Simple Pediatric Dentistry Tips to Make Every Young Smile a Strong Smile
Here at Primary Dental Care of Garden Grove, California our dentists offer all of the preventative (and restorative) pediatric dentistry services our patients need to help give even the youngest patients a head-start when it comes to healthy teeth.
Just 3 years ago, the headline in the New York Times read, “Preschoolers in Surgery for a Mouthful of Cavities”. At the time of publishing, children as young as 2 1/2 were facing anesthesia to help them cope with the removal of cavities. Even the CDC reported that the organization had noticed an increase in the number of cavities that were being found in preschoolers. This was the first such increase in over 40 years, making the reality of the situation all the more surprising. According to recent reports, unchecked pediatric dental decay finally seems to be falling, which is good news for children and their parents alike. However, understanding just how easy it is for a child to suffer from tooth decay is an important reminder to get smart about pediatric dental care early.
As dentists like ours explain, it all comes down to good habits. With parents becoming busier, brushing can become an after-thought. When laziness and the attitude that “They’re just baby teeth, they’re going to fall out anyways” take hold, it can be hard to reverse the bad habits that follow. Even worse, bad habits that take root in adolescence tend to persist and get worse over time. Not only is this a detriment to a child’s long-term health — but it can also have a serious impact on a parents’ checkbook, now and in the future. Good habits now equal greater savings down the road, every parent can count on it.
There are a number of reasons why young children are at such risk for extensive dental decay. Unfortunately, none of the reasons are entirely new.
Sweets and Snacking at Bedtime
Sweet juices and unchecked snacking quickly contribute to plaque, decay, and cavities. Not only should snacking and juice be avoided before bed, but every child’s oral health routine should take diet into consideration throughout the day.
Bottled water over fluoridated tap-water
While some parents choose to give their children bottled water thinking it better for them, this is often not the case. Fluoride is added to tap water to help strengthen and protect teeth, if young children are given non-fluoridated tap water, it is best to give them fluoride in another form.
Visiting the dentist too late
Many parents erroneously believe that a child does not need to visit the pediatric dentist before their first birthday. This is not true. Even though an infant has fewer teeth, it’s still important to visit the dentist in order to assess their cavity risk and begin establishing a good oral health clan.
Brushing is not a Priority
Many toddlers hate tooth brushing or dental cleaning. Unfortunately, even the most patient parents understand that sometimes it’s easier to just “give in” than to deal with a tantrum. The important thing here is to not give in. It’s far better to see your child cry for a moment while their teeth are being cleaned with a soft brush than to cope with the reality of your toddler crying with a drill in their mouth while their first cavity is repaired.
Tips for Healthier Baby, Infant, and Toddler Teeth
Better oral health habits will undoubtedly lead to better smiles for children of every shape and size. Better yet, kids with healthy teeth are more likely to be confident about their appearance. Starting early with good habits doesn’t have to be hard. Follow these three simple tips to make pediatric dental care a breeze for your family.
Closely Monitor Oral Hygiene
Everyone understands that brushing is important, but sometimes they tend to forget that it’s just as important to remember how you brush. With this in mind, monitor closely how your children brush their teeth. Make sure they are brushing their teeth for 2 or 3 minutes, and with the proper force and technique — not too hard, with the (soft) toothbrush at a 45 degree angle with the teeth.
Make Brushing Family Time
Everything’s easier to do when everybody’s doing it. Make the right impression by brushing your teeth with your child. Toddlers around the world follow the lead of their parents, therefore, brushing with them is one of the best ways to help instill the good oral health habits that ensure long-lasting, healthy teeth.
Try a Reward System
Everybody likes a reward. Positively reinforcing your child’s oral health routine is an incredibly effective and fun way to encourage him or her to stick with it and make their oral health routine a central part of their morning and night. Try playing your child’s favorite song while brushing to help make the “event” seem a little less boring. You can also try a number of strategies and incentives, such as stickers, story-time, and more. Many families use a Colgate brushing chart like the one recommended by Colgate to give children an easy and fun visual prompt for healthy behavior. No matter what you do to get your child excited about brushing, the important thing to remember is that whatever you choose works for your family. Get creative!