EL PASO, Texas - Dentists from The Dental Ark are teaming up with the YWCA El Paso del Norte Region to train staff and donate resources to students.
Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, of the Dental Ark, said that we should begin taking care of our children's' oral health before they have teeth, and when the first sprout to start daily brushing.
"We need to remove the bacteria, and the plaque build up in our mouths everyday," said Dr. Maldonado. "Flossing is important every night because if you don't floss you can't brush in between your teeth, that's why we use floss."
Oral care for your little one may not be a top priority because their teeth do fall out after all, but The Dental Ark Dentist Nanni Baker said that's not the case.
"Those teeth are so important because they not only provide for speech development, but also for digestion and growth, and also maintaining the space for permanent teeth later on," said Dr. Baker.
Experts at Envolve, an integrated healthcare solutions company, share five practices to protect your child.
- Wipe Gums. After each feeding, grab a piece of gauze or a wet washcloth and clean your little one's gums to remove bacteria buildup. Avoid being too rough and just dab the material gently around their gums.
- Don't Dip. Never coat children's pacifiers with honey or sugar to get them to use it. This creates an oral environment that encourages infection and promotes tooth decay. Instead, always give freshly washed pacifiers to protect gums and teeth.
- Begin Brushing. Once the first tooth emerges, start with a child-sized soft toothbrush and use a tiny amount of kid-friendly toothpaste. Don't forget to use non-fluoride toothpaste until they're able to spit on their own. It's also recommended to schedule the first dentist appointment when the first tooth emerges but no later than the first birthday.
- Limit Snacking. When your child is able to handle solid food, get in the habit of choosing snacks that are sugar-free or unsweetened. Read ingredient labels to find out if the items contain sugar or starches, which turn into sugar. Sugary snacks include candy, mints, cookies, soda and juices. Healthier, teeth-friendly snack choices are fruits and vegetables, low-fat cheese and water.
- Schedule Check-ups. It's hard to spot tooth decay in infants without a full dental examination since specific equipment and technology is needed. Small, white spots can appear on their gums above the upper front teeth but they may not be visible to you. If you suspect your child has these symptoms, contact a pediatric dentist for medical attention for early treatment and prevent further damage.
It's recommended to visit the dentist every six months to check on your teeth, gums and overall oral health. The Centers For Disease Control reported 64 percent of adults have gone one year without visiting a dentist. But when it comes to health taking preventative measures can always pay off.
A typical dental check up can cost between $85 to $100. Skipping visits can increase your likelihood for oral issues, so if you end up needing fillings you could pay up to $300, a crown could set you back more than $1,000, not to mention any serious problems.
"People don't realize that when you have an infection in one of your molars, or one of your teeth it can send you to the hospital, and it's very dangerous," Dr. Maldonado.
'When the community, the school and the home unite the outcome is usually a very successful one," said Maria Margarita Baca-Gomez, of the YWCA .