Everything You Need To Know About Tooth Decay And Pediatric Dentistry

Posted on: 20 October 2020

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), tooth decay is the "#1 chronic disease among children", but is 100 percent preventable. Seeing a pediatric dentist can help put your child on the right track. Here's what you need to know.

What does a pediatric dentist do?

A pediatric dentist is a dentist who specializes in treating patients under the age of 18. They are trained to understand the stages of development that a child's mouth, teeth, gums, and jaw go through as infants, children, and teens. 

What is the difference between a dentist and a pediatric dentist?

After dental school, graduates can start practicing general dentistry or pursue additional training for a specialty. Like orthodontists, oral surgeons, and endodontists, pediatric dentists spent additional time in dental school learning their specialty and how to best serve their young patients.

What ages does a pediatric dentist treat?

Most pediatric dentists treat patients from birth to age 18. Working with a pediatric dentist is helpful during formative years so they can keep an eye on your child's ever-changing teeth and make the best decisions for future treatments. 

How old should a child be when they have their first visit to a pediatric dentist?

The American Dental Academy (ADA) recommends that children see a dentist shortly after their first few teeth emerge. At the latest, children should see the dentist by their first birthday. The pediatric dentist uses that first appointment to make sure that everything is developing properly in the child's mouth and to educate the parent on proper oral hygiene techniques for babies.

What can I do to help a cavity-prone child?

While most parents try to ensure that their child brushes their teeth well and often, there are some kids that are more prone to cavities. Luckily, there are steps that you can take to help, including:

  • Floss. When your child is young, you can spend a few minutes each day flossing for them. Once they reach the age of eight, you can let them take over the task under supervision. The more often you perform this task, the more likely it will become a habit for them later in life.
  • Detection tabs. Talk to your pediatric dentist about detection tabs. These chewable tabs alert both you and your child to areas on a tooth's surface that were missed during regular brushing.
  • Mouthwash. There are several types of mouthwash on the market now that cater to younger users. Mouthwash can help children fight cavities with fun flavors like bubblegum and watermelon.
  • Fluoride treatments. Another option is to have your dentist apply a fluoride treatment to the surface of your child's teeth to protect them during the months between visits to the hygienist.

The important thing to remember is to talk to your pediatric dentist and work together to try different things until you find out what works for your child.

Proper oral hygiene from an early age and using the services of a pediatric dentist can protect your child's developing teeth and establish good oral hygiene habits for life