National Children’s Dental Health Month reminds us that our children’s oral health is essential to their overall health and well-being.
It may feel like your child is too young for the dentist, but the earlier children begin a healthy relationship with the dentist, the better.
Many people believe that baby teeth don’t need to be cared for like adult teeth since they fall out at such a young age anyways… but children with cavity problems in their baby teeth are at much higher risk for cavities and other oral health issues down the road.
During your child’s visits to the dentist, don’t hesitate to ask any questions that will help you better care for your child’s teeth beginning at infancy.
Your Child’s Dentist Can Help You Learn:
- How to care for your infant’s teeth and gums
- If and when to wean children from thumb sucking and/or the pacifier
- If your child is getting enough fluoride
- How your infant/child’s diet affects oral health
- The dos and don’ts involving sippy cups
- What to expect when a child starts losing baby teeth
Daily Tips & Tricks to Prevent Dental Problems for Your Little Ones
Make brushing teeth twice a day a non-negotiable rule in your household, especially since pediatric dental issues are the primary reason children visit the emergency room each year.
1. Don’t wait to start routine dental visits
- Dentists recommend our kids being seen by the time they turn one year to 18 months or when their first teeth break through.
- They can make sure your child’s teeth are coming in properly, and talk about fluoride and the correct way to brush your child’s teeth.
- Regular visits before age 3 can get your child used to being examined, helping to alleviate any fears and make it a positive experience.
2. Give them a healthy, balanced diet
- Even if you don’t give your child a “sweet treats” regularly, natural sugars can still show up in milk, formula, juice, fruit, etc.
- Make sure your child is eating a balanced diet and try to avoid sugary, sticky snacks.
- Offer juice only at mealtime and water throughout the day.
- Try to avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle.
3. Care for baby teeth
- Baby teeth hold the place for permanent teeth so it’s important to take care of them early on.
- Their teeth are essential for speech development.
- Infected baby teeth can cause tooth decay in permanent teeth.
- Starting at birth, wipe your baby’s gums with a damp washcloth after feedings.
- When their baby teeth come in, brush them at least twice a day in the morning and at bedtime.
4. Make it fun
- Create a daily brushing chart where they can put stars and stickers each time they brush and make a big deal about it by treating them to something after they have completed so many brushes.
- Sing- make up songs for brushing teeth so they can enjoy singing while brushing.
- Let them choose their toothbrush- kids love picking their own toothbrush with their favorite colors and characters. Let them try different types of toothbrushes until they find one they like.
- Brush together- brushing is more fun together. Join your kids in the brushing action not only help them have more fun, but so they can also see that mom and dad practice good brushing habits too.
- Bubbles- brushing can make bubbles, and what can be more fun while brushing than having bubble contests!