As a parent, you want what is best for your child.
You want them to grow up healthy and strong. While you’re likely focusing on their physical health, you may have or not have thought about your child’s oral health.
Some parents have misconceptions about the health of their child’s mouth. For instance, some parents don’t think the health of baby teeth aren’t important as they will all eventually fall out and that they shouldn’t take their child in to see the dentist until after their first tooth has erupted from the gums.
Believe it or not, your child’s oral health is just as important as their bodily health.
Why Pediatric Dental Care is Important
There have been medical studies done showing that one’s oral health and one’s overall health are interconnected. Disease in the body can increase the risk of dental health issues. Oral health issues, in turn, can indicate the presence of disease in the body and maybe increase the severity of that bodily disease.
This interconnection is true for both children and adults.
When your child’s teeth and gums aren’t properly cared for, they not only are at a greater risk of cavities and gum disease earlier and later in life, their speaking and chewing abilities can be affected and their smiles can quickly become a source of embarrassment and self-consciousness. Growing up with an embarrassing, unhealthy smile is expensive for parents and can lead to depression and other negative thinking, attitudes and behaviors.
How Can Parents Care For Their Children’s Oral Health?
Your child’s teeth and gums are important. How do you make sure to properly care for them?
1. Know the Facts
A baby’s first set of teeth typically comes in a few months after birth. By the time that the child is two years old, all or most of their primary (baby) teeth have grown in. The incisors (front teeth) are the first teeth to come in. The molars are the last to come in.
A baby should be first taken to a pediatric dentist before the first tooth comes in. This is the time the baby will meet the dentist and see a dentist office. The dentist can also provide valuable information to parents how to adequately care for their child’s mouth.
By the time a child is two he or she should be going to the dentist regularly. In the years following through the age of 12, the child’s baby teeth will fall out in the order in which they grew in. It is important to take great care of your child’s baby teeth even though they will eventually fall out.
Decay in the baby teeth due to inadequate oral hygiene can cause the permanent growing in to become decayed as well.
2. Establish a Proper At-Home Dental Hygiene Routine Early
Your kids will pick up your dental hygiene habits. If you regularly “forget” to floss, make oral hygiene unimportant, or brush your teeth for a brief 5 seconds as you’re rushing out the door, chances are your kids will do the same things. If your oral hygiene habits aren’t sufficient, neither will theirs.
Parents who instill proper at-home dental hygiene routines in their children early, while they are very young will have a great chance of having kids who take oral hygiene seriously and, as a result, have healthy, beautiful smiles.
Taking your little one to see the dentist while they are still babies will lessen their fear of the dentist. When they come in for their bi-annual cleaning and exam, they will not be afraid of the dentist or the dental office. They will see dental visits as important and necessary.
3. Start Caring for Their Child’s Teeth Right Away
Parents don’t (or shouldn’t) wait for their child’s teeth to grow in or know how to hold a toothbrush before teaching their kids how to clean their teeth.
Parents are encouraged to use soft, moist washcloths to gently rub their baby’s gums before any teeth are visible. Once teeth appear, parents are encouraged to use mild, child-safe toothpaste to clean their child’s teeth. Supervised twice-daily tooth brushing should be done until children are at least 8.
When kids are used to brushing their teeth and having others clean their teeth, parents will have an easier time enforcing good dental hygiene routines.
Parents have a big responsibility of caring after the physical, mental and emotional health of their child. Proper dental hygiene is a crucial part of ensuring their child’s physical health is strong.
It can be difficult in navigating how to care for your child’s teeth and gums.
The first thing parents are encouraged to do is to start taking their children to the dentist early, to start a good oral hygiene routine early and to start caring for their child’s teeth and gums even before any teeth appear.
Parents will also be more equipped to properly care for their child’s teeth when they are properly informed and don’t listen to the many pediatric dental myths swirling around.