ohMental health is so important to infants, but it is often overlooked following other doctor’s appointments and visits. The truth is, oral health can affect a child’s overall well-being, so it’s best to start on the path to healthy teeth and gums in infancy.
Dr Ryan Roberts, a certified pediatric dentist since 2011 and founder of On the Cusp Pediatric Dentistry, points out that a child’s first dental exam should take place before their first tooth or first birthday. His office follows these guidelines in order to have the opportunity to educate parents on how to prevent tooth decay and cavities, as well as to have the ability to identify early problems and treat them before the onset of dental disease. toddler phase.
“To avoid dental problems, be aware of the frequency and exposure to sugars you are giving your children,” said Dr Roberts. “Even if you are great brushers morning and night, if the child is allowed to snack on foods containing carbohydrates all day long, it can cause cavities. Don’t let your kids snack all day at home – three meals a day with two or three snacks.
While most parents are guilty of filling their child’s cup with apple juice, Dr Roberts advises against this, saying these sugary juices are the worst culprits when it comes to cavities. “The bottle is not for juice. Juice is only of value when your child is constipated and not for nutrition or vitamins. Even if it’s diluted, it’s not a healthy choice.
Identify and treat tongue tie and lip tie
Dr Roberts is one of the few pediatric dentists in the Tulsa area who are trained in the identification and treatment of tongue and lip attachments in infants. Tongue tether is a condition in which an excessive amount of tissue is found under the tongue, restricting movement. Likewise, lip attachment is an excessive amount of tissue located between the upper lip and the gum tissue. This tissue is called the frenulum, and the procedure to treat the attached tongue or lip by removing the excess tissue is called a frenectomy. In Dr. Roberts’ experience, this is a very impactful procedure that can tremendously help children affected by tongue or lip attachment.
Research has shown that the tongue tie and lip tie are present in about 20 percent of the population. Fortunately, there are signs parents can look for to determine if this is a condition their child might be facing. If your baby is having difficulty breastfeeding or sucking, a bond on the tongue or lips may be the reason, as these conditions often inhibit the baby’s ability to effectively transfer milk. This can lead to poor weight gain, slow weight gain, and even weight loss in extreme cases. Parents are also encouraged to examine their child’s mouth to see if there is a band of tissue connecting the upper lip and gum tissue or by rubbing under the child’s tongue to see if there is a lump or which looks like a very tight string.
If a frenectomy is necessary for the well-being of the child, Dr. Roberts typically performs a scissor and / or laser release for infants. Laser release is preferable due to its precision as it cauterizes the tissue, so there is little to no bleeding after the procedure. It is recommended to treat the attachment of the tongue or lips when the child is less than 12 months old. It becomes significantly more difficult to treat at the age of toddlers because children are bigger, they have teeth and they bite! The care of wounds after the procedure is also extremely important. In order to manage the site and the wound, the tissue must be physically stretched so that it does not reattach. This process is not advised to be done in the mouth of a very angry and screaming 2 year old child with teeth.
Although he’s never seen a child grow too big for their tongue or lips, every child’s experience is different. “We treat on the basis of symptoms,” said Dr Roberts. “If a child has a tongue bond, but is physically healthy and transfers milk extremely well with no particular problem, do we want to take care of it? And the answer is that it all depends on the child.
If you are interested in learning more about pediatric dental care, Dr. Roberts and his team recently published a new book, “The Essential Guide to Children’s Oral Health“. It contains a risk assessment tool for tongue attachment, lips and cavities, as well as age-appropriate tips and tricks to promote oral hygiene habits that they will keep with them for the rest of their life.