As a kid-friendly dentist in Alexandria we treat young children and are the best place to bring your preschooler and elementary age child for their first checkup. We realize that a lot of parents don’t bring their child to the dentist until they are much older. This, however, is a mistake. Your child can develop cavities as young as their toddler years and visiting our kid-friendly dentist office, is one way to prevent them.
What You Should Know
As a parent, you naturally want what is best for your child. Many parents are unaware of how oral health and dental care plays into that. According to the Center for Disease Control, tooth decay (cavities) is the number one most commonly occurring infectious disease among children. This leads to children experiencing toothaches in high numbers, missing days from school, and experiencing overall discomfort. Tooth decay is not a trivial thing, but a condition that can create significant discomfort for your child and even make it difficult for them to eat, speak clearly, and engage in normal daily activities. If you live in the 22314 area and think that this won’t happen to your child, statistically, it most likely will. Brushing and flossing at home will help, but it isn’t enough. You need to bring your child to our kid-friendly dentist office twice a year so that we can examine and clean their teeth in order to remove the plaque and bacteria that can lead to cavities in the first place.
Resources You Can Use at Home
In addition to visiting our kid-friendly dentist office, it is important that you practice good oral hygiene at home and teach your child to do the same. In our dental office, we work with a lot of children under age eight and understand how challenging it can be to get them excited about brushing teeth. Kids are busy and asking them to stop riding bikes, building Legos, or playing dress up to brush their teeth can lead to conflict fairly quickly. We get it. At Old Town Dentistry, we are experts in working with young children and are under no illusion that they are fascinated by oral health. Our job, however, is to change their opinion of dental care and show them that it can be fun and interesting. This way they will want to brush and floss their teeth, even without being told. With that in mind, we have a few resources that we have found to be helpful and suggest that you try them at home.
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If you live in or around Alexandria, VA we invite you to schedule an appointment with our dental office so that we can examine your child’s teeth and teach them how to brush properly. Even if your child is already brushing, there is a good chance that they are doing it wrong and missing a lot of the plaque that has built up on their teeth. A simple video tutorial is a resource you can use at home. You can find one on the American Dental Association’s website or even on YouTube. Playing a video that shows your child how to brush is a good reminder for them and, since they are used to receiving information this way, they are likely to receive and digest it better than if you reminded them.
Once your child is brushing correctly, it is time to turn your attention to how long they are brushing for. At Old Town Dentistry we encourage all of our patients to brush for two minutes, twice a day, regardless of how old they are. This, however, can be difficult for young children that find it hard to focus on a task or to stay still. As a kid-friendly dentist, we want them to brush their teeth but staying still isn’t a requirement. Try making it fun to brush teeth by playing their favorite song for two minutes and letting them dance and brush. You can also play a two-minute video clip or cartoon for them while brushing. The American Dental Association has an entire section of their website devoted to these short videos and watching them will get your child used to brushing for the full two minutes. We have worked with families throughout the 22314 area and have found that using media works far better than standing there with a stopwatch. The goal is to create positive associations between dental care and having fun so that your child will continue to brush their teeth as they grow.
As a kid-friendly dentist office in Alexandria, we are focused on preventative care. It is far better for your child to visit us for a regular tooth cleaning than to only see us with a toothache. Fortunately, by using preventative care methods we can help your child to avoid experiencing any dental discomfort. In addition to cleaning their teeth, one of the ways that we do so is with dental sealant. Many children have deep ridges in their teeth. When they bite down and chew food, bacteria, food particles, and plaque can become trapped in those ridges and eventually they will create tooth decay. These areas are particularly difficult to clean with a toothbrush alone, so even the most fastidious of parents may find it challenging to keep cavities at bay. By using dental sealant, a protective layer is placed onto the teeth so that nothing can become stuck in these ridges. The procedure is painless and fast since all we need to do is brush a material onto the teeth and allow it to harden. At Old Town Dentistry, we have found this to be a simple way to prevent our young patients from getting cavities.
Regular Fluoride Treatments
Another tool for prevention is our regular fluoride treatments. We recommend that all children have this throughout their teenage years. If you aren’t on public water, this is particularly important for preventing cavities. Statistically, if your child has a fluoride treatment in our dental office, their risk for getting cavities decreases by thirty percent. This is significant when you are considering the overall health and wellbeing of your child. With that in mind, we use whatever tools are at our disposal to ensure that your child is as healthy and as comfortable as possible both now and as they age. If you live in the Alexandria area, we invite you to schedule a dental exam by calling 703-683-0800.