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Pediatric Dentist in Ponte Vedra Beach Helps Little Smiles Thrive

Pediatric dentistry is one the most predictable and effective forms of preventive dentistry. At Ponte Vedra Complete Dentistry, we strive to establish a secure foundation of oral health for your children that will last a lifetime. The work we do here is directed at helping your children have positive experiences, develop proper oral habits, and establish great overall health. Parental education is an important first step to success in pediatric dentistry, so we have included below some answers to frequently asked questions.

At what age should I schedule my child's first dental visit?

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that a child's first dental visit is scheduled near his or her first birthday. Early dental visits will allow the child to become comfortable in the dental office setting and also for parents to learn the proper ways to take care of their child's teeth and gums before any problems arise.  Possible problems with a child’s oral health that are diagnosed early are easier to treat than a late diagnosis.  Prevention is always better and less costly than treatment!

What will happen during my child's first dental visit?

We believe that educating both parents and their children about proper dental habits is important.  Dr. Townsend or Dr. Harth will review your child's overall health history and discuss any concerns you have regarding your child's dental health. We will also discuss how cavities are created and what hygiene habits and dietary habits will decrease your child's risk of tooth decay.  A thorough examination will also be completed and a discussion of the findings will ensue.

At what age should I begin brushing my child's teeth?

Once the first teeth begin to appear, a soft toothbrush should be used to clean them. A small smear of toothpaste should be utilized when brushing the teeth and a moist washcloth can be used to wipe the child's teeth after. The child should not eat or drink anything aside from water after brushing before bed. As the child gets older and the teeth begin to touch each other, it is important that flossing begins. It is important to note that children don't develop the hand skills to properly brush and floss until seven or eight, so the child will most likely require parental help during these times of coordination development.

What are the best dietary habits for my child's teeth?

Most parents are aware that foods, drinks, and snacks that contain sugar can form cavities. However, there are other aspects to a child’s oral health that should be understood. Sugary foods and foods full of starch should be avoided because they will break down in the mouth and turn into smaller sugars that can cause tooth decay. Avoiding sticky and sweet foods like fruit snacks and dried fruits is also important. These foods stick to the grooves and pits of the teeth and will allow the “bad” bacteria to set up shop and decay the teeth. Dairy products, fresh fruits, cheese, and fresh vegetables are terrific snacks for children. Milk is great for children but it is important that teeth get brushed before bed. Sippy cups and bottles also can contribute to cavities.  It is recommended that a transition from a bottle to a cup is made around one year old and that children stick to drinking only water between meals.

What should I do about fluoride?

Fluoride is a natural mineral that is added to the drinking water in most of our country and is also contained in many toothpastes and many of the foods we regularly eat. Fluoride discourages demineralization and supports healthy tooth structure as a result. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that the addition of fluoride to our tap water is one of our ten most successful achievements in public health in the 20th century. Fluoride, however, is not without problems. Fluoride that is ingested in excess can discolor teeth and possibly be a health risk if ingested in extremely high doses. A small smear of toothpaste containing fluoride is a safe and efficient method to fight a child's tooth decay; however, products containing fluoride should be stored out of reach of children.

What if cavities are found during the examination?

If cavities are found during the exam, Dr. Townsend or Dr. Harth will prepare a treatment plan that’s designed for the child's specific needs. When the child and parent(s) arrive at the office, they will discuss and explain the procedure in terms that the child is comfortable with and can understand. After that level of comfort is attained, the doctor will begin the procedure. Parents are encouraged to stay with their children during the procedure if it helps.