I have become a reluctant blogger. :-/ There is such need for the services of advanced dental hygiene clinicians, it is hard to 'pick a lane' or topic to write about services we can perform. However, today I found this article "Why Little Teeth Matter, written in Dimensions of Dental Hygiene, a journal for dental hygiene professionals, I thought was relevant and understandable, even if you are not a dental hygienist.
To make a long story short, if you have little ones, ask your dentist if he or she will be your baby's Dental Home. A Dental Home is just what it sounds like, a place where you can take your small child for dental care, if needed. When would that be?
Sometimes your dentist does not want to be your baby's dental home. That is understandable. Some dental offices are not 'child friendly'. They may refer you to a pediatric dentist. Ask your pediatrician if he or she can be a dental home until your child can be seen by the dentist. Some pediatricians and their staff members are trained to provide visual oral health screenings, provide oral hygiene instruction, and place fluoride varnish to prevent tooth decay.
In the early stages of life, children need dental disease prevention. I started this post with the title "Caries prevention starts by protecting the first tooth". As soon as your baby's first tooth comes in, you should begin caring for it, keeping it clean, strengthening it with fluoride, and learning how to keep it and all next 19 primary (baby) teeth that come in healthy and cavity free. Yes. it can be done. Cavities are not inevitable. Our goal, as oral health providers, is to help your child never get a cavity.
Call an RDHAP. He or she may be able to come to your home to provide this education and preventive care. An RDHAP is a dental hygienist licensed to work outside the traditional dental practice, caring for the oral health of patients unable to get dental hygiene care in the traditional office setting. Look on our "I Need an RDHAP" map for an RDHAP near you.
Elena Francisco, RDHAP, MS has been practicing dental hygiene for over 40 years and has been an RDHAP since 2005.