If you’re a fan of blues music, you’ll get this reference in our headline. We’re channeling Johnnie Taylor this month to drive home the fact that preventing tooth decay in your children is healthier and cheaper than treating it.
If your New Year’s resolutions included saving money and paying down debt, read on to learn how to prevent your children from sinking their teeth into more of your hard-earned dollars.
Tooth decay is among the most common chronic childhood conditions in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 20 percent of children between ages 5 and 11, and 13 percent of adolescents ages 12 to 19 have at least one untreated decayed tooth. The rate is even higher for adolescents from low-income families.
The cost of filling a cavity, placing a crown on a decayed tooth, or pulling a tooth that is severely damaged by decay far exceeds the cost of routine dental exams, diagnostic X-rays and professional teeth cleaning appointments.
Our goal is to promote good oral health habits to ensure that your children’s teeth last a lifetime. The best way to accomplish this is to be proactive when it comes to dental care and take preventive measures to keep teeth healthy rather than waiting until your child complains of a toothache to call your pediatric dentist.
“We strive to create positive experiences for children in an effort to establish a lifetime of good oral health,” says Dr. Nanna. “It’s easier to do this when we can avoid putting children through invasive treatments by preventing problems before they occur.”
One of the simplest ways to do that is to help children develop good oral health habits early on. That includes regular brushing and flossing at home, and professional teeth cleanings and checkups at the pediatric dentist’s office.
Nearly all tooth decay can be prevented. Professional fluoride treatments can prevent about a third of decay in baby teeth, according to the CDC. Dental sealants can prevent decay in the permanent molars. Sealants are thin sheets of plastic coating applied to the biting surfaces to prevent food and plaque from resting in the deep grooves of the teeth. This plastic coating typically is BPA-free. Children and teens are excellent candidates for sealants. We check the sealants at each dental appointment to ensure they remain intact. Sealants can be reapplied when necessary.
At home, make sure your children use fluoride toothpaste. Children younger than age 6 should use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste when brushing. Encourage your children to brush after meals when possible, and if it isn’t possible, have them rinse their mouths with water after a meal. Limit your child’s intake of sugary foods and beverages, as the bacteria that lead to tooth decay feed on these sugars.
Through your efforts at home and our efforts here in the office, we can work together to keep your children smiling, and more money in your pocket!