Tips for Optimal Health Care
Establishing good oral health care in children early is important because not only does it affect their teeth and gums but it can also impact their overall health. The old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is certainly true in this case. What you do today will follow your child for a lifetime.
Preventive care plays a major role in your child’s dental care and with good oral hygiene habits, they will not have to go through arduous appointments to visit the dentist. Parents can make a huge impact on their future dental health by modeling good behaviors right now. Here are some tips you can use immediately...
1. Use fluoride toothpaste from the beginning
The ADA (American Dental Association) had begun to recommend that parents use fluoridated toothpaste as soon as a baby receives the first tooth. All you need is about the size of a tiny grain of rice, then you can increase it to pea-sized at age 3. Studies show that tooth decay in children is the most widespread disease of childhood. Fluoride toothpaste can block cavities by helping to strengthen tooth enamel making it less like to decay. Your dental professional may also suggest putting a fluoride application on your child’s teeth.
2. Brush twice a day and floss daily
You can actually begin to “brush” your baby’s gums before their first tooth appears, by wiping them with a soft cloth after they have been fed. When their first tooth appears, you can begin to brush them and when you have two teeth together, they can be flossed. Starting these oral hygiene habits early will establish the routine with your children. They can even watch you as you go about your daily oral healthcare routine. Children love to emulate their parents!
3. Get a checkup
Your child should see the dentist before the first birthday, and ideally just after the first tooth erupts. This preventative care will ensure your child is accustomed to making regular visits and this can eliminate anxiety.
4. Baby bottle decay
Avoid putting your infant or toddler down for a nap with a bottle of juice, formula, or milk. Sugary liquids will cling to teeth, creating bacteria that will cause tooth decay. If your child must have a bottle in bed, make sure it contains only water.
5. Limit Juices
Having access to juice all day can lead to tooth decay. Juice is filled with sugar and the bacteria that attack your child’s teeth creating cavities, are fed by the sugar in juices. Limit juice as a treat.
Be patient with your child. You may need to guide them through the process repeatedly. In fact, many children aren’t ready to brush their teeth alone until they are around six. Motivate them with a gold star on a chart or a favorite sticker. Make it a fun process for them. Again, if they are watching you, make sure your oral hygiene habits are the kind your child should be following.
The staff at Westchester Pediatric Dentistry and Drs. Burnett and Sreenivasan know that prevention is the best care you can give your child. Call today at the Westchester office to make that first appointment for your child.