Helping your children learn to take care of their teeth requires more than just showing them how to brush. In addition to having the discipline to check they're brushing properly every morning and night, you'll need to stay on top of their visits to a local kids' dentist. But learning the basics of pediatric dental care doesn't have to be challenging. Find out everything you need to know about your child's teeth and how to care for their smile as they grow.
Starting Out Right with Baby Tooth Care
A good diet low in sugary snacks and drinks will help your child enjoy good oral health for life. But you'll also need to take a hands-on approach to teach them about cleaning their teeth which should start when they are an infant. For babies with no teeth yet, wiping the gums gently with a dampened soft cloth is a good way to keep the mouth clean and prevent gum irritation. Once the first tooth erupts, it's time to see the dentist and learn about brushing. Babies and toddlers often make brushing difficult, but persevering and doing whatever amount of brushing you can do will help tremendously. Watch out for juice, which is full of sugar and acids that harm young teeth. Water and unsweetened milk are far better drinks for young children, especially if they don't regularly brush yet.
Why Take Good Care of Baby Teeth?
You may not know it, but tooth decay is the number one chronic infectious disease among American children. It's also highly preventable just with routine brushing and flossing. By taking better care of the baby teeth before they fall out, your child's mouth stays healthier in general. It's also easier for the adult teeth to grow in straight and properly aligned if the baby teeth stay strong and intact until they fall out naturally. Some childhood eating issues are caused by tooth decay and the sensitivity it creates. If your child suddenly refuses to eat some of their favorite foods, a visit to the pediatric dental office could reveal a cavity that is making them hesitant to eat.
When to Schedule Dental Visits
The first visit to see a kids' dentist should be timed to your child's first tooth. As soon as there's a single tooth in their mouth, they're at risk for developing cavities in it. Fighting tooth decay from the very start ensures your child has a beautiful smile for life. Make sure your child visits the dentist every six months and for any other appointments that are needed. If you suspect a serious dental health emergency, make a visit as soon as possible rather than waiting. Children are more susceptible to health problems from tooth decay and gum disease, so don't put off any recommended dental visits. If your child eats a lot of sugar or refuses to let you brush their teeth, they may need to see the dentist more often to protect their smile.
Helping Your Child Build Good Habits
Teaching your child to brush twice a day and floss once a day is a challenge, but your patience and efforts will be rewarded with better oral health for the rest of their life. Finding toothbrushes and flossing tools that make the process fun rather than frustrating is often the key. The team at the pediatric dental office you visit can help support these habits. Work with your child's dentist to explain to them why brushing is so important, even if it seems boring at the time. With enough support from the professionals and the rest of the family, any child can remember to brush their teeth in the morning and before bed.
What Pediatric Dentistry Services Are Commonly Needed?
Routine teeth cleaning is the first type of pediatric dentistry your child will need. If tooth decay occurs, they may need to have the resulting cavities drilled and filled to prevent further damage. Tooth decay that is overlooked for too long may result in the need for a root canal or extraction. Other dentistry services often recommended for children include fluoride treatments and sealants that help reinforce the enamel layer of the tooth to resist decay. Gum disease is less common among young patients than adults, but if the early signs of gingivitis appear, your child will need prompt treatment for it. As your child becomes a tween and then a teenager, they may need braces and other treatments to straighten any alignment issues with their teeth. Ensuring they don't miss any dental appointments as a young child will reduce the chances that braces are needed later.
Find pediatric dental care that will make your child look forward to their appointments here at Preston Dental Loft. We specialize in treating children with kindness and patience so they don't develop a fear of the dentist's office. Since we serve patients of all ages, you can model good dental care by having your appointments here as well to set a good example for the younger members of the family.