Good oral health is important for everyone, even for babies and young children. However, good oral health is not only about caring for your child’s teeth, it is also about educating them and yourself about the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene starting at a very young age. Also, because a lot of people are afraid of the dentist, it is best to see a pediatric dentist who specializes in working with young children so that your child’s first dental experience is a positive one.
Here are some recommendations from pediatric dentists on how to keep your child’s mouth as healthy as possible:
Start an oral regime early
Despite great advancements in decay prevention, one in four children still develop signs of tooth decay before they start school. In fact, did you know even babies can develop tooth decay if good feeding habits aren’t practiced? From an early age, if proper dental regimes aren’t implemented, your child could develop something called bottle mouth. This is when the sugars from the milk and juices stay on the teeth and gums. In severe cases of this, once the permanent teeth have actually grown in, they may have to be removed if bottle mouth isn’t treated or addressed. In older children, reports show that at least half of all kids have cavities. This is why dental care and education should start as soon as your child is born. Even before their teeth start to develop, pediatric dentists say to run a clean, damp washcloth over the gums to clear away harmful bacteria. After your child develops their first tooth (within the first six months to a year), using an infant toothbrush with water and a small amount of toothpaste (about the size of a rice grain). The Canadian Dental Association recommends that kids have their first dental exam between the ages of 1 and 2. These visits can help find problems early and help kids get used to visiting the dentist so they’ll have less fear about going as they get older. These appointments are important for parents as well. Your child’s pediatric dentist will provide information about proper brushing and flossing techniques for your child.
Use sealants to protect teeth
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S., using thin protective coatings on teeth in children may help prevent tooth decay in the molars which start sprouting at about the age of six. According to the Canadian Dental Association about 23 percent of children do suffer from tooth decay; however, only one in three children receive sealants on their teeth. By using sealants you’re drastically reducing the risk of tooth decay…so it’s best to consult your pediatric dentist to find out more.
Instill habits of brushing and flossing daily
Good dental hygiene and practices are not something that’s innate; it has to be taught in order for your children to have an effective oral regime. Colgate recommends that once your child’s teeth begin to touch you should introduce them to flossing. And always remember to brush your child’s teeth a minimum of twice daily and change the toothbrush quarterly (about four times a year) to ensure their best dental health.
Maintain proper eating habits and avoid sugars
At every age, a healthy diet is essential to healthy teeth and gums. A well-balanced diet of whole foods (including grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables, and dairy products) will provide all the nutrients you need. Avoid giving your children sugary drinks, including soft drinks and fruit drinks. These pose a special threat to teeth as they raise acid levels and can erode enamel.
It’s never too early to teach your kids proper oral hygiene techniques or check cavities and other dental problems.
Call BrightSmile today to schedule an appointment for your child.