Infants and Toddlers cannot speak for themselves, much less reach out to dental professionals or media for help in attaining better oral care. However, if infants could speak on behalf of the health of their tiny teeth, what would they say? Elizabeth McAvoy, RDH, mother and dental hygienist, addressed the issue of early infant and toddler dental care in a recent article, “A Wake-Up Call to Infants: Dentists Recommend a Healthier Lifestyle” in the online magazine, Dental Buzz.
In Honor of Dentistry for Infants, Toddlers, Children, Tweens and Teens
She began with the comment, “Dental professionals have issued a serious wake-up call to infants around the world, encouraging them to live a healthier lifestyle.” As you can see, her gently satirical article presumed a new wisdom in in the minds of dentally concerned infants.
Then she added, “The bold announcement comes in the wake of new research that suggests up to 40% of American children have cavities and more serious dental caries by the time they reach kindergarten.”
And she stunned parents with the following remark. “According to a new study, those cavities are most likely the result of an unhealthy lifestyle during infancy.”
We at Dentistry for Children, add that your infant or toddler is totally defenseless about preventing his/her own decay. They are even helpless to brush his or her one little tooth. She stressed this and parental responsibility by writing in a tongue-in-cheek manner.
A Unique Perspective for Parents with Infants and Toddlers
She was reporting as if babies could think and communicate on an adult level.
She wrote, “Infants Respond to Warning, Asking Parents for Help…In the wake of the University of Illinois study, infants are asking parents for help in preventing the accumulation and spread of oral bacteria.”
And she continued, “Urging parents to better understand the basics of bacteria and oral hygiene for infants, babies hope to reduce the incidence of tooth decay among kindergartners…”
Here at Dentistry for Children, we continue her crusade. And we extend her metaphor in today’s blog about the Infants’ Demand for Better Dental Care.
From Infants and Toddlers: A List of Demands for Better Dental Care
1. First Dental Demand: Babies want a Dental Risk Assessment Early in Life. Infants say, “Give us an oral health risk assessment by the time we are 6 months old.” The infants add, “We want an initial oral check-up and health assessment.”
At Dentistry for Children, Dr. King will meet and greet your infant. The Doctor will get acquainted with him or her, and proceed to examine gums and mouth structure in detail.
2. Second Dental Demand: Toddlers Demand Dental Home
Infants are advocating that parents should establish a ‘dental home’ for their child. And it should be done by the age of 12 months. Thus, you will begin a record of oral medical history for both parents and child.
And furthermore, February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Therefore, we at Dentistry for Children thought it would be the perfect time to advocate for the Dental Home. It is one of our favorite dental concepts.
“Appointments early in life may help to determine the child’s susceptibility to oral disease, decay, and dental caries.”
Infants Deserve a Dental Home
According to the AAPD, only one in ten parents are aware of the concept of a dental home, and Dr. King and the staff at Dentistry for Children are out to change that, one parent at a time. As we have stated previously, the “Dental Home” is more than a place, although the dental home is housed in warm and kid-friendly place.
Preventing Decay Means Early Dental Care
By definition, this concept means so much more, both to the child and to us. “It is an ongoing relationship with a primary dental care provider and a patient in which oral healthcare is delivered in a comprehensive, continuously accessible and family-centered manner.”
That might sound a little formal, but it means we here ast Dentistry for Children, take care of our young patients in an atmosphere of joy, with our focus constantly set on their comfort and safety.
One-Year-Olds Are Leading the Fight for the Dental Home
The relationship between you, your child and the dentist begins in your child’s first year. It begins with the first tooth. And this is a shocking statistic for many parents. Recently, we have found that 40% of parents surveyed delayed their child’s first dental visit until age two or even age three. Experts and the AAPD have proven this seemingly small delay can create a negative impact on a child’s general as well as oral health.
Third Dental Demand: Infants Are Fighting for Early Education in Oral Hygiene
Even with conscientious visits, decay can set in if parents do not take oral care seriously. Keeping a clean mouth begins even before teeth erupt.
Babies want their gums gently cleansed with a wash cloth. Believe it or not, parents you are giving him his first introduction to the feeling of a clean mouth and mouth care at its most basic level.
Older toddlers want help with toothbrushes and toothpaste. In fact, they are demanding more than help. They expect to have parents clean their teeth for them, twice a day, even before they have all 20 of them.
First Fast Facts about Baby Teeth:
1. Did you know that a baby’s 20 primary teeth are already present, although invisible, within your baby’s tiny jaws at birth?
2. The teeth begin to erupt when the baby is 6 months to a year old.
3. By the age of three, your child will have a full set. Oddly, the first teeth to appear are usually on the top or bottom in the front of the mouth. (And just as usual, we think this look is adorable.)
Infants and toddlers are also making demands about everything from teething treatments to bottle feeding to nutrition. And, just wait until you hear what toddlers say about Sippy cups!
Those demands and others from the children will be addressed by our next blog, Part Two.
At Dentistry for Children, we know most parents want to do the right things for their children’s dental health. They might be simply unaware of the importance of a very early start in life-time care of the infant’s, primary child’s teeth. Like we said, we are committed to changing that, one parent at a time.