Getting off to a good start is true for many things but it is especially true in dental care. Building the right habits early in life will pay big dividends as our children get older. These habits will allow your children to maintain a healthy smile as a child and as an adult. Not only will their teeth be healthier but so will their entire body. Self care is one of the most important lessons a parent can teach a child.
Pediatric Dental Care Tips
-Start Early. Many parents falsely believe that since primary teeth will fall out anyway that they are not important. This is totally false. A child’s dental care begins when that first tooth erupts into the mouth. These teeth will be small but can be brushed with a soft infant toothbrush or a wet washcloth. The general rule of thumb is the first dental visit should by at or around age 1. These visits will be educational for the parents but also allow the child to feel comfortable in the dental office. Early treatment will also save you money over time as you will catch any issues early and also learn proper prevention techniques.
-Include Your Child. As your child matures they can handle more of the responsibility of dental hygiene. They will feel good about themselves and feel like a big kid if they can accomplish these simple tasks. Some good tips to get them to brush properly include playing their favorite song while they brush or even give them a small reward when they do a good job. Many parents simply allow their children to brush on their own. This can be a big mistake. You need to check that they did a good job especially early on.
-Nutrition Is A Factor. Eating right will not only help your childs growth and development but it will also help with their dental health. Eating a balanced diet will help your child’s teeth to develop properly becoming strong. Limit the sugars that they eat but know it is impossible to avoid sugars totally. If your child does snack on a sugary treat make sure they brush and rinse after finishing. This will minimize the chances of tooth decay developing.
-Beware Of Medications. Many children’s medications have a lot of sugar in their ingredients. This gives childrens medicine their better taste and make them easier to drink. So beware of this and make sure your child rinses with water following taking their medications or even better brush following. Another tip is for children with asthma. Asthma inhalers will develop bacteria over time and need to be cleaned daily. These inhalers will also dry out your child’s mouth which can lead to tooth decay as well. Our saliva is our natural defense against tooth decay.
-Stop Pacifier Use By Age 2. Pacifiers are very dangerous to your child’s teeth as they get older. Continuing pacifier use past age 2 could lead to malocclusions (crooked teeth with an open bite).
-Rethink Your Child’s Drink Choice. Many children enjoy juice and use a sippy cup until they are old enough to use a regular glass. You should never let them fall asleep in their crib with a juice cup. It will lead to what is called baby bottle tooth decay. Giving juice to your child is totally ok but do not allow them to sip slowly on the juice cup. It is best to finish it all at once and then rinse with water or brush. Milk is actually the better choice if the child will drink it.
-Beware Of Teeth Grinding. Teeth grinding is quite common in children under the age of 7 years old. It usually stops on its own with no damage to the teeth. If it persists, call your dentist to evaluate the cause of the issue. Many times it can be a change in routine, or a problem at school that they are unable to communicate properly. Children who are hyperactive or have certain medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy, may also grind.
Pediatric Dentistry Conclusion
Maintaining good dental health for our children can be challenging for many parents. The results are worthwhile as your children will be happier and healthier. As always visit your dentist regularly for regular dental examinations and professional cleaning.