Six Tips to Ensure Your Child Has a Healthy Smile for Life
- February 20th, 2019
Practicing healthy dental care habits is an important part of a child’s long-term health. From bacteria and infections to cavities and gum disease, the habits we establish as a child can prevent dental conditions later on in life. As a parent, it is your responsibility to establish these habits for your child. By taking dental care seriously at a young age, you give your child the opportunity to have a bright, healthy smile for life. Here are six tips for taking care of your baby’s teeth:
Dental care starts before a baby’s teeth come in
Many parents don’t realize that proper dental care starts before a child’s baby teeth even come in. It is important to clean your child’s mouth, including wiping his or her gums after each feeding. This will keep your child’s mouth clean and free of food debris. If ignored, these remnants of food can cause bacterial growth, bad breath, a sore throat, and other ailments related to tooth and gum health. In extreme cases, poor dental hygiene as a baby can have long-term effects on a child’s health. Consider using a warm, damp washcloth or a rubber thimble to clean your child’s mouth after feeding. This can also help stimulate the gums to promote the healthy development of baby teeth.
Protect your child’s baby teeth
Another common misconception in the world of children’s dentistry is the idea that baby teeth are less important than adult teeth. As baby teeth will eventually be replaced, some parents forego dental hygiene practices in young children, which can have a serious impact on the child’s long-term dental health. Baby teeth are crucial in the development of your child’s speech; unhealthy teeth can lead to improper pronunciation, and it can even require a speech therapist to treat later on in your child’s life. Beyond the bacterial growth, cavities, gum infections, and other common ailments that result from poor dental hygiene, not caring for your child’s teeth can cause their adult teeth to form improperly. From oral surgeries to braces, these conditions can be expensive to fix later in life.
Form healthy dental practices at a young age
It is also important to establish healthy dental practices with your children at an early age. If your child establishes a regular routine of brushing after each meal and flossing and using mouthwash before bed, they are significantly more likely to continue these habits into adulthood. It is recommended that children start using toothpaste (with supervision and assistance) as early as two years old. Some parents opt to make dental hygiene into a game or create a reward system similar to when a child finishes their chores. Find a system that works for your family and continue to promote healthy oral hygiene practices. By taking dental health seriously at a young age, you are instilling proper dental hygiene habits in your child for life.
Perform regular cavity checks
Cavities in baby teeth are much more serious than some parents think. Not only are they painful, but cavities can cause nasty infections in the tooth, gum, and even the jaw. Children who suffer from multiple cavities in their baby teeth usually have poor dental hygiene. This allows bacteria to grow within the cavity, causing bad breath, tooth and jaw pain, and can result in infections. By performing regular cavity checks, you can ensure your hygiene practices are effective. Baby bottles are a common cause of cavities in young children. To prevent this, avoid giving your baby a bottle of milk or juice for long periods of time or while they are in bed, especially if the baby is not hungry and uses it more for comfort.
Get to the dentist
It is recommended that you take your child to the dentist for a cavity check as early as 12 months old, or when their first baby tooth appears. Not only will a dentist help you optimize your hygiene routine with your child, but they can also spot early signs of cavities and other dental ailments. It is important for your baby to have a dental check-up on a regular basis – once every six to 12 months – so your dentist can establish a record of health and keep an eye on the progression of your child’s teeth. This way, you can alter your dental hygiene practices as necessary, and you will have as much notice as possible if your child will require braces or another kind of dental product.
Finally, should your child have an underbite, overbite, or simply have unevenly spaced teeth throughout their mouth, you should consider getting them braces. Although they can be an expensive investment, they are the most effective way to treat a wide variety of dental and jaw conditions. Not only will braces help your child eat more comfortably and speak more clearly, but the finished result is sure to impress. Your child deserves a bright, straight, and comfortable smile, and braces are a small expense in the grand scheme of your child’s lifelong health.
At Smile Town, we offer fun, comfortable dental care for children. Our office is designed with games, toys, and a full indoor playground for children to enjoy before their dental checkup. Some children struggle with traditional dental practitioners, and we understand that going to the dentist can be a scary, traumatizing experience, especially for children with serious dental conditions. Our dental health practitioners have created an interactive, exciting environment to make going to the dentist a more positive experience for parents and children alike. We also offer a program tailored to children with autism and special needs that will make the process more comfortable and convenient for children and parents.
For more information about how to schedule a dentist appointment for your child, or to inquire about our services, call us at 866-533-9440 or contact us here.