In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM), Valley Pediatric Dentistry in Yorktown, NY, is celebrating by raising awareness and asking parents and caregivers to help fight the leading chronic infectious disease among children in the U.S.: tooth decay or “sugar bugs” (cavities) as Dr. Benjamin Dancygier (“Dr. Ben”)and the team at Valley Pediatric Dentistry calls them.
Follow these steps to kick start Children’s Dental Health Month and fight tooth decay:
- Establish a Dental Home – or home base – for your child’s oral health. Dr. Dancygier recommends a children’s first visit be at the eruption of the first baby tooth, but no later than age one.
- Begin early habits at infancy by rubbing the gums with a wash cloth after feeding. Never send a baby to bed with a bottle of milk or formula.
- Use a soft bristle, age appropriate tooth brush as soon as the first tooth appears. Gently, but thoroughly, brush teeth in a circular direction. Explain step by step what you are doing and why. Use kid-friendly terms to describe tooth decay; we use “sugar bugs.” There are many books on the market about a first visit to the dentist.
- Visit https://www.valleypediatricdentistry.com/patient-info/ for information on preventive measures, dental problems, office visits, and a 2-minute tooth brushing timer.
Begin at Infancy — Infant Visits
Dr. Dancygier is devoted to helping mothers, newborns and infants overcome nursing and feeding challenges. In infants, tongue (lingual) and lip ties can cause problems with breastfeeding for both the baby and mother as well as orthodontic development. A frenectomy is a safe and fast healing procedure that helps babies establish a good latch while feeding. Frenectomies aid in creating a successful bonding experience for a new mother and her infant during breastfeeding. We work as a team with lactation consultants to provide the best support and results for our nursing mothers and newborns.
Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is a rapid form of tooth decay and is also the most common chronic childhood disease. According to the CDC, about 1 of 5 (20%) children aged 5–11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth, and about 1 of 7 (13%) adolescents aged 12–19 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. Tooth decay can lead to distraction in school, poor performance in sports and can have behavioral impacts.
Take these steps for the prevention of cavities:
- Fluoride is beneficial both systemically and topically. Dr. Dancygier recommends a fluoride supplement until age 11 and fluoride toothpaste once the child is able to spit while brushing their teeth.
- Dental Sealants are a great protective coating that seals the occlusal or chewing surface of the tooth.
- A Healthy Balanced Diet. Limit starchy foods, sticky foods and sugary drinks.
- Limit grazing and frequent snacking. Schedule snack times for your child in the morning and afternoon and limit your child’s access to snacks in the kitchen. Have healthy snack alternatives readily available to your children (fresh fruit and veggies!).
- Rinse a child’s mouth after he or she takes any medication, especially inhalers. You should also swish some water around your mouth after eating if you do not have a tooth brush handy.
- Brush twice a day and floss at least once a day!