In Hawaii, dental decay is a very common childhood disease. Unfortunately, our state’s dental cavity rate is 2.5 times that of the continental U.S. What most parents and care givers don’t realize is this is a preventable disease. A majority of childhood cavities are avoidable with routine dental care beginning at age 1, regular brushing /flossing, and a proper diet. Additionally, dental decay is a transmissible infectious disease meaning the bacteria that causes decay can be passed from one person to another.
Most often diet and oral hygiene practices play a key role in what age a child begins getting cavities. As a pediatric dentist, I strongly recommend to never put an infant to sleep with a bottle containing milk or juice. Brushing and/or oral cleanings should be performed routinely on infants after feeding. Swabbing the infant’s cheeks and gums with a moist wash cloth prior to the eruption of teeth conditions the child for brushing once the teeth erupt. We also recommend flossing with a floss aid once two teeth erupt side by side.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT 1ST BIRTHDAY DENTAL VISIT
We will examine your child’s teeth, check for decay, and make sure that teeth are coming in the right order, check for proper jaw development. We will invite you to stay during your child’s first birthday examination. Please do not be surprised if your child cries. Children are often afraid of new experiences and crying is a normal reaction to that fear. We will talk about home care and share recommendations for maintaining excellent oral health. We will also discuss nutrition information and thumb and pacifier habits.
TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL FIRST VISIT
- Practice counting teeth and opening wide.
- Do NOT use fear provoking words.
- Expect your child to react well and enjoy your first visit to our office.
- Set a good example by brushing your own teeth twice a day, flossing, eating a balanced diet and visiting the dentist regularly
- The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist
- Show Me Your Smile: A Visit to the Dentist (Dora the Explorer)
- Just Going to the Dentist (Little Critter)
Cally L. Adams, DDS