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From the Desk of Dr. Matz

July 02, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Preparing kids for a lifetime of healthy teeth

It's bittersweet to see some children that I've treated for 25 years now getting married. But as I look back on my relationship with them I have a few tips for new parents:

Get a good start with a happy visit.
As needed, we treat the child's first exposure to us as a "happy visit". The happy visit is a nonthreatening getting to know you appointment where we can show the child what occurs during an appointment and ease them into it. This sets the stage for good experiences throughout life. I am successful treating fearful adults but would rather there not be fearful adults.

Help children under the age of six brush their teeth.
We recommend parental involvement in the child's daily oral hygiene procedures. Small children do not have the concentration nor the dexterity to properly brush their teeth. It's awesome that some parents even floss their children's teeth.  This is very helpful in establishing the child's future habits when they are on their own. I have always said it's important to realize that children inherit their parents habits more than their genes.

Be firm when it comes to snacking habits.
Remember the days when pop was a treat only on Saturday nights? We need to get a tough love attitude when it comes to a child's snacking choices. Limit pop and sugary snacks. And be aware that many high carbohydrate snacks can act a lot like sugar. The most frustrating thing for me is when a mom asks why her child has so many cavities as the child is in front of us drinking a large sugary drink.

I consider it to be one of my personal goals to treat every child gently and preventively so that they do not become fearful adults. And I would love it if your children got to age 50, like me, with only three fillings... or better!