How to Protect Your Children’s Teeth?
Before your child’s first baby tooth appears you should begin good dental care. Because you don’t see the teeth this does not mean that the tooth is not there. If you are a mother, as early as your second trimester of pregnancy, teeth start to form. At birth, your baby normally has 20 primary teeth that are fully developed in the jaw. Once a month, do try to gently lift your child’s top lip to check inside his mouth. This is a quick way to check if tooth decay is present. If you are prone to have tooth decay or gum disease, there is a good chance that your child might be high risk too.
As young as the age of 6 your child’s permanent teeth start to appear. Do you know how to protect your children’s teeth from cavities and gum disease? Caring for your child’s teeth involves more than just daily brushing, flossing, dental check-ups, and fluoride varnish application. These are all good foundation for good oral hygiene for kids but, there is more that you can do as a parent to protect your child’s teeth from tooth decay.
Caring for Your Child’s Teeth
Even during the period when your baby starts teething you can protect his gums and teeth by using a clean damp washcloth over his gums. This will clear away harmful bacteria to clean the residue that milk and juice leave behind. Don’t forget to supervise your child’s toothbrushing especially if he is 8 years old and younger.
- Ditch the Pacifier
At the age of 2 or 3 years old, you need to wean out your child from using the pacifier. When you allow your child to use it for the long term it can affect how his teeth line up. Ultimately, the shape of your child’s mouth will change because of using the pacifier. In case, your child will not let go of using the pacifier and he is more than 3 years old talk to your dentist about this.
- Use infant toothbrush
Use water and a little amount of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a pea) to brush your baby’s teeth. Choose a toothpaste that is American Dental Association (ADA) approve. Avoid allowing your child to swallow toothpaste.
- Floss between teeth
Even at a young age, it never hurts to begin flossing between your baby’s teeth. Once your child learns to adjust to this he will adopt flossing even when he is growing up.
- Take Your Child To The Dentist During His First Birthday
While your toddler seats on your lap, the wonderful dental team will explain proper brushing and flossing techniques. These visits will help your kid have less fear of visiting the dentist. Some dentist is trained specifically as a pediatric dentist meaning they are trained to handle a wide range of issues that are connected to your child’s dental health. Your dentist will apply fluoride varnish on the teeth surface to seal the surface that needs protection from bacterial attack.
- Protection Against Risk of Cavities
If your child is at risk of having cavities early on and similar problems, the wonderful dental dentist may start to apply topical fluoride even before the first teeth comes out. Fluoride can harden the tooth enamel to ward off the most common oral problem like dental caries and dental cavities.
- Teach Your Child the Value of Toothbrushing
Start good oral habits by teaching your child to brush his teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. Train your child to floss daily. When your child uses the right amount of fluoride through regular brushing it will be harder for acid to penetrate through his tooth enamel. Don’t use too much fluoride though since this can cause tooth discoloration.
- Watch out for sweet medicines
Kids medications usually come in flavor and sweet syrupy taste. Even vitamins are flavored this way. This is to entice your child to take the medications. However, to preserve his teeth, the chance of cavities goes up. Medication for chronic conditions like those for asthma and heart problems can cause higher chances of tooth decay.
Antibiotics given time can cause an overgrowth of yeast (Candida), which can lead to fungal infections on the mouth. This condition is referred to as oral thrush. If your child is affected by this condition you will notice creamy, curd-like patches on his mouth or tongue. In case your child is taking these long term medications do consult your dentist about this. After all, antibiotics are usually prescribed to be taken at least four times a day. Imagine the side effect that this can potentially cause.
- Choose healthy snacks
Encourage your child to eat healthily. Once he eats healthy foods this will lead to healthier teeth and gums. To protect your child’s teeth, give him low sugar snack between meals. To motivate your child to cooperate you can shop with him. Avoid foods that are high in sugar since this can damage his teeth and will eventually cause tooth decay.
- Drink water or milk
The best drinks to allow your child to take is either water or milk. He might ask for fruit juice or soda. Allow him to drink this sparingly. You can allow him to drink fresh fruit juice instead of those sold as instant juice drinks.
What to Do in Case of Dental Emergencies
There are some dental emergencies that you simply cannot control like when your child has accidentally knocked off his teeth. If the tooth is a permanent, do keep it moist at all times by placing it in a clean container. If it’s a primary (baby) tooth there will be no need to moisten it. In situations like this, you need to get your dental office right away.
In rare circumstances, the dentist can use general anesthesia. Check whether your dentist is properly trained as an oral surgeon before you agree to the procedure. Don’t hesitate to ask your dentist if you need to clarify any procedures. This can help save you from worrying over the procedure.
You can avoid this situation if you go for regular checkups and have good dental hygiene. These two can prevent the need for extensive dental work or dental emergencies in the future. Do encourage your kids to wear a mouth guard during sports since this can prevent serious dental injuries.
Learn to be patient if you are still assisting your child when he brushes his teeth. You can teach your child to brush his teeth around age 2 to 3. He will start brushing on his own by age 6 but you still need to supervise him because it might take until the age of 10 before you no longer need to check on him.
Do not wait until such time that your child feels sleepy before your child brushes. He may be too tired to cooperate to brush, floss and rinse. Stay far away from close to bedtime to get his full cooperation. Don’t forget to allow your child to choose the toothpaste flavor. You can even give him several options on which type of flavors he can use for brushing. This way he will look forward when it’s time to brush. He might even surprise you that he is asking when he reminds you that it is tooth brushing time. Try to join in, when children see you brushing your teeth this encourages him to do the same.