Dental Health with a Focus on Young Children and it is Halloween Candy Donation time again
To maintain great oral health throughout life, parents need to start the process of good oral habits for their children even before teeth erupt. A simple cotton gauze or cloth gently wiped over the gums will clean these areas but more importantly condition the child to be accepting of assistance and learn good oral health. Parents who wait to start good oral hygiene until teeth erupt will often meet with resistance and become frustrated. After teeth erupt, a soft manual toothbrush should be introduced by the parent and as the child becomes competent at brushing they should be assisted by the parent and later monitored by the parent into adolescence. Also, regular recommended visits to the dentist and the use of fluoride varnish, when indicated, will aid in prevention and early detection of any issues.
Early evaluation by a pediatric or general dentist knowledgeable in the detection of growth and development and feeding issues is recommended. Detection of tongue and lip ties will assist with feeding, swallowing, breathing and growth and development of the middle and lower face. Correcting ties and growth and development issues early will put children on a healthier path in life. Some general dentists, pediatric dentists and orthodontists are trained in early intervention for children sometimes as young as 4 years old.
Nutrition is a very important issue for young children. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding (no other foods or solids) for 6 months then continued breastfeeding combined with solid foods (not pureed food) for 2 years. Breastfeeding provides immunization, stimulation of middle and lower face growth and development and digestive health to the infant. Breastfed babies are healthier and less likely to need extensive orthodontic treatment.
It is Halloween time and our office will again participate in Operation Gratitude. We are challenging everyone reading this article to gather their extra candy after Halloween and bring it to our office. Last year we shipped over 80 pounds of candy. This year I want to donate 100 pounds or more. We will send the candy to Operation Gratitude and they will distribute it to U.S. Troops, First Responders, Veterans, Military Families and Wounded Heroes & their Caregivers. Please help us with this by dropping off your candy by November 6 to our office: 204 E. Federal St., Middleburg, VA 20117.
Dr. Robert A. Gallegos is a Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry, he is on the faculty of Spear Education, a member the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and the American Dental Association. Dr. Gallegos practices dentistry in Middleburg, VA. www.MiddleburgSmiles.com.