Dental Duty

Learn when to take your child to the dentist, and what to do about specific dental problems at home.

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-I'm Pete Freyman and for Parents TV. And today, we are at the dentist's office. Place a lot of parents try to avoid. In fact, there are kids try to avoid it too. But getting your kids to go to the dentist doesn't have to be like pulling teeth-- pardon the pun. Today, we are with Dr. Brandon Schwindt, the Pediatric Dentist. And Dr. Brandon, as we like to call you, how old is our kids have to be before we go to the dentist? -What historically used to be three years of age, but we realize that we could prevent a lot of problems if children came in prior to that, so now we recommend at ages 1 or within 6 months of the first tooth erupting. -So, if your child has a tooth, it's time to go to the dentist, right? -That's right. Just to prevent any problems that may happen later. -What should we do if our child has tooth pain? -If they have tooth discomfort depending on the age. It could be just the tooth coming in or it could be more serious like cavity and call to the dentist would be the best way to go. -Okay. Are there anything that we can do at home? -Sure. If your child's really young, say, 6 months to 2 years of age, the likelihood is just teething pain. Now, what a lot of people can do is place a washed cloth or a paper towel over the gum area and put Orajel or some of top of the line anesthetics you can get at the pharmacy to decrease that discomfort. Also, Motrin and Advil do a good job as well for the young children. -Got it. What about salt water-- warm salt water? -That's a really good therapy for adults who were having gum problems. Salt water Can be problematic for children now, 'cause they like to swallow anything that goes in their mouth and cause a tummy ache and it can be more problems in its worth. -What is baby bottle mouth? I've heard a lot about that. -That-- another term for that is early childhood caries or cavities in young children. And what it is, is when children or any child has a cavity below the age of 3 is termed baby bottle mouth or early childhood cavities. And it's a really destructive disease that affects a lot of children and it limits their ability to eat and develop normally. -Some people may think-- well, they're just baby teeth. They're gonna fall out anyway. We don't have to take care of them as much as other teeth. Is that-- that's not the smart way to think about, right? -Shouldn't be-- no. Baby teeth are all gonna fall out. All 20 of them are gonna be not in the mouth at age 11 or 12 for most people. However, baby teeth can get the same cavities, unfortunately, the same pain or even infection than adult tooth can have. So, we need to take care of those just as much as permanent teeth. -It's really about creating good habits at an early age, right? -That's right. So, if your routine is to have good habits, then the routine then the routine then will be health in the long run. So, for instance, if you come in at age 5 or 6 and you have a cavity. Your first experience then is gonna be-- he's gonna put a shot in your mouth and it's gonna be painful and be no fun. However, if you come earlier for a lot of prevention visits, then the-- you know, you're gonna get a prize. It's gonna be fun. You're gonna watch movie and everything will be great. And that's what we're gonna have as an experience. -Okay. Here you have a seat. Do you feeling good? -Yeah. -I've noticed that you know all the tricks of the trade, as far as keeping kids happy during the dental exam, right? That's right. And the first part of that is, get them to trust you. And so if I jump in and just go for the mouth, that's gonna put them in defensive. And if I start with-- just talking to them or counting their fingers or talking about their Halloween costume and puts them at ease, and then, you know, we slowly-- inch towards looking at their teeth and counting their teeth as we say. Oh, look up at the movie for me, I'm just gonna put this light. -And this place is unlike a lot of dental offices that adults may be familiar with. I mean, you've got movies, you've got games-- -And really just to see from the child's perspective that it's more about fun and more about the experience and-- then getting popped, poked and prodded. And that's what we wanna have as an experience because the child's gonna grow up going to the dentist every 6 months for the rest of their lives, hopefully. We wanna continue that good habits. -I've noticed a lot of things here that would keep kids entertain or you got games, you got movies. They didn't really have that when I was a kid so much. Is that a new trend that we're seeing in pediatric dentistry? -Definitely is. We first used to just think that cleaning their teeth and going out to the door-- that was it. But we found as we put a movie on the ceiling or a prize at the end, that's what kids really remember. And if I start talking to adults and I said, what do you remember about the dentist when you were a kid? And they said, oh, that little token I received, a little prize I received at the end. That's just 20 years later. So, this is how were the trend is going. -What about fluoride? Fluoride can be very controversial. Your thoughts? -Certainly is-- especially in this part of the country, Oregon is the 48the-- least 48th state in the country. And there are some people have concerns about fluoride safety and their effects. But overwhelming majority of sciences and research shows that fluoride is very beneficial. In fact, one of the most beneficial public health measures that we've seen in the last hundred years. What fluoride does is how it affects that teeth is that, when fluoride touches the tooth, it makes it more resistant to acid which is how cavities get started. So, if children are exposed to fluoride in proper doses, you can reduce the risk of a cavity by 40 or 50 percent. -What if your child's teeth starts coming in and they're crooked or there's a space between them. Is it time to panic or do anything? -Shouldn't panic. No. But there's definitely some developmental processes that occur as a child ages both in the baby tooth and early permanent tooth stages. So, if a tooth comes in, it doesn't look quite right. Be sure and ask your dentist. But a lot of times, things shift around as a child ages and things work out just fine. -Let's talk about what our kids to eat. What is a healthy tooth diet? -Healthy tooth diet is a-- lots of, we called nutrient dense foods; protein, carbohydrates, even sugars here now were okay. What the biggest culprit for childhood cavities are things like juice and chocolate milk. Anything sugar and liquid form basically. So, if your child has some juice or chocolate cake once in a while, not a big deal. But the children who carry that sippy cup underneath their elbow all day long, those-- the kids that are really prone to cavities. So, the pediatricians recommend no more than 1/2 cup of juice per day at maximum whether it's diluted or otherwise. The bottom line is parents should always feel comfortable out going to their child's dentist and be sure to ask questions if you have any. -So, there you have it. Getting your kids to come to the dentist doesn't have to be a painful experience. In fact, you might find they even look forward to it. For Parents TV, I'm Pete Freyman. -Thank you for watching Parents TV. Our families, our lives.