Amy Beauvais, DMD | For The Bulletin
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that all children establish a dental home no later than a child’s first birthday. Dentists play an integral role in a child’s oral health by providing anticipatory guidance to families, restorative and preventative treatment, as well as to have a place for parents and children to turn if there is ever a dental emergency. It is recommended that children visit the dentist’s office every six months for a cleaning, exam and application of fluoride varnish.
It is important that all children brush their teeth twice a day with the help of an adult using fluoridated toothpaste. For children under the age of 3 years old, it is recommended that a smear or rice grain size amount of toothpaste is used. For children who are over 3 years old and can expectorate, it is recommended that no larger than a pea size amount of toothpaste should be used.
All children should eat a well-balanced and nutritional diet to help them grow healthy and strong. Cavities can be caused by the intake of too much sugary, sticky and acidic foods. It is important that children drink water to stay hydrated and that consumption of juice is limited to help prevent dental decay. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 1 do not drink any juice, that children ages 1-3 years only consume 4oz of juice per day and that children ages 4-6 years only drink 4-6 oz/per day.* It is also very important that parents do not put their children to bed with a bottle or sippy cup as this can cause bottle rot, which is when cavities form on the top baby teeth.
As children begin playing sports and partaking in afterschool activities, it is very important that the intake of sports drinks and sodas are limited as their acidity and sugar content are a huge culprit of cavities in young adults and teenagers.
*1. Heyman, Melvin B., et al. “Fruit juice in infants, children, and adolescents: current recommendations.” Pediatrics 139.6 (2017).
Amy Beauvais, DMD, is a dentist at United Community & Family Services.