Your smile is an amazing tool for communication and connection. It improves your mood, uplifts those around you, and might even connect to your future success in the workplace and romantic relationships. People perceive those with straight and healthy teeth as smart, happy, and successful.
Beautiful teeth also boost self-esteem, empowering people to make new friendships and try new things confidently. However, strong teeth and a bright, shiny smile start at a young age. Here are seven child dental care tips you can use to maintain pediatric dental health and ensure a better future for your kids.
Provided by Cosmedent – dental continuing education
1. Nurture in the Womb
During pregnancy, mothers are more prone to experiencing poor dental health because of hormonal changes. If this compromises your teeth, it can affect your baby while still inside the womb. It’s vital you pay attention to any changes and protect your dental health while pregnant.
Your baby’s gums form at eight weeks of pregnancy and their teeth begin to come together after nine weeks. There are several antibiotics you should avoid at this point because they can damage your child’s developing teeth. It’s also essential to get good nutrition so your child has everything they need to develop well.
2. Take Away Their Bottle
Most infants teethe between the ages of 4 and 7 months. However, the timetable for teething varies for every child. Some babies are born with teeth already coming in, while others may teethe late. Symptoms of teething include a slight fever, sore gums, and fussiness.
Before your baby’s teeth come in, you can use a soft rag or a piece of gauze to clean their gums. You should clean their mouths after feeding and before bedtime to avoid bacterial buildup. It’s imperative to take their bottle away before they go to sleep. Taking milk or juice to bed can lead to cavities and other pediatric dental problems.
3. Clean Their Teeth
Once your child’s teeth come in, you should start brushing them. When your child has just a few teeth, you can use a rice-sized dollop of toothpaste and a small toothbrush. Most dentists recommend fluoride toothpaste because it can strengthen the teeth. However, too much ingested fluoride can lead to tooth staining.
As your child grows, you can start teaching them the importance of dental hygiene. Children can learn to spit by 2 years old or earlier. Choose the appropriate toothbrush for your child and show them how to angle the brush. Remind your little one to be gentle and check up on how they’re doing. It may take a little longer for your child to master flossing by themselves.
4. Avoid Sugary Foods
You can maintain strong child dental care by feeding them a healthy diet. Children grow quickly during the first few years, and good nutrition can make a huge difference in their health and development. For healthy teeth, kids should be getting plenty of calcium, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats.
Start by eliminating soft drinks and sugary foods from your child’s diet. Sugar combines with bacteria in your mouth to become acid. This acid attacks the enamel on your teeth, creating cavities and other dental problems. Removing processed sugar from your diet is one of the most effective ways to protect your child’s teeth.
5. See a Dentist
You can start taking your child to see a dentist before they’re a year old. Pediatric dentists learn about children’s changing dental care needs through their training. Going to a dentist early can help you identify any dental problems so you can begin early intervention. Dental work probably won’t start until kids get sealants at ages 7 to 9.
Young children may also benefit from seeing an orthodontist. Orthodontists promote dental health by ensuring the teeth and jaws are aligned and work the way they should. Early intervention can prevent your child from needing braces and ensure their teeth function well. Straightening your child’s teeth also improves their appearance.
6. Set a Good Example
Your children will follow your example with dental hygiene. If you tell them to brush their teeth but don’t take care of your own, they’ll notice. It’s important to work toward good dental hygiene together. If they have to give up soft drinks, you should too. You should also set an example by brushing and flossing daily.
If you didn’t have the benefit of pediatric dental care, that’s okay. Your teeth don’t have to look perfect for your children to learn good habits from you. Plan regular visits to the dentist and keep a positive attitude to show your kids how they should behave. They won’t dread seeing the dentist unless you teach them to.
7. Talk About Care
The way you talk about teeth and dental hygiene will also make an impression on your kids. You can emphasize the value of dental health with positive language and a good attitude. Always explain why your kids should care for their teeth and talk about the consequences if they don’t. Let them know all this will be their responsibility one day.
Talking about nutrition and diet can also be helpful. Most people don’t realize poor dental hygiene can affect the rest of their health. Discuss the harmful effects of tobacco and smoking with older children. A healthy mouth is just one of many reasons to avoid these self-abusive behaviors. The more you talk about hygiene, the more your children will learn and the easier it will be for them to make good choices.
The Importance of Pediatric Dental Care
Dental health starts in the womb, with good nutrition and self-care for pregnant moms. After your baby is born, you can start cleaning their gums and teaching them healthy bedtime habits. Young children should have their teeth cleaned with a small amount of toothpaste.
As your child gets older, you can start teaching them to take over their dental care. Avoid giving them sugary foods and feed them a nutrient-packed diet. You should take your child to the dentist from an early age and set a good example with your personal habits.
It’s also important to talk about dental hygiene positively so your kids learn to value and appreciate it. With intentional parenting and good self-care, you can equip your child to take responsibility for their oral hygiene and develop healthy, beautiful teeth from a young age.