One of the most common questions that dentists get asked pertains to children. Lifelong oral health begins with starting healthy habits in youth, which is why dental care during infancy, childhood, and adolescence is so important.
Read through these tips and tricks to ensure that your children are receiving the dental care they need.
Teething is a difficult time for parents and babies alike. Teeth usually begin to erupt at around 6-7 months, although there are variations. Signs that your baby is teething include drooling, irritability, elevated temperature and a rash around the groin area due to a change in urine composition.
To make this time easier for both you and your baby, you should use analgesia teething gels and plastic teething rings that are placed in the freezer. In severe cases, analgesic drops are useful.
You should introduce your children to brushing early, not by brushing their teeth but by bringing them into the bathroom with you to watch you brushing. Their natural curiosity will make them want to mimic you, and you’ll have created a healthy association with the act of brushing your teeth.
In infancy, you should purchase an age-appropriate toothbrush and just brush their teeth with water. As they get older, you can purchase age-appropriate toothpaste. Children don’t have the manual dexterity to brush their teeth until the age of 9 properly, so brushing should consist of letting them do it themselves and helping to ensure all areas of the mouth are being reached.
Age to Incorporate Dental Visits
It’s a good idea to bring your children along to the dentist from an early age. Accompanying them on your trips will get them used to the sounds, smells, and sights of the dental clinic, which will make their first appointment less frightening. At the age of 3-4, children should be booked in for their own appointments.
Dummies or Thumb Sucking
Both methods of pacification have pros and cons. Thumb sucking is easier for parents because if the baby wakes up in the middle of the night, they can pacify themselves. However, it is harder to break the habit of thumb sucking.
If thumb sucking isn’t stopped by the age of six, serious orthodontic problems can occur. At the age of 6, permanent teeth begin to erupt, and the act of thumb sucking can cause the upper teeth to protrude and the lower teeth to recede, creating an overbite.
Dummies can be more difficult for parents, as if the dummy is lost during the night, they will need to intervene, However, it is easier to break this habit and prevent orthodontic problems.
Diet is important in oral health for both adults and children. Sugar is the biggest danger, particularly as it breaks down into acid and causes decay. The amount of sugar consumed isn’t the critical issue, it’s the frequency of consumption, for example it is better to eat ten lollies all at once, than to eat one lolly every few hours throughout the day. It’s best to give sugary treats at mealtime, when pH levels are already low and at an acidic level. Ensure children always drink a glass of water after consuming anything sugary, as this will help to dilute the acidity content.
Proper brushing technique is vital in setting up a lifetime of oral health. The most vital areas to concentrate on is the area where the tooth and gum meet, as this is where plaque begins. To properly brush this area, you should hold your brush at a 45-degree angle, and massage the area to loosen plaque before flicking out and away from the gums.
People commonly miss their lower jaw when brushing, and the curvature makes it difficult to brush. The best way to reach this area is to hold the brush vertically and brush each individual tooth.
Follow these tips, and you’ll give your kids the best chance at lifelong oral health. Oral health is strongly connected to overall health, so begin early, reinforce the importance of healthy dental habits and watch your children thrive.