Why dental care is important for children?
It’s essential to start developing a child’s dental care habits at a young age. Early dental care can help prevent dental problems. Developing good oral habits is also the first line of defence against many common dental issues, such as plaque, cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.
When should dental care for kids begin?
Experts recommend that dental care, including a child’s visit to the dentist, starts by 1 year of age or even before their teeth appear. Babies with dental problems caused by injury, disease, or a developmental problem should be seen by a dentist for advanced care. Some children may need dental checkups more frequently.
Here are good habits to practice to develop your child’s dental health.
Infants to 12 months old
Proper care of a child’s baby teeth, also known as primary teeth, is very important. These teeth hold space for the development of permanent teeth.
Clean baby’s mouth with water and a soft gauze or cloth after feedings and during bedtime. Do this until the first tooth appears.
As soon as the teeth appear, babies may have sore or tender gums. Parents should brush their child’s teeth for two minutes at least twice a day. Use a soft toothbrush and a smear of non-fluoride toothpaste.
Don’t bring a bottle of milk or juice to your child’s bed. The sugar in those liquids stay on a baby’s teeth throughout the night and can cause baby bottle tooth decay.
To prevent teeth from tipping forward or growing in crooked, try to avoid using a pacifier no later than 2 years old.
Make sure the baby has a nutritious and healthy diet to ensure good tooth development and to prevent cavities and other dental issues.
Schedule your child’s first dental appointment by the age of 1 or after his or her first baby tooth appears. Their teeth are usually visible between 6 to 12 months. Parents can ask their pediatrician prior to a dental appointment.
2 to 3 years old
Although some children two and older can start brushing their own teeth, parents should still follow up and make sure brushing becomes part of their children’s daily routine. Parents can find many creative ways to make brushing fun and encourage their children to be more enthusiastic about it.
Teach the children about effective brushing techniques. Brush gently using a circular motion for at least 2 minutes. Parents can also let the children hold the toothbrush while watching them.
Children around age 2 to 3 years can start flossing as soon as their upper and lower teeth touch.
Children can eat sweets and drink soda but in moderation as it can develop into plaques and tooth decay. Parents can make healthier meal and snack options, such as fruits or vegetables, to ensure a child gets as many nutrients and vitamins to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Use a toothbrush that is designed for their age group. You may also let them choose their toothbrush based on their favourite colour or cartoon character. Find a toothbrush that will help them develop their brushing habits more effectively.
When you purchase and use dental products for children, look for the ones with CDA seal. These products are validated and approved by dental professionals.Try using child-friendly flavoured toothpaste so they can enjoy brushing more.
Brush your teeth with your child to set a good example. Most children learn better and faster by imitating adults.
Visit a dentist twice a year or as often as recommended to check their oral health.
5 and older
Supervision is still required for children until they have established a good oral habit pattern. Once children start school, parents might not be there throughout the day to watch their children. It’s important to set an example to eat a variety of healthy foods and follow consistent oral care habits.
Permanent molars start to develop in children age 5 and older. It’s important to use a fluoridated toothpaste and soft-bristled toothbrush.
As soon as permanent molars appear, children can have sealants applied to prevent tooth decay. Sealants can be reapplied every 10 years.
Children 8 and older should use a toothpaste and toothbrush that is designed for the size and shape of their teeth for easier cleaning.
Encourage children to drink more water to help prevent tooth decay. Drinking water with fluoride can help strengthen the teeth and prevent the signs of cavities and tooth decay.
Children who are playing any contact sports should wear mouthguards to help protect the teeth from injury and trauma. This applies even for non-contact sports.
When should kids see a dentist?
Children should see the dentist by their first birthday. At the first visit, the dentist will explain proper brushing and flossing techniques and do a modified exam depending on your child’s age. The dental exam may include a full exam of the teeth, jaws, bite, and gums to check growth and development. If necessary, your child may also have a gentle cleaning to remove any plaque or stains.
If a child is at risk for cavities, the dentist may apply topical fluoride even before all teeth appear. Fluoride hardens the tooth enamel, which helps avoid dental cavities.
How to prevent cavities in children?
Cavities, or tooth decay, is the destruction of tooth enamel. To protect your child’s oral health, it is essential to understand the best ways to prevent dental cavities in children. Here are ways to get rid of cavities.
Brush and floss at least twice daily, especially after every meal and before bedtime. Use fluoride toothpaste for more effective brushing.
Limit the snacks. Avoid sugar, including and especially sugary drinks and soda. This is not good for your child’s teeth and their overall health.
Make routine visits to the family dentist. Your child should begin seeing the family dentist as early as possible.
What dental problems can happen?
Sometimes even the best brushing and flossing is not enough to effectively prevent cavities. Be sure to visit a dentist if your child complains of tooth pain, which could be a sign of a cavity that needs treatment. Dentists can determine the causes and signs of tooth decay or cavities and will go over treatment options to address your child’s oral health concern.
In cases of fractured tooth or extensive tooth decay, the dentist may opt for stainless steel or ceramic crowns procedure. These procedures can help maintain the tooth and prevent the spread of decay.
Regular dental checkups and good oral care habits can help prevent the need for this kind of extensive dental work. Also, encourage your child to wear mouthguards while playing sports, which can prevent serious injuries to teeth and gums.
Schedule an appointment with a dentist in Edmonton
Are you looking for a dentist in Edmonton? You can trust our friendly and compassionate dental team here at Design Dentistry to provide your child with a comprehensive range of treatment options for optimal oral health. Call our office today to schedule your child’s appointment 780-484-8138.