Visiting the dentist isn’t often number one on your child’s long list of preferred activities. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t high on the list of things they should do. Your child’s teeth are important and serve much more of a purpose than looks alone. From digestion to speech, teeth are an integral component of the human body, and the proper care of such can lead to better overall health.
A common misconception is that since a child loses their first set of teeth, it isn’t entirely necessary to maintain them with the utmost diligence. Improper toothcare affects more than just teeth. Bacteria can enter the gums and release harmful materials into the bloodstream. Over time, this can have an impact on the heart, kidneys, and other parts of the body. It is very beneficial to help children develop healthy oral hygiene habits as soon as possible so future pain and expense can be avoided.
Bi-Annual Dentist Visits Can Go a Long Way
Early childhood tooth decay is the most common health problem in children. It is nearly 5 times more prevalent than asthma and 4 times more so than childhood obesity. A trip to the dentist every 6 months can help prevent cavities and even reverse the effects of poor habits. There are 5 key parts to a thorough dental checkup. They are as follows:
- Plaque and tartar removal. Plaque and tartar are not quite the same thing. Plaque is a buildup of food particles and saliva that adheres to the teeth. Tarter is the result of plaque left untreated which hardens and discolors. Since plaque and tartar contain bacteria, it can be the cause of bad breath, tooth decay, sensitivity, and even tooth loss.
- Tooth polishing. After plaque and tartar removal, the teeth are polished to a shine. This helps protect the teeth as well as remove any lingering buildup on the teeth.
- Flossing and rinsing. This is perhaps the most important part of a dental checkup at Timp Dental. As the hygienist flosses, they will take the time to educate the young patient about the importance of regular flossing. Food buildup between the teeth is what most commonly leads to cavities and decay.
- Dental inspection. After the teeth have been cleaned and flossed, the dentist will come in and inspect for damage. At this time, the dentist will look at the X-rays for cavities and determine if a follow-up appointment is necessary.
- Fluoride treatment. Fluoride is then applied to protect your child’s enamel. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be worn down. Fluoride strengthens the molecular bonds within the enamel helping to prevent dental decay.
In addition to the steps above, it may also be beneficial to consider dental sealants. Sealants add an extra layer of protection and keep the teeth safe from decay. They consist of food-safe plastic and are applied directly to the teeth lasting up to 10 years.
The Confidence of a Healthy Smile
One of the biggest, most preventable enemies to a child’s self-esteem is a lack-luster smile. It is often difficult for children, especially young children, to adopt consistent dental hygiene practices before it has consistent impact on their teeth. For this reason, it is important that a trip to the pediatric dentist doesn’t just result in a temporarily clean smile, but also serves as education for the child as to how to properly care for their teeth. At Timp Dental, we know pediatric dentistry. We aim to help our young patients understand dental hygiene and find the desire to properly maintain their teeth. There is no beating a bright, beautiful smile.