Did you know that three out of every seven children in America between the ages of 2 and 11 years old have cavities in their baby teeth? Or, that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children in the United States? It is true! Tooth decay is the number one disease among children. Now the good news—this epidemic is preventable.
Follow these tips to help your children avoid tooth decay and set them up for a lifetime of good oral health.
For babies, begin wiping the mouth and gums with a soft cloth following each feeding. This cleaning will keep the gums free of bacteria. Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle of juice or milk. Both have high sugar content, and sipping on them throughout the night fosters an environment that encourages tooth decay. If your child does prefer a bottle at bedtime, choose water instead.
Also, avoid kissing your baby directly on the mouth. Believe it or not, but parents and caregivers can directly transfer their own oral bacteria to their baby! In turn, this could increase your child’s risk of tooth decay.
For young children, make sure to instill good habits of oral hygiene as soon as possible. Teach your children proper gentle brushing techniques with a soft-bristled brush, as well as flossing technique once their teeth emerge to the point that they are touching. Use age-appropriate fluoridated toothpaste; just look for one with the American Dental Association seal of approval. Your child should begin using a regular cup, rather than a bottle, around his or her first birthday. Never dip a pacifier in a sugary beverage or “clean” it in your own mouth. Parents or other caregivers can easily transmit harmful oral bacteria to baby by sharing foods, eating utensils or kissing baby on the mouth. You can also set a good example for your child by letting them see you take pride in your oral health. Make brushing teeth before bed a family event!
Pediatric dental care also is important. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends children start visiting the dentist when they turn 1 year old or when the first primary teeth erupt from the gum line—whichever comes first. You also can help by feeding your child a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and cheese while limiting sugary foods and drinks.
Set an example by taking good care of your own teeth. Let your child see you brushing and flossing every day. This instills the importance of good oral hygiene. Children learn by example, so be sure that you also make an effort to eat a balanced, nutritional diet that limits sugar intake. Your oral health will thank you!
We know you value the health of your child. You can trust Wall Street Dentistry to provide top-quality pediatric dental care for your children. Want to learn more? Contact our office by calling (256) 878-0525 today.
Wall Street Dentistry provides total oral health care for patients in Albertville, Boaz, and Guntersville, Alabama.