Dental Topics - Pediatric Dentist in Lakeland, Winter Haven, Bartow, Mulberry, Haines City, FL

Why choose a pediatric dentist?

A Pediatric Dentist is first a general dentist who goes on to obtain two more years of specialization in children's dentistry. A Pediatric Dentist also has specialized training in child psychology, child management, and behavior modifications. The pediatric training also allows the Pediatric Dentist to provide the most up-to-date treatment for a wide variety of children's dental problems. A Pediatric Dentist handles all aspects of Children's oral health care, including prevention, restoration, growth and development from birth to age 18.

Can all children grow up cavity-free?

Today's research shows it is possible for almost every child to grow up cavity-free.

How can I prevent cavities?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises: Brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Floss children's teeth once a day until they are able to do it themselves – around age 7 or 8. Visit your pediatric or general dentist regularly. Get enough fluoride through drinking water, fluoride products and, when indicated, through fluoride supplements. Have sealants applied to the chewing surfaces of permanent back teeth or molars soon after they come in. Snack moderately – no more than twice a day.

Is diet important in the prevention of cavities?

Though a balanced diet is certainly important in preventing cavities, experts agree that cavities are not only the result of what children eat, but also, how often they eat. Frequent snacking without brushing leaves food on the teeth longer and fosters tooth decay.

What are good and bad foods for the teeth?

Although foods such as milk, fruits and vegetables contribute to strong bones and healthy teeth and gums, even they can foster tooth decay in the absence of good oral hygiene. Particles of food that are trapped on tooth surfaces are considered to contribute to cavity development. Because of their texture, some foods are retained in the mouth longer than others are. However, foods that are perceived by consumers to be "sticky" are not always those that are retained longest in the mouth.

At what age should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?

Let the first tooth, which will surface between six and twelve months, remind you that it's time to see your pediatric or general dentist. Though this may seem early, 40% of toddlers between two and three have some inflammation of the gums and/or cavities. Be sure to get advice on tooth cleaning, pacifiers, fluoride and preventing tooth injuries for young walkers.

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If our water supply is fluoridated should my child also use a fluoridated toothpaste?

Absolutely. It was once believed that dietary fluoride (fluoride taken into the body through food and water) was more effective than topical fluoride (fluoride applied to the teeth with toothpaste, mouth rinses or in-office fluoride treatments). Today, professionals maintain that both sources of fluoride are equally influential in preventing tooth decay. Toothpaste provides daily fluoride boosts that are necessary in keeping your child's teeth cavity-free.

Is it possible to get too much fluoride?

Parents often worry about too much fluoride, a condition which can cause dental fluorosis. Your pediatric or general dentist will assess the amount of fluoride your child is receiving from drinking water, toothpaste, mouth rinses and in-office fluoride treatments and also will consider the need for a dietary fluoride supplement. The tiny percentage of children who incur severe dental fluorosis typically consume over-fluoridated water on a regular basis or eat their toothpaste. The U.S. Public standard for optimum water fluoridation Health Service assures us that water fluoridation is safe and effective. Confirm with your dentist or your local water company if necessary, that your community observes the Environmental Protection Agency's (0.7 to 1.2 parts per million). It's also a good idea to teach small children to use a pea size amount of toothpaste for brushing, not snacking.

What are dental sealants?

Dental sealants protect the chewing surfaces of back teeth where most cavities in children are found. Made of clear or shaded plastic, sealants are painted onto the tiny grooves and depressions in the molars. By "sealing out" food and plaque, sealants reduce the risk of decay. They are quickly and painlessly applied to any baby teeth and permanent teeth that, in the dentist's opinion, are likely to have decay on the biting surface. Sealants must be checked periodically and replaced when necessary, though they generally last for several years.

Can all children benefit from dental sealants?

Studies show that 4 out of 5 cavities in children under age 15 develop on the biting surface of back molars. Molars commonly decay because plaque accumulates in the tiny grooves of the chewing surfaces. Though fluoride works to prevent cavities on the smooth surfaces of teeth, it is not as effective on the biting surfaces of back teeth. Sealants prevent the cavities that fluoride cannot effectively reach. As a preventive mechanism, sealants are an important part of a cavity-free generation.

When should my child begin to brush her teeth?

Brushing should actually begin before children are capable of doing it themselves. A wet cloth or gauze effectively cleans gums and removes plaque after nursing and establishes a good habit early on. Gentle brushing with a soft bristle brush begins with the first tooth and flossing, when most primary teeth are in. At six or seven, children can brush on their own, with careful supervision. And by eight or nine, they can floss on their own too. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says "a good rule of thumb is this...When children are accomplished enough in caring for their own needs that they can get up, bathe and dress themselves and comb their hair without your help - then they are ready to accept full responsibility for their mouth-cleaning program!"

Are baby teeth really that important to my child?

Yes! Primary or "baby" teeth are important for many reasons:

My teeth have always been crooked. Is there anything that can be done to make sure that my child's teeth come in straight?

Fortunately, orthodontic treatment has come a long way, especially with early intervention procedures. As your pediatric or general dentist monitors your child's development, he or she can teach your child to avoid oral habits that encourage orthodontic problems. Your dentist also can identify malocclusion (abnormal dental alignment) right away and actively intervene to guide the teeth as they emerge in the mouth. Many times, early orthodontic treatment can prevent more extensive treatment later. Though your child may need braces, new preventive techniques can minimize time needed to wear them.

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