Caring for your child’s teeth is an essential part of making sure they grow up healthy and happy. For new parents, family dental care can be quite intimidating at times. Some questions that may arise are: “How often should they visit a pediatric dental specialist?”, “What foods are bad for their teeth?”, “How often should they brush their teeth?” “What type of toothpaste should they use?”. These questions are normal. That’s why we’ve created a child dental care checklist to make new parenting a little easier.
Preventative care is essential to your child’s dental health. While taking them to a pediatric dentist when they have a problem or are in pain is important, so is preventing it from happening altogether. Here are a few ways you can help maintain preventative care at home:
Just like adults, children should be brushing their teeth at least twice a day. Using a soft-bristled brush is best, as their teeth and gums can be quite sensitive at this stage. Brushing is still possible for babies or toddlers without teeth. This can be done by gently wiping or rubbing the gum area with a cloth after they eat. This helps prevent food from sticking around and rotting in their mouth. When your child develops teeth it’s also important to help them with their brushing until they can manage it on their own, usually around the age of six or seven. For a great step by step on teaching your kids how to brush and floss, visit this list provided by Colgate.
Yes, flossing is important for children too. The root of tooth decay and cavities are in these hard to reach areas between teeth. Teaching kids to floss early on will help prevent these cavities from forming between their teeth and keep their breath fresh.
Creating Good Habits
Creating healthy habits for your child early on will increase their health and wellbeing and also take matters out of your hand as they grow older. With these healthy habits intact, they will understand how to care for themselves and you can rest assured that they are in good health. Certain bad habits should be noted and discipline applied where it’s needed.
For example, if your child participates in thumb-sucking or is still using a pacifier way past an appropriate age, it’s important to stop this bad habit. These habits can cause narrow root arches or teeth crowding, preventing your child’s teeth from healthy forming. At the same time, you can create good habits by making a game out of good oral hygiene. To get your kids to brush for a full 2 minutes, for example, you could have them hum a fun song while they brush. Your kids will thank you for creating these healthy habits early on.
Providing a nutritious and well-balanced diet is so important to a child’s healthy oral hygiene. Too much sugar can cause early enamel erosion, causing an increase in susceptibility to cavities. Try cutting out soda, acidic or other sugary drinks from their diet and stick to only one natural juice allowed each day. Try to encourage them to drink more water and eat healthy snacks like carrots and hummus, instead of sugar-filled gummies. It’s also important to make sure your child is brushing their teeth immediately after consuming any sugar-filled treats or drinks once in a while. This will help prevent the sugar from hanging around and eroding their teeth. Spacing out their snack time is also strongly advised.
Fluoride is a tricky subject when it comes to children’s oral hygiene. While fluoride protects our teeth by promoting remineralization of enamel and preventing tooth decay, too much fluoride can also cause fluorosis. Fluorosis causes white specks to permanently appear on teeth. Getting the appropriate fluoride balance right is important to prevent either of these scenarios from happening. Your pediatric dentist can assist you in finding the right balance. For more information on why fluoride is important for your child’s teeth, visit your dental specialist.
Regularly scheduled check-ups are just as important for your child’s oral hygiene as they are for yours. The American Dental Association recommends these check-ups to begin when your child is a year old and to continue every 6 months. These visits help monitor your child’s oral health and can aid in healthy tools to use at home. If you’re searching for the right pediatric dental specialist to assist in your child’s oral health, give OC Dental a call today at 949-408-0375.