Your family dentist is treating the babies of Baby Boomers now, lots and lots of them! But the new generation can expect entirely different child dental health experiences than Mom and Dad remember. Fluorides and sealants have virtually eliminated the rampant tooth decay problems of the early '50s. For Baby Boomer's Babies, cavity prevention should be, well, a piece of cake.
Primary teeth work hard. Those 20 teeth pave the way for permanent teeth. If they're lost prematurely, replacement teeth can crop up in unexpected, and unhealthy, places. Keep every tooth you can in that young noggin.
Boys, young and old, have written the book on knocked-out teeth. If it's not a skateboard accident, it's falling off fences. But since girls are participating in sports more frequently now, statistics are expected to equalize. Good argument for a mouth guard.
That all-important first visit to the pedodontist (pediatric dentist) should come early on. The family dentist needs a little time to gain trust, so he or she would rather see a child at a young age, before he or she needs to see a drill because of cavities.
Get your child used to the feeling of clean teeth. Child dental care should begin in babyhood before teething begins by gently rubbing the teeth and gums with a pad of gauze after every feeding. This is when positive dental health attitudes begin. And never put your baby to bed with a bottle full of milk. Cavities can develop even before a child's teeth have erupted from what is known as baby bottle tooth decay.
What's the going rate for a lost baby tooth? In an informal survey, the highest reward for a tooth under the pillow was $5.00, reflecting a very good year for the child! More commonly, the payment ranges from 25¢ to a dollar. A youngster who banks all his money from the tooth fairy can put away $5-$20 for a rainy day.
Who ever thought braces could be a fashion statement? Check it out: retainers now come in neon and glow-in-the-dark colors, and elastics can be had in Monster Purple and Slime Green. Allllriiiiiight.
Lucky for us it's the 21st century. Dental folklore in the mid-1800's proposed this treatment for growing youngsters: "To make the teeth of children grow hastily, take the brain of a hen and rub the gums therewith." If nothing else, there was fried chicken for Sunday dinner, anyway.
A study of tooth brushing techniques in groups of children aged 7 through 11 shows definite styles of brushing, according to age. Younger children use long, exuberant, not-too-effective strokes (parents must help!) and fewer of them; older kids use more pressure and more frequent, shorter strokes. Just remember what every pediatric dentist will tell you: the key to good child dental health is practice, practice, practice.