clicking here, and someone will be in touch to confirm your appointment.
Pop quiz: What is scarier than your child changing their mind about their Halloween costume at the last minute and having to brave stores? The damage caused to their teeth by Halloween candy! While everyone loves a sweet treat every now and then, the upcoming holiday has the potential to become a major dental disaster. These four Halloween candy favorites are the top worst offenders when it comes to harming your child’s teeth — or yours, if you are raiding their candy haul. Read more
Your children are watching you, even when you think they aren’t. And they learn a lot from what they see — both good and bad. While it can seem like you’re wasting your time when you try to instill good habits in your kids through lectures and teaching them, some of it gets through. The best way to ensure your kids pick up good habits, however, is to model them yourself. This is particularly true when it comes to good oral health. By holding yourself to at least the same standard of dental care that you’d like to see from your children, you’re sending the message that this is, truly, something that’s important throughout their lives.
With the arrival of spring comes the beginning of baseball, softball and T-ball season. While uniforms, cleats, balls and bats often take the spotlight for necessary gear, there’s one piece of equipment most parents forget to invest in: a mouthguard. Mouthguards, though not glamorous, are arguably one of the most important pieces of sports equipment you can outfit your child with for safety. After all, you’re probably already paying for Invisalign and teeth whitening to make sure your child has the best smile possible. And while commercially available mouthguards from your favorite big-box store might be quick and easy to find, they don’t keep your child’s mouth safe on the field.
While broken teeth and breath that smells like the grave are acceptable accents to your costume, it’s not a look to commit to year-round. Instead, keep your pearly whites in such pristine condition that even a vampire would be jealous by avoiding these Halloween candies — and choosing less damaging sweets instead.
Oh school days, school days, those simple Golden Rule days. While we may have rosy memories of being the same age as our children are right now, peer pressure is a big thing for kids of all ages. The right jacket, the right shoes, the right friends — it all makes a huge difference to how successful your child can be within their peer group.
Chasing evolving fashion trends can be tricky, but there’s one thing that is always in style and makes a huge difference to how your child (and your family) is perceived: a bright, white smile.
Your summer was crazy! Between cross-country trips to see family, camps for the kids and impromptu cookouts, it seemed to just dash by. As back to school time closes in, you’re focused on getting your kids ready for classes. They’ve had a physical from their pediatrician, but did you remember to take them in to see the dentist?
Losing a first tooth is a big deal for anybody, but when you know the Tooth Fairy is coming to collect it, that can really make things interesting. Of course, you and I know that the Tooth Fairy isn’t quite what she seems, but as long as it helps your kids shake their fear of shedding those baby teeth, it seems a pretty harmless story.
Because of the prevalence of Tooth Fairy traditions in our culture, I got to wondering about her — what’s her background, where did she even come from? Turns out that some of the traditions related to the Tooth Fairy are at least as old as the Vikings.