By Dr. Scott Thompson, DDS, Winning With Smiles
In my office for instance: My number one objective is teaching each child how to have a lifetime of cavity free, healthy, beautiful smiles. That starts by teaching the parents how to simply, quickly and effectively prevent cavities before they get started. How to stop them if they have started. How to transition from baby teeth with cavities to adult teeth without cavities (difficult, not impossible). To do this, does your dentist:
1) Start with the parent child team as soon as the child has her/his first tooth? By age 3 the bacterial environment (for high or low risk for cavities) around the teeth has established itself for a lifetime. What parents do those 3 years will influence that environment and the dental health of their children for a lifetime.
2) Teach the parents effective and quick (20 seconds) ways to clean their children's teeth? I find I must include parents with me at chair side for all visits to successfully demonstrate this. What to do and how to coach the team changes as the child grows.
3) Teach how to evaluate your own effectiveness at home so you can verify you are getting the job done well without waiting for that 6 month check-up?
4) Teach how to evaluate how well your child is cleaning her/his mouth so you know when you can allow them to "do the job" and you know how to evaluate periodically to assure they are actually getting the job done?
5) Communicate well with your child so when she/he isn't listening to you, she/he may actually be listening to the dental team?
6) Include educating the parents early and the children later about the outside influences that will damage oral health and how to handle them in the family?
Dentistry for children has certainly become more entertaining than it used to be. That doesn't change the FACT that children's cavity experience is worse than it has ever been and is getting worse by 30% every 10 years for the last 30 years. Start your child on a healthy path early.
Oral Health begins before birth. Oral disease establishes before age 3. For the elderly who have lost their teeth, there is NOTHING in their "I Wish List" that rates higher than having their teeth back.
For your child set the right standard with the first tooth.