Today’s post is for new parents or couples planning for children sometime in the future.
An Epidemic of Tooth Decay in Young Children
The statistics on early childhood tooth decay are sobering. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 42% of U.S. children between 2 and 11 years old have in their primary teeth. https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/research/data-statistics/dental-caries/children
At Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we are passionate about helping today’s youngsters avoid the rampant tooth decay that has plagued previous generations. If young children are protected from birth, they are more likely to maintain good oral health throughout the rest of their childhood. But this is only possible if parents make it a priority. We urge new parents to be proactive about children’s dental health from the moment they leave the hospital.
You do your best to safeguard your children from illness and infection. It’s critical to understand that tooth decay is an infectious disease with serious long-term consequences.
Anticipatory Guidance (ADA-Speak For Preventative Dentistry For Kids)
Here is what we at Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry (and the American Dental Association) recommend regarding a toddler’s first dental visit:
It is advantageous for the first visit to occur within six months of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than 12 months of age, and receiving oral health education based on the child’s developmental needs (also known as anticipatory guidance). https://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-positions-policies-and-statements/statement-on-early-childhood-caries
Educate yourselves on how to prohibit early childhood dental decay before teeth erupt. Then you will avoid creating habits that put teeth in danger.
Are You Up To Speed On Best Practices?
For example, you are probably aware that putting a baby to bed with a bottle creates an ideal environment for tooth decay. But did you know that at-will breastfeeding throughout the night is also detrimental for baby’s teeth?
Other common practices like frequent juice consumption and toddlers drinking from bottles all have dental consequences. Talk to us at Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry for important guidance about children’s oral care needs.
We know that sleep-deprived new parents have a lot to worry about and it’s impossible to act on every worthy intention. Just make sure your child’s dental health isn’t put on the back burner while you figure out how to make everything work. After all, you wouldn’t put off using a child safety seat or scheduling well-child pediatrician visits.