As parents, we want to do everything in our power to help our children learn and grow. Whether it’s riding a bike, learning to swim, or taking care of their teeth, we want to be there to guide and support them. One area where we can make a big impact is in protecting our children’s oral health.
Did you know that how your child treats their baby teeth can affect their oral health throughout their whole life? Poor dental health in young children can lead to premature tooth loss, which in turn can cause adult teeth to grow in crowded and potentially lead to a host of other dental issues. That’s why it’s so important to teach our children good oral hygiene habits from an early age.
At Peacock Dental Spa, Loughborough, we don’t only care about your teeth but we also want to make sure your children have excellent oral health too. So, in this post, we will show you some effective tips that can help you protect your child’s teeth and give them a healthy, happy smile.
The Ultimate Enemy Is Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is a common problem that affects both adults and children alike. In fact, tooth decay can form as soon as your child’s first tooth erupts. This is because when sugar is left on teeth for too long, it creates acid and plaque that eat away at the tooth enamel and cause cavities.
You should also know that even natural sugars from breast milk, formula, and fruit can cause decay if the teeth aren’t cleaned frequently. That’s why it’s crucial to establish good oral hygiene habits early on in your child’s life.
But how do you know if your child is experiencing tooth decay? Look out for signs such as light white spots at the gumline, dark spots on the teeth, and soft teeth. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to catch and reverse the decay early to prevent further damage to your child’s teeth.
In the next section, we’ll discuss some effective tips and strategies to help prevent tooth decay and promote your children’s oral health.
Children’s Oral Health; Tips for Protecting Your Child’s Teeth
#1: Stick to water and milk
One of the most important things parents can do to protect their child’s teeth is to limit their exposure to sugary drinks. While children often love juice, it’s one of the worst culprits when it comes to excessive sugar exposure on the teeth.
Even juices that are marketed as “healthy” like apple juice and orange juice can be loaded with sugar that eats away a healthy tooth enamel.
To minimize this damage, it’s important to reduce the amount of juice your child drinks. Instead, water should be the go-to choice since it clears the mouth of sugar, keeps your child hydrated, and helps improve their body functions.
Milk is also a great option since it’s rich in protein and nutrients, but it’s important to make sure to brush away milk’s natural sugars afterwards to prevent tooth decay.
#2: Remove Sippy Cups or Bottles in Bed
It may be tempting to give your child a sippy cup or bottle in bed to keep them calm or help them fall asleep, but it’s not the best choice for their dental health. This is especially true if you put milk or formula in the bottle.
Using a bottle or sippy cup too much throughout the day and night can lead to decay on the back of the front teeth, a condition known as “baby bottle decay”. When your child sleeps with a bottle or sippy cup, the sugars in the milk or formula remain in their mouth, giving bacteria a chance to produce acid that attacks the teeth.
If your child must take a bottle or sippy cup to bed, make sure it’s filled with water. This reduces the amount of sugar exposure to the teeth and washes away any remaining food particles in the mouth.
It’s important to wean your child from using a bottle or sippy cup as soon as possible. You can start by transitioning to a regular cup or straw cup around 6-12 months old. This will not only protect your children’s oral health but also encourage healthy speech development.
#3: Create a solid brushing and flossing routine
One of the most important things you can do to protect your children’s oral health is to establish a solid brushing and flossing routine early on. Children are more likely to stick to a routine when they see their parents doing it consistently. So, make it a habit to brush and floss together every morning and night.
To make brushing and flossing more enjoyable for your child, you can use a fun toothbrush with their favorite character or play their favorite songs while brushing. You can also create a reward chart that offers small prizes for consistent brushing behavior. This will motivate your child to brush and floss regularly.
Remember that children under the age of six need adult supervision when brushing and flossing, as they may not have the dexterity to do it properly. So, make sure to assist your child until they are old enough to do it on their own.
#4: Keep sweets away as much as possible
Sweets are a major culprit when it comes to tooth decay and oral health issues in children. High-sugar snacks and treats provide the perfect environment for harmful bacteria to thrive and wreak havoc on your child’s teeth.
It’s essential to monitor your child’s snacking habits and take steps to make healthy, low-sugar options more readily accessible. Encourage your child to choose nutritious options like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products over candy, cookies, and sugary drinks.
You can also set limits on sweets and make them a special treat instead of an everyday occurrence. By helping your child understand the importance of healthy snacking habits and limiting sweets, you can prevent many dental issues and set them up for a lifetime of good oral health.
#5: Incorporate Fluoride in Toothpaste
Fluoride is an important mineral that helps prevent tooth decay and cavities. It’s recommended by dentists to use toothpaste that contains fluoride to keep your child’s teeth healthy. However, it’s important to note that children under the age of two should not use fluoride toothpaste as they may swallow it, which can be harmful.
Once your child turns two, you can start using a small, pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Gradually increase the amount as your child learns to spit it out instead of swallowing it.
#6: Regular visit to the dentist is important
Regular dental check-ups are crucial for your children’s oral health. You can start bringing your child to us at Peacock Dental Spa to see a pediatric dentist as early as 6 months old to monitor their gum health. As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, brushing should begin, and once the teeth start touching each other, flossing becomes necessary.
We always recommend that your child visits at least twice a year for ongoing evaluations and professional care to maintain a healthy and happy smile. We will use x-rays and other protocols to detect any problems or signs of decay that may not be visible to the naked eye. Without regular dental visits, your child’s oral health could rapidly deteriorate without you realizing it.
If you stay anywhere around Loughborough, you can schedule an appointment with us at Peacock Dental Spa to discuss your child’s oral health.