Although baby teeth do eventually fall out, they still serve a significant role in your child’s overall oral health. They are responsible for holding a place for adult teeth and are necessary for eating, speaking and smiling. Keeping your child’s baby teeth free from tooth decay helps keep them smiling and pain-free.
Protect your child’s teeth from tooth decay and cavities
Tooth decay and cavities are a result of bacteria turning sugar into acid. It’s also one of the most common childhood diseases and more than four in 10 children have some form of decay within their baby teeth. Avoiding sugary drinks and foods, which increase the risk of tooth decay, is one way to help minimize this problem.
Tooth decay can cause pain and discomfort in children. It can make it hard for them to chew properly and can lead to problems with their adult teeth too. When your child’s baby teeth come in, you should begin implementing healthy habits, aimed at preventing tooth decay, right away. You should actually start to clean your child’s teeth as soon as they come in. It’s also best to teach your child to brush their teeth twice a day starting at an early age. Other best practices include providing them with a toothpaste that contains fluoride and taking them to the dentist regularly.
Some of the best ways to prevent tooth decay at home include proper brushing and flossing habits, incorporating fluoride into their routine and eating healthy foods. On top of what you can do at home, it’s always advisable to see your family dentist regularly.
The first baby tooth
Most family dentists suggest that children start using very small amounts of toothpaste when they get their first tooth. Typically, the right amount of toothpaste is about the size of a grain of rice. At Rhoades Family Dentistry, we recommend using training paste over the grain-of-rice-sized toothpaste because the good taste helps encourage kids to brush their teeth. For children three years and older, the right amount of toothpaste is about the size of a pea.
Instilling good habits in your child’s life helps immensely with their oral health. You should teach them from a young age to brush their teeth twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride. Between the ages of seven and eight, most children can brush their teeth on their own. At this stage, you’ll still want to ensure that they spend at least two minutes and brush all sides of their teeth. For more information on the right amount of fluoride toothpaste for children, see this article.
What if my child doesn’t like brushing their teeth?
Many parents have a tough time getting their children to brush their teeth regularly and with ease, but turning it into a fun activity can help! One way to encourage your child to brush their teeth is by letting them pick out a toothbrush of their choice and helping them to be excited about it. Although, you’ll still want to be sure it’s a proper size for their mouth. Another way to encourage your child to brush their teeth is by playing a song of their choice for two minutes.
Fluoride can be found in tap water and toothpaste and helps protect teeth from tooth decay. When picking out a toothpaste that’s right for your child, be sure to read the label and opt for the brands that contain fluoride. Another way to ensure your child is getting enough fluoride is by having them drink tap water instead of bottled water. Most cities and towns have fluoride added to their drinking water, making this one of the easiest ways to help care for your child’s teeth. You can also ask your family dentist about fluoride treatments. For more information on fluoride treatments, see our article on the benefits of fluoride at your dental visit.
Help your child maintain a healthy diet
Low sugar foods are generally best to maintain healthy teeth. Healthy foods and snacks can make a big difference in the oral health of your child. Making sure your child gets sufficient amounts of calcium also helps keep their teeth strong and incorporating cheese, yogurt or milk into their diet can be a great way to do so. You should also limit the number of sugary drinks you give your child. Generally, it’s best to stick with tap water and only give them milk and juice during meals instead of in between.
Take regular trips to your family dentist
You should begin taking your child to the dentist for regular check-ups when they are 12 months old. Regular visits from a young age help to maintain good oral health and provide them with positive experiences early on. If you have any questions about how to care for your child’s teeth, please don’t hesitate to contact us or give our Olathe family dentist office a call at 913-782-8900. We look forward to supporting you and your child with all of your future dental needs and visits.