When my preschooler got her first cavity, I was dismayed. But I knew I was to blame -- she is a stubborn kid, and often I let her brush her own teeth, and we certainly never flossed. I just didn't realize the implications. So I asked our dentist Dr. Melissa Jentz-Cote of Geneva Family Dental (also a Go West sponsor) to write a column about why it's so important to take care of your kid's teeth as soon as they appear. - Tara
Another school year is starting and dental exams are mandatory for kindergarten, second, and sixth graders.
It is such an exciting time for both parents and children starting kindergarten, but unfortunately we find many cavities at what is sometimes a child’s first dental exam ever. In some fearful children this can lead to dental phobias that can carry into adulthood.
Everyone wants the child to have a healthy dental check up at every dental visit. This is definitely possible, but the hard work must start at home. Many parents do not take oral hygiene with their young children seriously.
Starting with the first tooth that erupts into the mouth, parents should be diligently brushing their babies’ teeth twice a day. In some children this can be as early as three months old!
Starting early gets the child used to brushing and can turn into good habits as an older child and into an adult. Many parents do not know that formula and breast milk contain sugars that promote tooth decay. That is why a baby should never be put to bed with a bottle. This milk sits on the teeth and causes cavities at a very young age.
Sometimes these teeth become so decayed that the baby teeth are not able to be saved, and the child must undergo sedation to have multiple tooth extractions.
We hear all the time from parents, “Who cares? They are only baby teeth.” But there are many reasons why the baby teeth are important.