Your young child’s oral health matters more than you might think. Even though baby teeth aren’t permanent, they set the stage for your child’s future tooth and gum health. Considering the well-established links between oral health and overall physical wellness, your youngster’s dental health should always be a top priority.
It’s easy for parents to overlook common causes of cavities, like snacking too much or skimping on the floss. Try to incorporate these tips into your child’s routine in order to protect and improve her oral health.
Tooth decay can form as soon as your baby’s first tooth erupts. When sugar has the opportunity to sit on teeth for too long, it creates acid and plaque that eat away at the tooth enamel and cause cavities.
Unfortunately, even natural sugars from breast milk, formula, and fruit can cause decay if the teeth aren’t cleaned frequently. Remain on the lookout for these signs of tooth decay in your child so that you can catch and reverse it early:
Children love juice, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for them. Juice is one of the biggest culprits of excessive sugar exposure on the teeth. Even “healthy” juices like apple juice and orange juice are loaded with sugar that eats away at healthy tooth enamel.
You can minimize this damage by reducing the amount of juice your child drinks. Water is the very best choice since it clears the mouth of sugar, keeps your child hydrated, and improves body functions. Milk is another great option since it’s rich in protein and nutrients- just make sure to brush away milk’s natural sugars afterward!
Giving your child a sippy cup or bottle in bed is a tempting way to keep her calm and speed along the bedtime process, but it’s not the best choice for her dental health. This is especially true if you put milk or formula in the bottle.
Using a bottle or sippy cup too much throughout the day and night can lead to decay on the back of the front teeth. This is often called “baby bottle decay”. If your child must take a bottle or sippy cup to bed, make sure it’s filled with water.
Your child learns by example. If you create a regular brushing and flossing routine and remain firm about implementing that routine, then your child will have an easier time sticking to it. Set a positive example by demonstrating the importance of brushing and flossing every morning and every night.
If you’re struggling to keep your child interested, try using a fun toothbrush that plays songs, or create a reward chart that offers small prizes for consistent brushing behavior.
It’s often easier for children to reach for high-sugar sweets in the pantry than healthy options in the fridge. The more your young child snacks on sweets, the more her teeth are exposed to harmful sugar and bacteria.
Take steps to make healthy, low-sugar snack choices readily accessible. Carrots, cheese sticks, yogurt, trail mix, and watermelon are all tasty, easy “grab and go” options.
Your child can begin visiting the Pediatric dentist as early as 6 or 12 months of age! Even before your baby has teeth, it’s important to monitor her gum health. Brushing should begin as soon as the first tooth erupts, and flossing becomes necessary once the teeth start touching each other inside the mouth.
By making sure your child visits the dentist once every six months, you’ll ensure she receives the ongoing evaluation and professional care she needs to maintain a healthy, happy smile. Only dentists can use x-rays and other protocols to uncover problems or find signs of decay. Without regular dental visits, your child’s oral health could rapidly deteriorate without you realizing it.
Fluoride is recommended by dentists as an essential way to prevent cavities and protect teeth from decay. This is why all toothpaste products include fluoride in their formulas. It’s safe to use fluoride toothpaste after your child turns two. Begin with a small,pea-sized amount and increase as your child learns to spit her toothpaste instead of swallowing it.
Thanks to public education and the use of fluoride toothpaste, the rate of tooth decay has steadily declined over the last 30 years. However, even with this decline, tooth decay is still one of the most common chronic health conditions for children.
By following the tips outlined above, you can give your child the practice and tools she needs to protect her clean, beautiful smile. If you ever have any doubts, contact your dental professional at North Brand Dental in Glendale or Moorpark, CA.
The team at North Brand Dental Local Family & Cosmetic Dentistry is committed to treating patients of all ages with world-class services. Call (818) 244-7215 to make an appointment for your child today!
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