According to many organizations, the most common chronic children’s disease in America is tooth decay. Since this is the case, it is extremely important for parents to bring their kids to their pediatrician and they can provide you with information in regards to oral health care. Most people think that they see their dentist first, but in most cases, their newborn will first be seen by a pediatrician.
Pediatricians are able to identify any potential risk for dental problems in young infants and children, and this is because they see the patients frequently for general health care visits. They can also provide advice to parents and provide or coordinate appropriate care for their patients. If children have an affection, then they can refer them to a pediatric dentist.
According to the CDC, tooth decay is more common than asthma, and it is more common than hay fever in kids. Around 40% of kids experience tooth decay before they reach kindergarten. Also, kids who have baby teeth that have tooth decay are at more of a risk of getting cavities when they get their adult teeth.
Tooth decay is preventable, and health care professionals know this. However, steps to prevent the disease can be taken very early on in a child’s life. Many pediatricians realize that their efforts can help prevent tooth decay in infants. With that said, there are a few different ways parents can develop good oral health for their kids, and if you are interested in learning more, then check out the tips and advice below.
1. Know About Fluoride- Fluoride is a mineral that is found in a lot of different kinds of food, and some cities and towns add it to their drinking water, but fluoride can also help strengthen tooth enamel. This means the teeth can become more resistant to tooth decay, and plaque bacteria will have a harder time producing acid. If you are not sure if your drinking water contains fluoride, then you can contact your water utility company and ask if there is fluoride present in the drinking water. If none is present, then you might be able to receive a prescription for fluoride drops or even chewable tablets that your child can take.
2. Clean Your Child’s Teeth And Check Them- When teeth are healthy, then they will all be the same color, but if you check your child’s teeth and notice that there are stains present or even spots present, then contact a dentist and bring your child to see them. When your child gets a tooth or teeth, then start using a small amount of toothpaste that contains fluoride (the size of a grain of rice is good enough) and cleans your child’s teeth, and do this at least twice per day. It’s a good idea to clean the teeth before their bedtime, as well as right after they eat breakfast. When your child is a little older, age 3, then you can start using a little more toothpaste (about a pea-sized amount).
Teach your child how to spit out any excess toothpaste. When they get older, then you can start letting them use their own toothbrush, but as a rule of thumb, you should continue to put the toothpaste on the brush for your child, until they are 6. Your child will likely be around 7-8 before they can brush their teeth on their own, which means you will be aiding them with brushing their teeth until they are around that age.
3. Feed Them Healthy Food- Don’t feed your child foods that contain a lot of sugar, and the same goes for drinks. Instead of giving your child candy and cookies, give them veggies and fruits. However, when it comes to dried fruits, be careful because they can stick to the grooves and lead to cavities, which is why it is important to do a thorough job with brushing.
Also, another thing you can do to prevent tooth decay is to not put your child to bed at night with a bottle. This is because the sugar in it can lead to tooth decay, and your child can be put at risk if they are sucking on a bottle that is filled with fluids that have sugar in them. During the day, let your child use a pacifier, if they use one, but don’t dip it into any sugar, as well as honey. You should encourage your child to use a cup instead of a bottle when they are nearing their first birthday.
Visit your pediatrician and discuss developing a dental home. Your pediatrician will be able to work out a plan with you and advise you on how to go about creating a dental home, which is a term that means a dentist who provides quality and professional care. With that said, a dentist will usually see a child within the first six months of having a tooth emerged. When your child visits the dentist for the first time, then the dentist can make sure that your child has good oral health and then schedule future dental checkups.