With the new school year fast approaching, it is a great time to discuss the prevention of; cavities, dental trauma, anxiety at the dentist, and sun exposure to the head, face and neck.
- Start Early!-the AAPD recommends a child’s first dental visit be by one year of age. The exam is surprisingly simple and the information for the parent is invaluable!!
- “I’m Thirsty”-make sure children drink WATER between meals. NOT juice, tea, milk, soda, sport drinks, etc.
- “Can I have a snack?”-try to limit “grazing behavior” or frequent snacking. Avoid carbohydrates choosing cheese, vegetables, or fruits instead.
- Time to Brush!-Brush after breakfast and before bedtime EVERYDAY. Most children under 10 will need your help to brush properly.
- Uggh, Flossing!-Yes, at least 2-3 times a week. Again, children under 10 will need your help.
- Gum is Good!-chewing sugar-free gum between meals has been shown to decrease cavities.
- Wear a mouthguard when playing sports!
- Baby/child Proof your home as best as possible.
- Don’t let your children run or walk around with objects in their mouths.
- Wear bike helmets when riding bikes, scooter, riding toys.
- Have your first regular dental visit young, like recommended above. Injuries happen when you least expect them and to very young children, learning to walk. It is nice to have someone to call if something happens for advice or to be seen immediately if necessary, especially in the evenings or on weekends.
- Consider a pediatric dentist for your very young children. We are accustomed to treating very young children and nervous children and many general or family dentists will not see your child until age 3 or 5. We believe starting early will make your child more comfortable in the long run.
- Bring your child for regular check ups, don’t wait for something to be wrong to bring your child to the dentist. The regular check ups help prevent anxiety by detecting problems early and regular check ups build confidence because they should be FUN and EASY for you and your child!
- Positive Reinforcement at home! Speak positively about the dental visit and the dentist at home between visits. Don’t use cavities or the dentist as a threat to get children to brush their teeth.
Wilmington’s location, climate, and availability of outdoor activities in the summer (beaches, pools, boating, sporting events, etc) make us a “hot-spot” for dangerous sun exposure.
- REMEMBER, skin damage from overexposure to the sun is cumulative over the years and cannot be reversed. Once it occurs, the damage can not be undone and most of the serious damage is done BEFORE 18 years of age!!! So……
- Be careful at midday during the summer, the most intense rays are between 10 AM and 4PM
- Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply at least every 2 hours (about every 40 to 60 minutes if swimming)
- Specific thoughts for the head, face and neck: consider using a hat for your child, remember lip balm with an SPF of at least 15, apply liberally to the places most likely to be burned (forehead, nose, lips, and cheekbones)
- Have Fun!!!
Enjoy the rest of your summer and keep those chompers clean!!!
Skip Tyson, DDS and Stephanie Heaney, DDS
Wilmington Pediatric Dentistry