When a baby is born, the parents’ first concern becomes the infant’s health. Does he have a regular heartbeat? Can she breathe easily on her own? Are there signs of any infant health conditions? Parents continue to worry and to follow up on the child’s health from infancy through childhood. Ask yourself if you pay as much attention to your baby’s oral health as his medical health. Do you want to know the risks for oral health problems?
Valley Ridge Family Dental and children’s dentist Dr. Jessica Johnson introduce an oral health risk quiz for your child, based on a tool developed and tested by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Assess Your Child’s Oral Health Risk
Answer the following questions to determine if your child’s oral health may be at risk.
1. Which of the following options places a child’s oral health at high risk?
a. the child drinks fluoridated water
b. the mother or primary caregiver had active decay in past 12 months
c. the child skips brushing teeth once per month
d. the child is checked for plaque by the dentist
The answer: b. Research shows that children with mothers or primary caregivers who have had active decay in the past 12 months are at high risk to develop tooth decay or cavities, also known as caries.
2. When a mother or primary caregiver does not have a dentist, the child’s oral health risk is:
a. higher than if the mother or primary caregiver has a dentist
b. lower than if the mother or primary caregiver has a dentist
c. the same as if the mother or primary caregiver has a dentist
d. higher than if the father has a dentist
The answer: a. If the mother or primary caregiver does not have a regular dentist or source of dental care, this puts the child at greater risk for caries.
3. True or False: A young child should use a Sippy cup or bottle filled with juice as much as the child desires.
The answer: b. Sippy cups or bottles filled with any drink other than water create a higher risk factor for the child’s oral health. Sugar and acid in juice and soda are especially bad for children’s teeth as they lead to cavities by breaking down tooth material.
4. The best types of snacks for children’s oral health include:
a. baked goods
b. Halloween candy
c. starchy pasta
d. cheese, vegetables, and fruit
The answer: d. Reducing the number of daily snacks the child eats and allowing healthy foods such as cheese, vegetables, and fruit decreases the child’s dental health risk factor. Sugar produces acid which is harmful to the teeth. Frequent snacking, and snacking on sugar and refined carbohydrates directly, contribute to dental decay.
5. Children at greater risk for cavities include which of the following:
a. children who brush their teeth daily
b. children who live in Iowa
c. children with special health care needs
d. children who have been adopted
The answer: c. Children with special health care needs experience differences in diet, special conditions such as dry mouth, difficulty in completing their oral hygiene tasks, and other difficulties that create high risk conditions for tooth decay.
Overcoming Risk Factors
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that each child have a dental home, or regular, licensed, family-centered dentist, by age one. Other recommended protective factors include drinking fluoridated water or taking fluoride supplements, brushing teeth daily, and going to the dental office for checkups and treatment. Communication between the medical doctor and the family or pediatric dentist ensures coordinated care for the child.
Dr. Johnson’s family dentistry practice serves West Des Moines, Waukee, Clive, Urbandale, and the surrounding Des Moines metro communities. Her caring office staff at our 50265 dentist office provides early dental care for children including examinations, cleanings, dental sealants, and fluoride treatments to help the children protect their teeth as they learn about daily dental care. Call (513) 223-9764 to schedule your child’s dental visit.