In a world in which most adults have trouble brushing and flossing on a regular basis, it can be even more difficult to encourage young children to maintain healthy mouths in order to promote healthy growth. Yet there are certain habits and practices that can help parents and guardians care for their child’s teeth to ensure good dental hygiene. Below are just a few tips that can contribute to your child’s healthy mouth.
While you may consider cavities to be a normal childhood occurrence, tooth decay in children can be prevented. Be sure your child brushes and flosses at least twice a day to maintain healthy teeth and gums. All of a child’s primary teeth have usually grown in by the age of 2 and a half, which is when your dentist may begin fluoride treatments to help prevent cavities. Applying topical fluoride to the teeth helps to harden the teeth’s enamel and prevents harmful acid from penetrating the teeth and causing tooth decay.
Your Child’s Diet:
What your child eats affects the health of his or her teeth and gums. Sweet, sticky foods and frequent snacking between meals lead to a higher risk of tooth decay. To avoid your child developing cavities, limit the amount of snack foods that stick to your child’s teeth, including not only candy but also some dried fruits, cereals and crackers. When you do give you child treats, try to make them a part of a meal, as too many snacks between meals means that cavity-causing bacteria are constantly attacking the teeth. Nutritious snacks, such as fruits and vegetables, help to promote good dental health.
Babies and young children often suck their thumbs as a natural reflex that helps them feel comforted and secure. While thumbsucking can be soothing and can even help children sleep better at night, as the permanent teeth are growing in, this habit can affect the growth and alignment of the teeth, mouth, and even the roof of the mouth. Rather than scold your child for sucking their thumb, praise your child when not reverting back to this habit for more positive reinforcement. If your child sucks the thumb as a comforting technique, try to correct the problem by determining the cause of anxiety. Your dentist may also suggest using a sock, bandage or mouth appliance to help stop thumbsucking.
Visiting the Dentist:
Most children make their first visit to the dentist around the age of 1 year old. Be sure to see a pediatric dentist who specializes in children’s dentistry and can check for any signs of early problems in your child’s mouth. A strong relationship between your child and the pediatric dentist will help your child become more relaxed in the dentist’s chair. Getting into the habit of regular dental checkups will ensure your child grows a healthy, happy smile.