Head Start Mobile Dental Care
Children should have regular dental care as soon as the last tooth appears in the back of the child’s mouth – usually around age 3. After that, children should have dental visits every six months so that the dentist can check for cavities and apply fluoride to the child’s teeth.
Southeastern Mobile Dental Services, Inc. sends their mobile dental clinic to Head Start sites in Fairfax County. Children benefit from Southeastern's state-of-the-art equipment and state-licensed dentists, dental assistants, hygienists and technicians.
Services include dental exams, x-rays, fillings and simple extractions. If more in-depth treatment is needed, the child can be referred to a local dentist. Southeastern also prepares individual treatment plans for children enrolled in Head Start.
Sleeping With Bottles Causes Tooth Decay
Many parents put infants and toddlers to bed with a bottle because it helps the child settle down. Unfortunately, when children fall asleep with a bottle in their mouths, the milk or juice from the bottle pools around their teeth.
Just like an adult’s mouth, a baby’s mouth is full of bacteria. These bacteria feed on sugars found in the things we eat and drink. The bacteria produces acid, which attacks the teeth and causes cavities.
Baby teeth are more susceptible to tooth decay than adult teeth. When children go to sleep night after night with a bottle in their mouths, the constant acid attacks cause cavities to form.
What Parents Can Do
If your child’s first teeth already have decay, take your child to the dentist to have their cavities filled, and ask the dentist about putting sealants on your child’s teeth. Also ask a dentist or doctor about giving your child fluoride drops or fluoride vitamins.
Make sure your children brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Children older than 6 can use adult-strength fluoride.
If your children are 7 or younger, let them try to brush their teeth by themselves, but do a final brush for them after they’re done.
- Don’t allow children to rinse their mouths out after brushing their teeth.
- Children should only drink juice or soda with meals or snacks. Stick to milk or water at other times.
- Make sure your child uses a straw with carbonated drinks.
- Discourage your child from sipping one drink for a long time.
- Desserts should be eaten with meals, not by themselves.
Children also benefit from having sealant put on their permanent teeth, and being screened by an orthodontist.