Many parents like to know what is the best way of maintaining good oral hygiene for their children. Dental disease is one of the most common chronic diseases of man. Dental treatment is a very common reason for parents to miss work and children to be out of school. Early dental treatment needs are often a reason a child is sedated or subjected to general anesthesia. Dental cavities affect children in every type of household in the world.
Below are 5 simple steps you can take to prevent the development of dental disease in your child. This is a Children’s Dental Care Blog about how to maintain good oral care for your kids.
1. Brush your child’s teeth at least 2 times a day! Use either a manual or electric toothbrush. It matters more that the teeth are brushed consistently than what type of toothbrush is used. The reason that claims are not seen on television that state one brand of toothbrush is better that the others, is because the companies cannot support the claim with documented evidence. Parents must understand that children cannot brush their teeth alone until they are close to 10 years of age. Sometimes children take their time and do a great job! And, other times, they are in a rush or just lie about doing it. After a child soils a diaper, children are cleaned and changed quickly by their caregiver. After they eat, the teeth need to be brushed as well. The teeth are the other end of the same digestive tract. Not brushing the teeth of a child is just as gross as letting them sit around in a dirty diaper all day. Get in a position with good light and brush all surfaces of their teeth. Use the flashlight app on your phone for direct light just like the dentist uses direct light in the office. Make sure where the teeth and gums come together is crisp and clean. If it looks fuzzy, brush more and angle the brush at the gums. If the gums bleed a little bit, it is OK. Healthy gums do not bleed so this should improve with more focus on improved hygiene. Good children oral hygiene habits start at a young age.
2. Common dental care mistake done by some parents is the way they put their child to sleep. A baby, or infant, should not be put to bed with a bottle or sippy cup. Milk can do just as much damage as juice, soda, or sweet tea. The infant will not swallow all the liquid while sleeping. The sugary liquid will pool on top of the tongue and bathe the top teeth in sugar all night long. The teeth will quickly develop rampant dental cavities. Even if the child screams and cries at bedtime when you take away the bottle, do it anyway! Over time, any child put to bed with a bottle or sippy cup may require significant dental treatment. As a parent, it will be hard to listen to your child cry themselves to sleep if they want the bottle or cup. However, it would be more difficult to sign a consent for sedation or general anesthesia for dental treatment knowing most likely you could have prevented the disease.
3. Another important idea to incorporate is to cook real food. Children will develop eating habits such as likes and dislikes based on what foods are regularly prepared and presented. Parents should control their emotions and comments about the food they present to their children. If you say fish or some specific vegetable is gross, it could have a lifelong impact on the child. If eating salad with a healthy dressing is seen as cool and mature, children will be more likely to eat healthy. The job of a parent is to provide high quality food in a positive environment, and the children will decide what their preferences will be. Children do not need fast food, processed food, or junk food out of a box that most parents would not eat themselves. Children require a balanced diet of lean meats, fish, vegetables, grains, and fruits. Planning for high quality meals can happen even in the busiest households. It takes intentional thought and planning. Parents have to make the decision that their children are going to eat real food and not processed chemical filled junk!
4. Drink Water! Water makes up the majority of the human body. Only water can truly quench our thirst. A healthy phrase to remember is water is for thirst. Juices, sodas, sports drinks, and alcohol are for enjoyment. Water is necessary for all of the systems of our bodies to function. Water is the most powerful cleaner for out mouth. It dilutes acids and dissolves toxins. The flow of water also cleans the teeth. A great visual example is to imagine standing at the top of a waterfall. Where the water flows fast, the rocks are smooth and clean. To the side, where the water is stagnant, the rocks are covered with dirt and algae. Make a commitment to provide water for children to drink each day. If drinking water is championed and celebrated, this behavior will become a regular habit. With the increasing epidemic of childhood obesity, all parents need to focus on teaching their children to drink more water and less high calorie sugar drinks!
5. Schedule an appointment for your child with a Pediatric Dentist that is Board Certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. Make the appointment within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth or before the end of the first year of life. We get asked many children dental questions about, why so young do children need dental care? There are lots of reasons for making your child’s appointment, usually before the age of 2. If the child has a trauma pulling up, falling down, or learning to walk, it is much better to have an established relationship with a pediatric dental office or family general dental practice than to have to go to the local emergency room. Emergency rooms are full of sick people and the waits for minor traumas can be hours. Prevention of dental cavities is cheaper and safer than treatment. Early dental treatment needs before the child can cooperate are likely to require sedation or general anesthesia. Do not wait until the child has a traumatic event or a black rotten spot on a tooth is seen to make the first appointment. One popular catch phrase used today to describe what happens at an early visits is, “anticipatory guidance.” This term means to educate parents about risk of cavities, growth and development, and preparation for the future. Make the children an appointment today so they will have an established dental home.
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Pediatric Dental Office Blog and Family General Dental Practice Chat with us. Whether going to a general dentist or pediatric dentist, we discussed it is preferred at a relatively young age start having your child do their routine dental exam and prophy check up.
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In summary, dental disease is still far too common in our modern society. One of the most common reasons infants and young children are exposed to deep sedation and general anesthesia is treatment of dental disease. This is still one of the most frequent reasons cited for children missing school and parents missing work. Medical providers, such as pediatricians, are giving very little training in regards to oral health. Dentists, physicians, advanced providers, and public health officials need to do much more dental education of the parents, so that this disease can be limited. Working as a team, and following the five steps above will make a nice difference in the quality of life of your child. As many dentists will say, oral health care and good oral hygiene starts at a young age