February 12th, 2013
Sure, they may have baby teeth that will fall out soon enough; however, prioritizing good oral health practices in your children early on is important. Building good habits in your kids will positively influence their overall health for years to come. So what can you do now to help your child’s future?
- Make sure they brush twice a day every day and start flossing early on so they get into the habit now. Plaque, a bacterial film, builds up and in between the teeth, so consistent removal is important. If plaque is left to sit, it can cause decay and gum problems.
- Make an appointment for your child’s first visit if you haven’t yet. It’s a good idea to make an appointment as soon as the child’s first tooth comes in or no later than their first birthday.
- Set a good example by prioritizing your own oral health and remember, the way in which you talk about the dentist will affect your child’s expectations of their own dental visits. By staying positive and sharing good experiences with your child, you will keep your child at ease. Going to a dentist is a positive thing and it’s great when children look forward to it. Ask you dental office if you can bring your child beforehand for a show and tell! Help your dentist build a lasting relationship with your child.
- Watch what your child eats. Sugars don’t come solely from candy and juices. In fact, a recent study discovered that the food that causes the most cavities isn't sweet at all, crackers. Most crackers are highly processed foods and are a feasting ground for bacteria, which deteriorates tooth enamel. A better option for your children are whole grains, unprocessed foods and be sure to stay away from sticky foods, which can get caught between teeth and within the groves of the tooth surface.
Oral hygiene is an integral part of the day, like eating breakfast. Help your child set him/herself apart from the alarming number of children who have tooth decay. In fact, according to the CDC, 25% of children between the ages of 2-5 have tooth decay. With better oral health practices from the start, this can change.
For more great health tips, please visit the ADA's website. If you want an in depth guide, go to this wonderful resource from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists that goes from pacifiers to fluoride treatments.