INFANT TO TEEN DENTAL CARE IS MORE THEN BRUSHING!
Dr. Phadnis, contributing writer
New parents quickly learn the in’s and out’s of caring for an infant, but they may be overlooking a critical health threat: tooth decay. Dentist Dr. Ukti Phadnis educates parents about the ABC’s of oral hygiene before the first baby tooth even appears.
“Parents don’t often realize that they need to immediately get into the habit of cleaning a baby’s mouth to remove harmful bacteria,” said Dr. Phadnis, owner of Wethersfield Dental Group. “I use ABC to keep it top of mind – Avoid Baby Bottle Cavities. Simply wipe the baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad or washcloth after each feeding. This also gets children into the routine of taking care of their teeth.”
Dr. Phadnis warns against the particularly harmful practice of putting a baby to bed with a bottle. Baby bottle tooth decay happens when even liquids with natural sugars like milk, formula or fruit juice remain in the baby’s mouth for a long period of time. Bacteria in the mouth thrive on this sugar and make acids that attack newly erupting teeth. Also avoid dipping a pacifier in a sweetened liquid or “cleaning” it by putting it your own mouth.
During National Children’s Dental Health month in February, Dr. Phadnis is urging parents to schedule their child’s first visit to the dentist as soon as the first tooth is visible or before a child’s first birthday.
“Although baby teeth are temporary, they are necessary for chewing, speaking, and smiling,” said Dr. Phadnis. “They also serve as placeholders for the adult teeth. If teeth are infected or lost too early due to baby bottle tooth decay, a child may develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked and even damaged adult teeth.”
The facts are that 42% of children ages 2 to 11 have had cavities in their primary teeth and 23% of them do not receive treatment. These kids have an average of 1.6 decayed primary teeth and 3.6 decayed primary surfaces.
Dr. Phadnis also uses the ABC abbreviation to educate preschool children on the basics of proper dental care. “Across, Backs and Cracks makes it simple for kids to remember to brush across their mouths completely from one side to the other, don’t forget the back’s of the teeth, and floss the cracks in between teeth to clean all surfaces.” She often visits children at daycare centers and camps to demonstrate proper brushing and flossing with the help of her stuffed mascot Mr. Dino, and explain how the food we eat can cause damage.
“It’s imperative that we teach children as soon as possible about the importance of taking care of their teeth,” said Dr. Phadnis. “Habits they develop now will carry through the rest of their lives and we want to set them up for healthy dental futures.”
Dr. Phadnis shares her top oral care tips and information for kids and parents:
- Limit exposure to sugar in junk foods & drinks. It’s not only about how much sugar you eat, but how long it’s drowning your teeth.
- Look for many different types of sugar including sucrose, glucose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup and others.
- Only drink fruit juice at breakfast time.
- Parents need to brush and floss their children’s teeth up until the age of 12.
- Power toothbrushes for kids scrub bacteria off the teeth, while massaging the teeth and gums together.
- Brush and floss thoroughly twice a day, preferably after breakfast and dinner.
- Teach children that visiting the dentist is a necessity, not a choice, and that the dentist is their friend who only wants to help them take care of their teeth.
- Gingivitis and periodontitis can also affect children.
Wethersfield Dental Group is a full service dental, cosmetic and restorative practice. Dr. Ukti G. Phadnis, DMD strives to deliver quality dental care through patient education and preventative care for the whole family.The office is located at 55 Town Line Rd Suite 100 in Wethersfield. Visit us online at wethersfielddentalgroup.com or call (860) 400-3007.