Taking Care of Your Child's Teeth
Taking care of your child's teeth is an essential aspect of being a parent. You might not think about it all the time, but healthy teeth are a vital part of living a happy and healthy life, something that every parent wants for their children!
Here’s what Brittney, our Office Manager and trained Dental Assistant has to say about taking care of her baby’s teeth:
“My little girl just had her very first dental visit and was by far the best patient of the day! I would love to say to all parents that it is a good idea to take your children to a dentist at an early age. It is mainly to get them used to seeing a dentist who is wearing a mask and gloves. Your child can gradually get used to seeing a dentist this way. This can help prevent them from being fearful of dentists such as the case of a child only seeing a dentist when they have a dental problem. Also, when you take them in early, you can learn from Dr. Nahid how to take care of your baby’s teeth, so they maintain a bright and beautiful smile throughout their life. I cannot tell you how many parents I have talked to that have the misconception that their child doesn’t need to see a dentist until they are much older. Sadly, they have not been educated on the importance of caring for their baby’s teeth. For this reason, we would like to tell you all about basic care of your child’s teeth.”
Why it's Important
You may assume that if your child still has their baby teeth that it's not very important to take good care of them. That is not the case.
The baby teeth hold space in the jaw for their permanent teeth to grow under them. If they lose their baby teeth too early, they can have severely misaligned or crowded teeth.
Suppose your son or daughter has poor dental health. In that case, whether they're baby teeth or not, it can cause poor tooth development, misalignment, and more severe problems for them later.
According to the American Dental Association:
"Baby teeth are essential to your child's health and development.
They help them chew, speak and smile. Also, baby teeth hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums.
When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in. The result can be crowded or crooked teeth.
That's why starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for decades to come."
Setting a Good Example
Your children learn the most from you and seeing what you do. You set an good example for them by brushing your teeth and helping them learn how to brush theirs.
The American Dental Association recommends oral hygiene for the various growth stages:
Begin cleaning your baby's mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. A baby's front four teeth usually push through the gums at about six months of age, although some children don't have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.
Children younger than three years should have their teeth brushed as soon as they begin to have teeth come in. Use fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. As they learn to brush their teeth independently, supervise their brushing to ensure they use the appropriate amount of toothpaste and brush correctly.
For children 3 to 6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Continue to supervise children's brushing and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.
When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing between their teeth daily.
Another part of setting a good example is taking them to the dentist. That might sound silly at first, but if you don't make oral care a priority, why would they when they grow up?
Common Dental Problems
Here are some common problems that we can help prevent when you bring your child in for regular checkups:
Tooth decay – according to the CDC, 20% of children from ages 5-11 have at least one decayed or decaying tooth.
Bad breath – You might think it's just from something that they ate. Still, chronic bad breath can be an indicator of a more serious underlying condition.
Sensitive teeth – Having sensitive teeth doesn't always mean something is wrong. Still, a tooth may have become cracked, or the nerves exposed somehow.
Thumb sucking – This is generally not a problem unless your child continues to suck their thumb after they turn five years old. If the habit persists, it can cause speech impediments and misalignment of their teeth.
Gum disease (gingivitis) – Normally caused because of bad dental health or hygiene. It is preventable with regular home care and dental visits.
Healthy teeth contribute to a happy life! Please get in touch with us to schedule an appointment for your loved one.
Now is the perfect time for a back-to-school checkup for your kids, don't wait and have to deal with more severe problems later.
Dr. Nahid Afshari