Early Childhood Dentistry in Pomona, CA

What Is the Importance of Early Childhood Dental Care?

December 1, 2023
Establishing a lifetime of healthy smiles starts early, so quality pediatric dental care during a child's first years is vital. Early preventive dental visits are the foundation for protecting young smiles today and in the future.

Why Is Early Childhood Dental Care Vital?

According to the American Dental Association, every child should see the dentist by their first birthday or when the first tooth erupts. Early oral exams serve several important purposes:
  • Timely detection of tooth decay - Baby teeth are susceptible to cavities. Early detection makes treatment easier and less expensive.
  • Identify oral health issues - Developmental dental problems like malocclusion (misalignment) are best treated early through palate expanders or braces.
  • Establish a dental home - Children benefit from consistent care from the same dentist who understands their unique needs.
  • Encourage positive associations - An early introduction when children are receptive makes visiting the local dentists for kids less intimidating.
  • Educate parents - Dentists can advise parents on proper care techniques, dietary factors, habits to avoid, and approaching teething, among other things.
The early years set the precedent for a child's lifetime approach to oral health. Starting infants off right leads to better outcomes as they grow.

Preventing Tooth Decay: Key Role of Early Dental Visits

Tooth decay in young children often results from prolonged exposure to sugary liquids. Baby bottle tooth decay affects upper front teeth primarily. Early childhood dentistry in Pomona, CA, focuses on prevention education and treatments like:
  • Fluoride varnish - Protective coating painted on teeth every 3-6 months to prevent mineral loss
  • Dental sealants - Plastic coatings adhered to deep grooves on chewing surfaces where decay occurs
  • Brushing tips - Proper technique and recommended amount of fluoridated toothpaste
With early and consistent dental care, parents learn how protecting developing teeth prevents extensive decay-related problems later.

Establishing Healthy Oral Habits from a Young Age

From the start, dentists work with parents on ingraining excellent oral hygiene habits in children, including:
  • Thorough daily brushing - When teeth erupt, use a soft brush with a smear of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Flossing - When teeth contact each other, flossing should start daily.
  • Healthy diet - Limiting sugary beverages, especially between meals and before bed.
  • Regular dental visits - Seeing the dentist every six months to reinforce positive habits.
Setting these pillars early establishes routines that become second nature as children mature. It's vital to involve kids in the process so positive associations develop.

Addressing Developmental Issues Through Early Interventions

Besides decay prevention, early dental visits identify developmental problems in the mouth and jaw requiring intervention, such as:
  • Malocclusion - Misalignment of top and bottom rows of teeth. Palate expanders can correct this.
  • Speech issues - For example, a gap between front teeth can affect S sounds.
  • Teeth crowding - Teeth coming in jammed together may need extraction.
  • Oral habits - Sucking your finger or thumb can impact permanent teeth coming in. Appliances can help.
  • Bruxism - Early grinding or clenching addressed before causing permanent damage.
The earlier these issues are identified, the better the outcome from orthodontic appliances or speech therapy.

Boosting Confidence: The Impact of Healthy Smiles on Children

Cavities and other oral issues adversely affect a child's smile. It can undermine self-confidence. Early intervention ensures healthy permanent teeth come in straight, boosting self-esteem. Seeing the dentist regularly reorients the child every six months on the importance of dental health. It positively influences their attitude as they grow up. Starting children on the right foot helps them smile confidently for a lifetime. In summary, the essential foundation of oral health begins in the earliest years. Early and routine pediatric dentists near you pay dividends throughout childhood and beyond, from decay prevention to instilling good habits to addressing developmental issues. The friendly dentists at Highland Dental in Fort Atkinson, WI, can help safeguard your child's beautiful smile starting at age one.