The Importance of Dental Health For Children
According to the College of Dentistry, dental care is one of the children’s most prevalent unmet health needs. Cavities are one of the most common health problems among children, five times more common than asthma. We, as a family, try to take very great care of our teeth. We go to the dentist every six months and we listen to all of their recommendation, such as my daughter needing braces, or my son needs to be put under for a dental cleaning. But, just because you (as a parent) think dental care is very important does not mean that your children will understand the need for it.
In fact, most children typically ‘sneak’ and pretend to brush their teeth in the evenings because they truly do not know the importance of dental care and could care less about it. As parents, we need to learn how to effectively teach our children that dental care is important – in a way that they can understand, but first, we have to understand why it is important ourselves so that we can relay that message to our children. So, why is dental care so important for children? Let me give you some information.
It is true that baby teeth fall out, but this does not mean that we do not have to take care of them. They hold a space for the future permanent teeth, and it’s important that the gums around that tooth are very healthy. If your child does not have a healthy mouth when those permanent teeth arrive, they could have lifelong issues with their teeth and mouth such as painful teeth and gums, difficulty chewing, eating, and sleeping gum disease and inflammation, and even embarrassment.
Not only will poor dental health cause issues with their teeth and their mouth, but it could also cause other physical and mental issues, as well. Dr. Simms from Metro Decatur Dental Group PC says, “Medical studies have shown that good oral hygiene not only helps prevent tooth loss but can prevent heart disease, dementia and issues of diabetes, as well. You may do a good job when it comes to brushing and flossing but a dental cleaning goes below the gum line for more thorough teeth cleaning. During a dental cleaning, Metro Decatur Dental Group PC will remove any tartar and plaque from your teeth. This will help prevent gum disease. Gum disease can lead to serious problems with bone and tooth loss. Regular dental cleaning lets your dentist monitor your dental health because prevention is a lot easier than intervention when it comes to dental disease.”
More About Metro Decatur Dental
Metro Decatur Dental Group PC is a full-service dentist office, located in Decatur, GA, serving the Metro-Atlanta area. Dr. Gary A. Simms, along with the rest of the staff at Metro Decatur Dental Group PC believes that when you feel good about yourself, it shows. That’s why Dr. Simms loves what he does so much. He knows the importance of caring for and changing someone’s smile, both functionally and cosmetically. Because the results often positively change someone’s life, and not just their smile, Dr. Simms makes sure to treat all clients with care and dignity, giving them one-on-one attention at each appointment.
Born in England, but raised in Queens for most of his life, Dr. Gary Simms started his career by obtaining his bachelor’s degree in Science at the University of New York. After getting his degree, Dr. Simms went on to obtain his D.M.D. degree at the University of New Jersey School of Dental Medicine. While at the University of New Jersey, Dr. Simms participated in a number of outreach programs that included visits to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. Once he completed his dental residency, he opened up his own practice in Bronx, New York, but in 2006, he decided to make the change and move to Georgia, opening up Metro Decatur Dental Group PC. He believes that even a subtle change in your smile can help your self-confidence and self-esteem skyrocket and this starts from a very early age.
How To Care For Your Children’s Teeth
There are many reasons as to why dental health for children is so important, but when it comes down to it, the main reason for caring for their teeth at such an early age is so they can live a full and carefree life, with no concerns about dental decay and other health issues created from poor dental health. If you do not know how to start taking care of your children’s teeth, here is a bit of information:
- Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.
- For children younger than 3 years, start brushing their teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing to ensure that they use the appropriate amount of toothpaste.
- For children 3 to 6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.
- Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin cleaning between their teeth daily.”
Even Sensory Kids
April marks National Autism Awareness month. The seemingly simple task of brushing teeth daily can be a painful experience for many autistic children. Research shows that by the time some of the 1 in 68 children, ages 3 to 17, affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder first see the dentist, they have already developed serious dental problems that may even require hospitalization.
Here are some tips to make it easier to prepare for that appointment.
- Think about timing. It’s important for a child of any age who’s used to a nap to get one before their appointment. For older kids avoid cramming in a dental appointment right after day camp or school.
- Make an older child a model. If you have two kids, send the one who is most comfortable with going to the dentist first to ease others fears.
- Eat first. Make sure your child eats a light meal before getting in the dental chair.
- Leave your own anxiety at the door. If you’re nervous, your child will pick up on it.
- Be prepared. Let the dentist know what your issues and concerns are. Make sure he or she has your most up-to-date dental records and let him know if you have seen a different dentist recently.
With a little patience, diligence and the right support; you and your children will have something to smile about.