When you were just six weeks pregnant, your little babe’s chompers were already forming as he or she developed in utero. Crazy, right? As a mom, our first priority is our children’s health and well-being, and keeping on top of child development is truly a head-to-toe mission, with dental health being super important. Studies have shown good oral health isn’t just about properly brushed and flossed pearly whites—it may also help decrease the risk of other health problems like heart attack, stroke and diabetes, too. So as mamas, where do we start? Luckily, we got a crash course from Shore Children’s Dental Care, with offices in Avon-by-the-Sea and Manasquan, on the most important things to think about at each age and stage, what a pediatric dentist is and exactly why they are so important to your little one’s health.
What’s a pediatric dentist and why do you need one?
As we mamas know, kids need different approaches at every stage of growth and development, and the same is true for their dental health. Experts say parents should consider having their kids see a pediatric dentist for all the same reasons they see a pediatrician. Pediatric dentists are totally dedicated to the oral health of children, from infancy through teenage years. A pediatric dentist, like the dentists at Shore Children’s Dental Care, has an extra two to three years of specialized training after completing dental school solely dedicated to caring for your child’s health.
Dental issues in infant and toddler stages, according to Shore Children’s Dental Care
Shore Children’s Dental Care’s Dr. Irvin Sherman claims that one of the first reasons he sees a child has to do with breastfeeding your baby, to check for a potential lip or tongue tie issues that could be occurring. Dr. Sherman specializes in performing frenectomies, procedures that correct lip or tongue ties in babies. With the absence of any issues like that, or oral injuries, Dr. Sherman encourages moms to bring their littles to the dentist for the first time by the baby’s first birthday. It’s all about prevention, moms. A pediatric dentist like Dr Sherman will monitor the development of the baby teeth, check for any problems with the child’s bite and look out for early cavities, in addition to helping a little one get off on the right foot for brushing and flossing. This is also the time to address thumb sucking or any concerns about prolonged pacifier use.
Dental concerns in the elementary years, according to Shore Children’s Dental Care
Cavities, cavities, cavities. This is prime age for them, mamas, so be on the lookout. Dr. Sherman wants moms to know that a common misconception is that cavities, or any issues in baby teeth, aren’t much of a concern. And that could not be more wrong. The health of baby teeth can actually affect the health of adult teeth, so taking care of cavities and correcting any problems quickly is crucial. At this stage, losing baby teeth and the development of adult teeth should also be regularly monitored.
Dental concerns in pre-teens and teenagers, courtesy of Shore Children’s Dental Care
These are the orthodontic years, and Shore Children’s Dental Care has orthodontics care right in-office. As our children’s adult teeth develop, devices like palate expanders, braces, retainers and others may be needed to correct bite issues, overcrowding and the like. And of course, taking proper care of these appliances is a whole different ballgame that moms and their kids need to be in the know about, so that all the time and money pays off. Monitoring the progress of orthodontics treatment and making sure our kids follow doc’s orders is vital to making sure those teeth see the best results.