UTH: Continuing with our interview with Dr. Rhea Haugseth, a spokesperson from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, we will learn how to choose the right pediatric dentist and also, about 5 things that you can do to ensure that your kids’ teeth remain healthy, strong and free of cavities. Here is the first part of the interview that discusses the importance of instilling good oral health habits from an early age.
UTH: How can parents choose the right dentist for their kids? Any special considerations to keep in mind?
The AAPD offers a tool on the organization’s website that makes it easy for parents and caregivers to find a pediatric dentist in their area. To find a pediatric dentist, visit www.aapd.org/finddentist.
A few things parents should look for when choosing a pediatric dentist include specialized certification in pediatric dentistry, as well as a staff with special training and interest in treating children. The dental office should be set up for children with toys, books and games. You and your child should both feel very comfortable in the office.
After the first visit, ask yourself if your child was seen promptly, did the dentist and staff talk to your child and encourage involvement in dental health and finally, were you informed about your child’s tooth development?
UTH: Finally, what are the five most important things that parents can do to keep kids’ teeth healthy?
The five most important things that parents can do to keep their kids’ teeth healthy are outlined in our handy check list below. Checking off each of these criteria will ensure that you are taking all the necessary steps to keep your children’s teeth healthy.
* Visit the pediatric dentist before your child’s first birthday and at least twice annually following the first appointment.
* Clean your infant’s mouth and gums regularly with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Once baby teeth appear, brush them at least twice daily with an age-appropriate sized toothbrush and a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
* Encourage your toddlers to help brush their own teeth to instill important and routine oral health habits for taking care of their teeth later in life.
* Water fluoridation is still the number one way to prevent tooth decay. If your child does not have access to fluoridated water, pediatric dentists can advise parents about other sources of fluoride, such as fluoride supplements.
* Prevent tooth decay by reducing the intake of foods high in sugar and serving healthy meals to your child that include the recommended daily allowances of fruits and vegetables. Protein, vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and phosphorous, will build strong teeth and help your child’s mouth to fight tooth decay and gum disease. Encourage water as the right choice for a beverage throughout the day.
Simple steps such as helping your toddler to brush regularly, finding a good pediatric dentist and going for regular dental checkups as well as eating a healthy, well-balanced diet will help you to ensure that your child grows up with teeth that are healthy and cavity-free.
Pic. Credit: abbybatchelder