While there is a genetic factor at play, poor oral hygiene habits are more often than not the reason for tooth decay and periodontitis. Teaching your children from a very young age how to properly brush and floss will increase their chances of enjoying good oral health as adults. Tooth decay is one of the most common childhood disorders, even more prevalent than asthma. Tooth decay is not only painful and unsightly, but it can also disrupt a child's abilities to learn, pay attention at school, speak, eat, and even sleep.
Below are five easy tips to help you preserve your child's beautiful smile:
1. Start dentist visits early – The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend making a first dentist appointment for your child at age one. The dentist will examine your child's mouth and advise you about brushing and cavity prevention.
Examinations and cleaning at an early age make it possible for the dentist to use fluoride, sealant, surface fillings and other treatments to prevent decay – increasing the possibility that your child will never have to experience a drill. The dentist will also make note of your dental history and look for problems that may be triggered by genetics.
2. Protect your child from oral germs – Don't clean your child's pacifier with your mouth, and don't share spoons or cups with him. Sharing your oral bacteria with your child is detrimental to his oral health.
3. Use fluoride enriched toothpaste – The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that as soon as a baby's first tooth emerges, parents should start brushing it with a rice grain size smear of fluoridated toothpaste. By the time the child is three years old, a pea size dollop of paste is permissible.
4. Brush correctly – While adults should brush their teeth for two minutes per session, children and babies don't have a full set of teeth, so less time should be invested. The most important thing is to brush in tiny, gentle circles, going over every surface of every tooth. Brush your child's teeth for him twice a day (ideally, after breakfast and supper) until he is at least 6 years old using a soft bristled toothbrush.
5. Flossing is a must – Begin flossing your child's teeth as soon as he has two adjacent teeth. Most toddlers don't enjoy the sensation at first, but flossing is the only way to remove plaque between teeth.
It has been found that the overall cost of dental care for children who start seeing the dentist early is cheaper than for children who don't see a dentist early. So not only will you save your child unnecessary pain by starting dentist visits early, buy you will also save yourself a lot of money. To learn more, contact a company like Tamarack Hills Family Dentistry with any questions or concerns you have.