For any good parent, keeping a child healthy is of paramount concern. A child’s oral health has a strong link to their overall health. Poor oral health can result in difficulties paying attention in school, increased bullying, and lower self-esteem. The following are 7 things that parents can do to keep their children’s teeth as healthy as possible.
1. Start Early
Many parents are surprised to learn that successful pediatric oral health care begins before the child has their first tooth appear in their mouth. It is recommended that parents start to clean out there infant’s mouth using a wet washcloth to wipe their gums. The reason for this is that a child’s gums are the basis for good teeth. Children are born with all of their teeth already in their mouth. It is just that the teeth are underneath the surface of the gums. If gums are kept healthy, baby teeth will grow in healthy as well.
2. Early and Frequent Dental Visits
A child should already have had their first dentist appointment before they reach one-year-old. This allows the dentist to monitor the growth of the child’s teeth and also to provide practical suggestions that will help the parent plan for future oral health situations. From then on, regular dental visits should be scheduled every six months.
3. The Detrimental Effect of Baby Bottle Decay
Many parents with good intentions put their child to sleep with a bottle in their mouth. These bottles often contain juice, milk, or baby formula. This is detrimental to the health of their child’s teeth. Why? Sugary liquids such as juices and milks will stick to their baby’s teeth. This results in bacteria growth, which in turn leads to tooth decay. If parents feel that putting their child to bed with a bottle is a must, they should guarantee that the bottle only has water.
4. Require Oral Hygiene
Most children are reluctant to brush to their teeth. They will put up a fight, and they will fuss when it comes time for them to brush your teeth, floss their teeth, and rinse them off before they go to bed. At times, parents may be inclined to yield to their child’s demands. However, parents must be firm, and they must hold their ground. They must let children know that when it comes to oral health, they have no choice.
5. Have Patience
Patience is key when helping a young child of two or three years old learn how to brush their teeth. Usually, it is not until the child is around age 6 that they will be able to brush their teeth on their own without supervision. And, it is not until they are around 10 years old that they will be able to floss on their own.
6. Have Fun
Many parents have commented that they are more successful in getting the child to brush their teeth if they start before the child is too tired and already ready to go to sleep. Additionally, many parents have found it beneficial to have their child shop with them when they purchase toothpaste, toothbrushes, and flossing material. This way, the child feels like they have an active role in maintaining their oral health. Additionally, if children see brushing their teeth as a fun activity, they are more inclined to do it with regularity. Some parents have set up a system whereby a child receives a gold star every time they brush their teeth. After they collect 50 gold stars, they are able to turn those in for a dessert, movie, or video game of their choice.
7. Use the Appropriate Amount of Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride is an important tool in fighting cavities. However, children who are younger than six years old can suffer ill effects if they swallow excessive amounts of fluoride. Parents can prevent this from happening by only using a pea size amount of toothpaste on their child’s toothbrush and by teaching the child to spit the toothpaste out and rinse well after they brush their teeth.
A child’s oral health is an important part of their development. Unfortunately, children do not understand the importance of keeping their teeth and their mouth healthy. For this reason, it is up to parents to diligently help their child keep their teeth healthy.
Kids Dental Specialists proudly serves families in the Chino/Chino Hills, CA area. Visit our Appointment page or call us at 909-591-0077 to schedule your next appointment.