Preventing Tooth Decay in Children
When your child is an infant, one of the most exciting milestones is seeing the first little tooth poking through their gums. While the added drool and cranky behavior isn’t always the most fun to deal with, seeing that little white sliver makes all the frustrations disappear. As more teeth continue to poke through and the infant moves into being a toddler, the real dental health fun begins in teaching the child the importance of dental health, with brushing and caring for their teeth. Since February is Children’s Dental Health Month, we wanted to review some important tips to help your child maintain proper oral health that will last them through to their teenage years and into adulthood. Continue reading to learn more about children’s oral health.
Children’s Oral Health
Healthy teeth play an important part in your child’s overall health. Teeth do more than just chew food; they also help with speech and reserve spaces for adult teeth to grow. Even though baby teeth will fall out at some point, it is still important to care for them as much as you would adult teeth. You might be surprised to learn studies have found that tooth decay in American children is the most common chronic disease. Children do not have an innate understanding of how to care for their teeth, and while not all tooth decay is preventable, the majority of it is. Parents and caregivers are responsible for teaching children how to properly care for their teeth. While it is true that your baby’s first teeth will eventually fall out, the skills they learn in their youth will carry them into adulthood.
How to Help Prevent Tooth Decay In Children
The most important way to prevent tooth decay is to teach proper brushing and flossing habits in children. We know that is easier said than done, but we have some helpful tips to share:
- Allow the child to choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste. With a trip to the store you will find characters and wonderful colors of brushes that will be sure to be a hit with any child, not to mention all of the different toothpaste flavors. Be sure to choose a soft bristled brush.
- Read a book or watch a video that explains how to brush teeth. Also, you are the perfect role model. Let your child watch you brush your teeth.
- Set a timer for two minutes to ensure that the child is brushing for the proper amount of time. A favorite song would also be a fun treat!
- Try to avoid sticky and sugary foods as treats. They are difficult to brush out of teeth and should not sit in teeth for long periods of time.
- Assist your child in flossing their teeth, paying close attention to any tight spaces.
Along, with brushing, it is extremely important that children visit the dentist twice a year for a cleaning and examination. If your child has not had an appointment in some time or is in need of their first appointment, please contact our office today. We look forward to seeing you and your little one in our office located in Canandaigua, NY.