At Islands Pediatric Dentistry in Gilbert, we take a preventative approach to dental care. Beginning with a child’s first visit to the dentist. Our goal is to build a foundation for patients to achieve healthy smiles that last a lifetime. Through regular dental cleanings, fluoride treatments, and dental sealants, we strive to prevent the onset, progress, and recurrence of common dental problems.
Preventative dentistry for children is a collaborative effort between the pediatric dentist, the patient and his or her parents. Along with cleanings and other preventative treatments, proper home care and a balanced diet are also important for promoting and maintaining oral health. Dr. Rez and dental hygienists provide the following services to help our young patients establish good oral hygiene practices that stick with them for life.
Oral Hygiene Instruction
Tooth decay doesn’t discriminate by age. It can affect adults, teens and even your infant or toddler. As parents, it’s our role to set our children on the path of good oral health. Cavity prevention is a vital part of that.
When food remains on the teeth, it is consumed by bacteria naturally present in the mouth. These bacteria convert the food into acid, ultimately contributing to the production of plaque, a sticky substance that clings to the teeth. The acids in plaque will harm the enamel of the teeth, creating cavities.
Tooth decay is a serious problem that can ultimately lead to infection, pain and loss of teeth.
Here are a few simple steps you can take to prevent tooth decay in your child:
- Never put your baby to sleep with a bottle containing anything except water. Putting your child to sleep with a bottle containing juice or milk is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to early childhood cavities.
- Start to teach brushing habits once a tooth appears in your child’s mouth.
- Supervise tooth brushing. A child under two years old should not use toothpaste with fluoride. An adult should assist a child in tooth brushing until six years of age.
- Avoid sharing your utensils with your infant as this allows for transfer of bacteria from your mouth to your child’s oral cavity. We call this “Bacterial Colonization”. Research shows that the earlier a child’s mouth is colonized by the bacteria, the higher risks for developing dental caries.
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Eating a balanced diet plays an important role in dental health, too. Brushing and flossing help keep your child’s teeth clean and gums healthy, but good nutrition is necessary to help boost the immune system. When the immune system is strong, your child is less vulnerable to developing oral disease.
A child’s eating habits can profoundly affect their dental health. Carbohydrates, sugars and starchy foods such as cake, candy, bread or pretzels can cause the bacteria in the mouth to produce acids, which then attack the teeth. Treats are best provided at the end of a meal, when increased quantities of saliva can wash away their residue. Snacking between meals without brushing afterward gives bacteria a perpetual source of fuel to feed on. This leads to the development of plaque and eventually tooth decay and cavities.
Oral Habit Counseling
Persistent harmful habits can affect the growth of the teeth and jaws and cause abnormalities. Thumb sucking and pacifier use are very common self-soothing behaviors in babies, but can be detrimental to the alignment of the teeth if they continue as children get older. Parents can help prevent bad oral habits by comforting an anxious child and offering them praise when they are not sucking. Our dentists can also explain to your child how oral habits affect their mouth to help discourage the behavior as well. When necessary, patient counseling, behavior modification therapy or a preventive appliance may be recommended.
One oral habit seen in some pediatric patients is tongue thrusting. Tongue thrusting is a habit in which the tongue moves to a forward position in the mouth during swallowing. It can cause an open bite and other orthodontic issues. Sometimes, a night guard or another appliance can correct the problem. In other cases, oral therapy is necessary to train the patient to change the tongue’s posture.
Helpful Related Links
- American Dental Association (ADA). Glossary of Dental Terms. 2015
- American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry® (AACD). Home Page. 2015
- WebMD. WebMD’s Oral Care Guide. 2015
About our business, license, and website security
- Islands Pediatric Dentistry was established in 2017
- We accept the following payment methods: American Express, Cash, Check, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa
- We serve patients from the following counties: Maricopa County
- We serve patients from the following cities: Gilbert
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