I admit that I am not a big fan of the dentist. Unfortunately I was in contact with some less than stellar dentists when I was a kid and that fear has stuck with me ever since. I am trying hard not to let my own anxiety interfere with my kids’ relationships with their dentist and I am thankful that, so far, none of my children have expressed or shown any fears or anxieties of their own.
We all know that oral health is a large part of our overall health and having access to dental care is important. Finding the right dentist for your child is key. The right dentist will take the time to answer your questions, address your fears, be up to date on the latest research, and know how to help keep your kids at ease.
The dentist chair is intimidating any way you look at it. (Those tools!) It’s important to find a dentist who knows how to put those little ones at ease. (And the parents too.) When you are looking for the right dentist for you and your family, there are a few questions you should be sure to ask the dentist. It will help you understand their outlook on dental care, it will provide you with great information on how to best manage your kids’ oral health at home, and what things you should avoid.
ChauLong Nguyen DDS, MAGD, a general dentist at the Menolo Park Dental Excellence in Menolo Park, California has been practicing dentistry for over 10 years and offers some important questions to ask your child’s dentist. These questions will help you decide if the dentist and practice is the best fit and how you can be an active participant in your kids’ oral health.
6 Questions Every Parent Should Ask Their Child’s Dentist 1 of 7
ChauLong Nguyen DDS, MAGD, a general dentist at the Menolo Park Dental Excellence in Menolo Park, California suggests that these 6 questions are important in choosing the right dentist for you and your family.
How Are They Doing? 2 of 7
Asking key questions about the health of your child's teeth now will give you an indication of how well they're doing in oral care and what needs to change. Dr. Nguyen suggests asking how your child is doing in terms of stain build-up and asking how to help prevent the more damaging issues like periodontal issues will lessen the chances of them developing these issues in the future. Regular brushing and flossing in addition to twice yearly dental cleanings can help combat stains and build-up. "Stains and build-up around the gums are the building blocks of Periodontal Gingivitis. Periodontal Gingivitis currently affects over 80% of the US population, and once developed, is very hard to reverse," adds Dr. Nguyen.
Safe Dental Procedures 3 of 7
Children have different needs than adults do and Dr. Nguyen adds that, "products that help strengthen an adults oral health can be dangerous for young children. Fluoride-containing products should be avoided before the age of 8, as over-consumption can lead to Dental fluorosis." Making sure your child's dentist knows the safe practices for children can help in finding the right dentist for their specific needs.
What Foods Are Safe? 4 of 7
We have all heard that candy and junk food is not healthy for your teeth, but there are other foods that can damage your child's teeth and help protect your teeth. Dr. Nguyen offers this advice, "dairy helps build enamel and protect against build-up. Nuts, fruits, and raw vegetables help stimulate your child's jaw and gums. Carbonated beverages and candies have obvious sugar effects, and hard candies should be avoided like the plague (why keep that sugar in their mouths for so long?). Starchy, high-carb foods convert to sugar in the mouth. And raisins may be nature's candy, but they're packed with non-soluble cellulose fiber which traps sugar around the teeth." Finding a dentist who will give you the ways to prevent and the ways to help is a big benefit so you will know if you're doing all you can for your child's oral health.
Will My Child Need a Specialist? 5 of 7
It may seem early to be asking about orthodontics or other dental specialists, but Dr. Nguyen suggests that the earliest this discussion happens, the best adding that we should, "get them to the orthodontist at a young age. Get their wisdom teeth out as early as possible. No one wants to don a mouth full of metal or a chipmunk face past elementary school."
How Can We Prevent Cavities? 6 of 7
No one wants to have a cavity and it can be even more heartbreaking when it develops in our children. Knowing how to help prevent cavities -- from food to avoid and how to properly brush your teeth, can help keep those cavities few and far between.
How Often Should My Child Visit? 7 of 7
Dental cleanings and office check-ups are usually recommended every 6-9 months, but finding out what advice your child's dentist recommends can help keep your child on the right schedule. Dr. Nguyen adds that, "most children can stick to the typical two-cleanings per year rule, but if they're especially difficult with maintaining good oral habits, they may want to visit more often." Your dentist should be able to suggest the best cleaning schedules and course of action with your input as well.
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