According to the Australian Institute of Health and Wellness, most dental health issues are largely preventable. Strategies to start early include:
- Counselling parents about the importance of diet and nutrition.
- Establishing good oral hygiene routines for home
- Regular dental visits
Seeking out dental care and a good at-home routine—along with practical and healthy advice—are essential for all children, even kids who still have their primary or baby teeth. It is also important to make early dental care a positive experience for kids to help guard against dental anxiety in later childhood and even into adulthood.
Lowering a Child’s Risks for Preventable Conditions Through Dentistry
According to the AFP, “Early childhood caries is the most common chronic disease in young children.” In some cases, it develops as soon as teeth erupt. Bacteria metabolise sugars to form an acid that demineralises teeth. This results in dental cavities.
- Children at an increased risk for cavities, according to AFP, should see a dentist before their first birthday. This includes children whose mothers have a high incidence of cavities.
- Dentists can also provide fluoride treatments and fissure sealants for children after a certain age, especially if they present with decay again and again.
- Fluoride treatments help restore minerals lost in tooth enamel, and sealants provide a barrier between acids and teeth, which may lower cavity risks.
If you’re seeking children’s dentistry in Coffs Harbour, NSW, the dentist offers early intervention and appointments for children of all ages. Assessments early on may help guide future oral health through prevention and planning. It can also provide guidelines for nutrition and counselling for improving at-home habits, including:
- A diet low in sugar
- Avoidance of acidic foods and drinks
However, unless there are specific issues, such as family history or early oral health issues, the Coffs Harbour dental team starts seeing children around the age of two.
These early appointments are crucial—not only to maintain a child’s oral health but also to help children acclimate to the dental clinic. Studies have found that dental anxiety in children may be related to anxiety in parents, which is why a team that makes everyone present feel at ease is so crucial.
Amalgam Fillings Are Not Cause for Concern
If you’re concerned about your dental fillings in Coffs Harbour, NSW, it’s important to know the facts.
Amalgam fillings are considered safe by experts. They are generally silver-coloured and sturdy. They tend to last for a long time and are not cause for concern. Amalgam fillings have been in use for decades and are still around today, in fact.
An amalgam filling relies on powdered alloy, which generally includes copper, silver and tin. This alloy is then coupled with liquid mercury for binding, which means a strong filling to protect your tooth.
Despite controversy and fear over mercury ingestion, research suggests that mercury poses no harm. It is neither ingested nor absorbed into the body—nor does it 'break away' to poison the blood, as internet logic and legends suggest.
Many dentists no longer use amalgam fillings (and most will even replace these fillings upon request), but this is because newer resin materials offer a better filling, and dentists may want to ease the minds of their patients.
When it comes to amalgam fillings, there is currently no evidence to suggest danger to patients.
Maintaining Oral Health in Young Children between Dental Visits
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States recommends following the 'Pearls of Wisdom' approach to children's dental care as outlined below.
- "Protect tiny teeth by caring for your mouth when you’re pregnant. Your child’s future oral health starts with you.
- Ensure to wipe your baby’s gums after each meal.
- Avoid putting babies to bed with a bottle.
- Remember to brush your child’s teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. For children younger than two years, consult with your dentist or doctor about when to start using fluoride toothpaste.
- Limit drinks and food with added sugars for children. Encourage your child to eat more fruits and vegetables and have fewer fruit drinks, cookies and candies. This gives your child the best possible start to good oral health.
- Schedule your child’s first dental visit by their first birthday or after their first tooth appears. Their tiny teeth matter!"
Besides the Pearls of Wisdom, it is also crucial to make the oral hygiene routine a positive experience for children, lowering their risks for preventable diseases later on by instilling healthy habits.
Children’s Dentistry in Coffs Harbour with Dr Justin Ward
Dr Justin Ward provides adult and children’s dentistry in Coffs Harbour, NSW. He is a proud member of:
- The Australian Society of Implant Dentistry
- The International Congress of Oral Implantologists
- ITI International Team for Implantology
He enjoys treating children of all ages and providing them with positive dental experiences each time they visit our dental clinic.
Dr Ward invites families and children from all locations and offers sedation dentistry for adults and kids who need a little extra comfort and reassurance.