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Improve your dental 'cents' and save

With many financial obligations and the desire to give your children the best medical and dental care available, it is important to save money wherever possible. When evaluating your child’s dental health, this involves looking at your child’s diet, frequency of eating and drinking, and oral hygiene (brushing and flossing).

Interestingly enough, students miss more than 51 million school hours per year because of dental problems, according to the AAPD. This can result in missed time from work or commitments. Children with healthy teeth have better attendance, are more attentive in class and tend to participate more fully in school-related activities

The mouth is a gateway to your child’s health, however cavities can occur in infants, children and adolescents. What you may not know is that genetics can play a major role in who will get cavities and who will not. Some children may be born with the perfect chemistry that can prevent decay in teeth. There are individuals who do not have a single filling in their teeth, and those who have experienced many fillings, root canals and implants. There are steps that you and your child may take to lessen and even prevent cavities and dental problems before they become severe or need care.

For infants, the enamel protective cover is thinner in baby teeth than permanent teeth. Therefore, infant cavities can quickly cause severe damage, pain, poor appetite and early tooth loss of baby teeth. Prevention starts with cleaning your baby’s gum pads prior to teeth erupting. A clean cloth will be adequate. As soon as teeth come in, wipe them clean after nursing. A cloth or soft toothbrush will work well. Toothpaste is not needed. The most severe form of cavities in infants occurs when they are allowed to sleep with a bottle or sippy cup with juice or milk. Even diluted juice contains sugar that will cause decay. If you need to leave your infant with a bottle or sippy cup, plain water is harmless. It is wise to see a pediatric dentist by age one to rule out problems with your child’s teeth and for specific guidance to take care of his/her teeth.

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