As a dentist, we are often asked for different ways people can help boost their dental and oral health. This is a natural question, given that most people do not like spending a great deal of time at the dentist. While we definitely have a few ideas on the subject, it stands to reason that…
Mission Viejo, CA dentists prevent and treat oral health problems in kids of all ages
California has historically had more active dentists than any other state by a wide margin. Yet, our state and certainly our corner of Orange County is not immune to the tooth decay deemed the “most prevalent health problem” and “chronic disease” of school-aged kids.
More than half of California kindergarteners have signs of dental decay, according to a 2010 California School Boards Association report. U.S. kids miss an estimated 1.6 million-plus schooldays each year due to oral health-related problems. These absences cost school districts $28.8 million annually.
The untreated decay may be so bad kids stay awake at night from pain. The pain and sleeplessness makes it hard to concentrate on homework. Kids may be embarrassed by the look of their teeth. Scholastic performance suffers and social circles deteriorate.
The good news is these devastating conditions are preventable. The ADA recommends infants visit the dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth, or by their very first birthday, whichever comes first.
Community interventions are being designed to prevent or treat the most common conditions affecting children by age range, which we’ve classified by “life stage” and outlined here:
- Infants – The ADA defines Early Childhood Caries as one or more decayed, missing, or filled tooth surfaces in any child up to age 5. The bacteria responsible for ECC can be passed on from mother to child, so it’s important for expectant mother to keep up with her dental appointments. Drs. Basti also educate parents on dental habits. For instance, babies should not fall asleep sucking on bottles full of sugary drinks. Babies should be encouraged to drink from a cup by their first birthday and learn to eat fruit, not drink juice, which may be more sugar than actual fruit.
- Elementary school kids – One of the biggest concerns among younger students is the emergence of the first permanent molar around age six or seven. Since these back teeth are pitted and grooved, food becomes trapped. This surface and location pose cleaning challenges and a recipe for the decay that leads to early tooth loss. Drs. Basti prevent such devastation with sealants. Applied to uneven tooth surfaces in less time than a filling, sealants create a thin, unobtrusive plastic barrier between teeth and harmful bacteria. Sealants are covered by most insurance plans, as they are preventive procedures.
- Teens – It’s no surprise many older students have braces, though with today’s braces no one else needs to know the wearer has them because they are designed with clear and tooth-colored brackets and wires. Clear plastic aligners may be worn as alternatives to “traditional” orthodontics. Irregular growth may result in crowded or crooked teeth, bite problems, jaw joint problems, or jaw misalignment. Third molars (or wisdom teeth) may start to grow in as early as age 15. Many young mouths can’t accommodate the extra teeth, so they have to be removed. If left untreated, wisdom teeth can jeopardize the second molars (which may also be sealed as a preventive measure). Almost half of teens have gum disease. The American Academy of Periodontology notes kids going through puberty may experience gum sensitivity and irritation caused by hormonal changes.
Basti Dental Care has served as a dental “home” for generations of families through the years. Finding a place you can trust for ongoing checkups and care is a cornerstone of good oral health in Mission Viejo, CA.
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