Dental caries and other forms of oral disease that commonly affect children can be prevented. Yet dental caries is still one of the most common infectious diseases affecting children in the world. You should strive to protect your child from these dental conditions by instilling proper dental hygiene at an early age. Below are some of the things you can do to ensure that your child never suffers from childhood dental problems.
1) Preventive care should start before the first tooth emerged
While it may seem strange, it is very important to start worrying about your baby’s dental health before the teeth even appear. When childhood dental care begins at an early stage, it can help prevent future problems by eliminating harmful plague, which is a combination of food and bacteria. When left in the mouth, plaque can form a hard to remove tartar, which eventually causes cavities and gum disease. After feeding the baby, you should gently clean his gums – and teeth with a soft toothbrush specially made for the baby’s sensitive mouth. Alternatively, you can use a damp washcloth.
You should schedule the baby’s first dental appointment as soon as he gets to one year. However, if the first teeth emerge before that, you can take the baby to the dentist you can take the baby to the dental clinic as early as six months of age to kick start his/her dental health care.
2) Nursing or bottle-feeding before bed can result in tooth decay
Infants have an innate need to suckle and as any new parent would know, they often fall asleep while at it. However, when the baby falls asleep sucking a bottle or nursing, the formula or milk pools in the mouth, coating newly erupted teeth and gums with harmful sugars that can severely compromise their dental health. It is therefore not advisable to let your child fall asleep while nursing or feeding from a bottle, but rather ensure that you gently wipe or brush his/her gums before putting him/ her to sleep.
3) Brush two times a day, and floss regularly
When your child gets to 6 or 7 years of age, he/ she should able to brush and floss his teeth on his own. However until that time comes, it is your responsibility to brush’s teeth at least two times a day and floss once. Buy a soft bristled toothbrush to protect the child’s delicate gums and replace it as soon as the bristles start wearing out. A child’s toothbrush should be replaced every three months for optimal dental health.
4) Do not use fluoridated toothpaste on your young child
Before your child gets to an age of three or four, ensure that you only use non-fluoridated toothpaste. Kids at this early stage do not yet know how to properly spit out toothpaste and end up swallowing it. This is can result in a dental condition known as enamel fluorosis, which is characterized by white lines developing on the enamel of the teeth. However, when they get older, combine the use of fluoridated toothpaste with regular visits to the dentists to ensure optimum dental health.
5) Limit sugar drinks and snacks
You may notice that as soon as the children outgrow the need to suck, they usually develop sweet tooth. However, you can ensure that you child develop healthier gums and teeth if you start limiting sugary drinks and snacks from her diet at an early stage. If he/she likes cheese, the better, research has shown that certain cheeses like cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss and Monterey have substances that promote dental health in children.
Diligent dental care can help ensure that children do not experience any problems with their teeth and gums. Taking an interest in your child’s dental health from an early age will prevent many problems down the line by offering better protection against bacteria.