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How often should my child see the dentist?

It is recommended by The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry that children should get dental check-ups at least twice a year. If your child has an increased risk of tooth decay, unusual growth patterns, or poor oral hygiene, they may need to make more visits to the dentist. The pediatric dentists at Erica Lewis-Mead, D.D.S. & Katherine Barnes, D.D.S. will go over the best dental care schedule for your child's needs.


Why does my child need to visit the dentist twice a year when they have

never had a cavity?

Regular dental visits will help your child stay cavity-free. Teeth cleanings remove debris that builds up on their teeth that may irritate the gums and cause decay. Fluoride treatments renew the fluoride content in their enamel, strengthen the teeth, and prevent cavities. Hygiene instructions improve your child's brushing and flossing habits that lead to cleaner teeth and healthier gums.


Your pediatric dentist also provides an ongoing assessment of changes in your child's oral health. For example, your child may need additional fluoride treatments, dietary changes, or sealants for continued dental health. Our pediatric dentists may identify orthodontic problems and suggest treatment to guide the teeth as they emerge in the mouth.


How can I help my child maintain good dental health?

You can take the following steps to help keep your child cavity-free:

  • Beware of frequent snacking

  • Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste

  • Floss once-a-day

  • Have sealants applied when needed

  • Schedule regular dental check-ups

  • Ensure proper fluoride through drinking water, fluoride products, or fluoride supplements


How does my children’s diet affect their dental health?

Your children must have a balanced diet for their teeth to develop properly and maintain healthy gum tissue around their teeth. It is also important to note that a diet high in certain kinds of carbohydrates, such as sugar and starches, may place your child at a higher risk for tooth decay.


How do I make my children’s diet safe for their teeth?

The most important step is to be sure that they have a balanced diet. Check how frequently they eat food with sugar or starch in them. Food with starch includes breads, crackers, pasta, snacks, pretzels, and potato chips. When you are checking for sugar intake, you need to look beyond the sugar bowl and the candy dish. A variety of food contains one or more types of sugar, and they all can promote dental decay. Fruits, some vegetables, most milk products, processed food, peanut butter and jelly, ketchup, and salad dressings all have at least one type of sugar that can cause tooth decay.


Should my child give up all food with sugar or starch?

No, many of these types of food provide nutrients your child needs. The key is to select and serve the food wisely. Food with sugar or starch is safer for teeth if it is eaten as part of a meal and not just as a snack. Sticky food, such as dried fruit or toffee, is not easily washed away from the teeth by saliva, water, or milk. Therefore, they have more cavity-causing potential than other food. Our pediatric dentists will provide you with all the knowledge that you need to make smart decisions about selecting and serving food that promotes and protects your child’s dental health.


Does a balanced diet ensure that my child is getting enough fluoride?

No. A balanced diet does not guarantee that your child is getting the proper amount of fluoride needed for healthy teeth. If you don’t live in a fluoridated community or have an ideal amount of naturally-occurring fluoride in your well water, your child may need a fluoride supplement during the years of tooth development. We will help assess the level of supplemental fluoride your child needs to keep their teeth healthy.


My youngest isn't on solid food yet. Do you have dental care suggestions for him?

To encourage healthy teeth growth, it is recommended that you do not nurse a young child to sleep or put him to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, juice, or sweetened liquid. While a child sleeps, any liquid that remains unswallowed in their mouth feeds bacteria that produces acids and attacks the teeth. Protect your child from severe tooth decay by putting him to bed with nothing more than a pacifier or a bottle of water.


Any final advice for child dental care?

Sure. Here are a few tips for your child's diet and dental health:

  • Ask our pediatric dentists to assess your child's diet.

  • Shop smart! Do not routinely stock your pantry with sugary or starchy snacks. Buy "fun food" just for special times.

  • Limit the number of snack times throughout the day and choose nutritious snacks.

  • Provide your child with a balanced diet and save food with sugar or starch for mealtimes.

  • Don't put your young child to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, or juice that may contain sugar.

  • If your child chews gum or drinks soda - choose the ones without sugar.

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