If you have kids, you know that introducing them to new things can be fun, challenging, exciting, frustrating, and so much more all that the same time!
Back when I was a kid, we grew up almost expecting to have cavities when we went to the dentist. Having the doctor pry, poke, and drill for an hour or so was normal. However, that is not the case anymore! Times have changed!
Today, in our society, there are many benefits our children have, that we didn’t have when we were younger. For example, one of the great benefits is that kids today are growing up with fluoride in the water. People are becoming more aware of the importance of dental hygiene and parents know that they need to bring their children to the dentist.
I made this simple special report to give you a couple quick, helpful tips that you can use to help your child grow up with healthy teeth, and prevent as many dental problems as possible.
1. Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth with a clean gauze pad the first week the child is brought home from the hospital. Although most babies don’t have any teeth until about six months of age, a daily cleaning in infancy will get your child accustomed to the process, and ensure clean and healthy gums when the teeth do come in.
2. By starting early, your baby is more likely to accept your cleaning her teeth later, when it is necessary to prevent tooth decay. Incorporate a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste (about half a pea sized amount) into the routine by the time your child reaches 18 months, or at the time their first molars come in.
3. Your child’s first visit to the dentist should be by the age of three. Although baby teeth will eventually fall out, they are very important to your child’s dental development. The muscles of their mouth and jaw form around the foundation laid by their first set of teeth. The baby teeth also maintain space which will help guide the permanent teeth into a favorable position as they erupt. The dentist can make sure your child’s dental development is proceeding normally as early as their third birthday and with checkups every six months thereafter.
4. Stop your child’s thumb sucking habits before their permanent teeth come in. Sucking on a thumb or pacifier is a natural and satisfying behavior for babies. However, the habit can alter the position of baby’s developing teeth, change tongue posture, and even deform the bone which supports the teeth. The longer it continues the more damage there will be which makes the correction more difficult. If you are having trouble getting your child to stop sucking their thumb, we can offer some advice.
5. Make sure your child gets the benefits of the latest in cavity prevention, including fluorides and sealants.
6. Do not give your child a bottle at night with juice or milk. If your child must have a bottle at bedtime, dilute it progressively each night with water until the bedtime bottle contains only water. You may also use a pacifier, but remember to follow the above-mentioned advice.
7. If your child uses a pacifier, don’t dip it in any sweetener. Some dentists have taught this in the past and it is not a good idea!
8. If you live in a community where there is NO fluoride in the drinking water, use a fluoride rinse or buy bottled water that has fluoride. Children in communities without fluoridated water should also have supplemental fluoride drops or tablets, which can be prescribed by a dentist.
9. You need to help a child under age 7 years old do the brushing. Studies show that children under 7 do not have the dexterity to do a good job. One great strategy if you have a child, who likes to do everything on their own, is to let them do it first on their own. Then say that it’s mommy or daddy’s turn. I know that there are children who will fight you on brushing, but stick with it because the rewards will be huge.
10. Beware of habitual and prolonged soda, juice, sports drinks, iced tea, or any other repetitive sugary snacks or candies. It is much better to have your child eat candy or sugar quickly and let their body respond to the sugar instead of frequently snacking on sugar, a habit that will cause rampant tooth decay. Many people do not know this important fact – DIET SODA IS JUST AS BAD FOR YOUR TEETH AS SUGAR!!!! The acidity of the diet soda will do just as much damage as sugar.
11. Finally, the most important thing to realize is that children learn the behavior they observe. So, the reality is your dental health is just as important as your child’s. Recent research has shown that unhealthy gums can put you at a much higher risk for the following problems:
High Blood Pressure (Arteriosclerosis)
Heart Infection (Bacterial Endocarditis)
Low Birth-Weight Babies
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
When was the last time you had your dental check up and cleaning?