They may be young, but your children’s’ dental health should be prioritized as early as possible. Proper childhood dental care sets the tone for your child’s lifetime dental health and helps ensure that their teeth will grow in strong, clean, and free from cavities.
This may sound simple, but child dental health goes beyond just brushing; parents need to be aware that effective oral care for children requires positive dental habits across the board, including diet and maintenance. Finding a dentist for children is the next step, as they will play a large role in your child’s future oral development.
What is Children’s Dentistry? Why is it Important?
Children’s dentistry is a form of dental care provided to young children by pediatric dentists. Dentistry for kids is vital because it sets the stage for your child’s oral health throughout their lifetime, and therefore must be prioritized.
Your baby’s first visit to the dentist should be before his or her first birthday, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Babies are at risk for cavities even while their teeth are in the earliest stages of development. Many toddlers develop cavities, or other oral health problems before reaching the age of two. These risks make early childhood dental care by a children’s dentist a high priority.
Just a few of the important pediatric dental treatments a dentist for children provides include:
- repairing cavities
- correcting tooth defects
- treating gum diseases
- oral ulcers
- pediatric periodontal disease
- teeth cleaning
- fluoride applications
- helping remedy finger and thumb sucking
- Bite correction and teeth straightening
What are Five Little Known Secrets to Children’s Dental Health?
Although most parents know the basics of maintaining their children’s’ dental health, there are a number of little known tips that can be utilized to help your child, such as:
1. Use Natural Sweeteners
Xylitol is a natural sugar that actually reduces bacteria and helps prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Sugar promotes bacterial action, producing an acid that allows bacteria to stick to teeth and cause decay. Bacteria cannot use xylitol to produce acid, so they slide off the teeth instead of sticking to them. This means that bacteria cannot break down tooth enamel.
Choose snacks and candy products containing xylitol, such as mints, candy, or chewing gum, after meals and snacks, and use xylitol toothpaste for brushing, followed by an oral rinse.
2. Teach Your Children How to Brush Their Teeth Properly
Teach your kids how to brush their teeth properly. Use a very soft toothbrush for babies and small children, and prioritize using children’s gel toothpaste. Before bed, be sure to make the time to help your child learn proper tooth brushing technique, which includes small, circular brushing motions and brushing along the gumline on both sides of the teeth.
Work with your child to develop a habit of brushing and flossing twice daily. Encourage older children to maintain their dental hygiene, perhaps by providing them with new colorful toothbrushes featuring exciting themes for kids.
3. Brush Both with Fluoride Toothpaste and Dry Toothbrush
Using a fluoride toothpaste is essential for dental health, however, dry tooth brushing (brushing teeth without using water or toothpaste) a child’s teeth can also help reduce plaque and contribute to oral health. Fluoride toothpaste eliminates bacteria and helps protect your child from tooth decay and gum disease.
4. Avoid Fruit Juices for Babies in Their First Year
Fruit juices contain as much sugar as many kinds of soda have. When bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars, the acid they generate in the process breaks down tooth enamel. Healthier alternatives to juices, such as water, tea, or freshly squeezed lemonade are recommended to avoid the onset of cavities.
Due to concerns about dental decay, weight gain, and other health risks, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that babies under 12 months of age should not be given fruit juices. The AAP has also suggested that toddlers should not be allowed to drink fruit juices frequently during the day or at bedtime.
5. Take Your Child for Routine Visits to the Dentist
Brushing their teeth and eating less sugar are good habits to promote your child’s dental health, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook regular visits to the dentist. Regular pediatric dental checkups and cleanings are essential to maintaining dental health earlier in your child’s life. Typically, dental appointments should be scheduled every six months, unless your child needs orthodontic treatment or has other dental issues that require more frequent visits.
Schedule an Appointment with a Children’s Dentist in Atlanta GA
Early dental care for your child can help prevent tooth decay and oral diseases down the road. If you’d like to learn more tips about how to keep your child’s teeth healthy or schedule an appointment, with a children’s dentist at Nia Pediatric Dentistry, call us at (770) 479-9999, or fill out our Appointment Request form.