As a parent, you're used to making your child's health a priority, and dental health should be a key focus of this endeavor. Parents who take a proactive approach to dental hygiene can instill good habits in their children and lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy teeth. In this guide, you'll learn three tips for kids' dental health that every parent should know.
1. Oral Hygiene Starts Before Baby Teeth Emerge
Parents who are eager to enjoy a nightly dental care routine with their child can rejoice: you don't have to wait for the first tooth to appear before you start! Pediatric dentists recommend using gauze or a soft cloth to wipe babies' gums after meals and before bedtime. Babies naturally produce less saliva than adults, so this step will help to rinse away bacteria and food particles.
2. You Can Make Nutrition Easy and Fun
Anything you do to make tooth-healthy foods more exciting or convenient will build positive associations and help your child make their own healthy choices later. Cut up snacks like apples, carrots, and cheese ahead of time so that they are ready when it's time for a snack, and save sweet and starchy foods for a special treat after dinner. Also, remember that every child will be more engaged at the table if they have a favorite toy seated with them.
3. Put the Bottle Away Before Bedtime
Some babies and toddlers may feel comforted if they are put to bed with a bottle, but this can be a bad choice for your child's dental health. Children can be affected by a unique dental condition known as baby bottle tooth decay. This condition is characterized by localized decay or cavities in the front teeth that come in contact with a bottle.
The risk of baby bottle tooth decay is increased if children are put to bed with sugary drinks and allowed to sip on them throughout the night. Saliva production is reduced during sleep, so cavities can form at a faster rate if your child goes to bed with a bottle. If your child won't rest without a bottle, avoid milk and juice and fill the bottle with water instead.
Focusing on dental health from early childhood is the most effective way to build healthy dental habits. Use these tips and remember you can also work with clinics like Dentistry For Children & Adolescents to address various dental concerns.