Taking Kids to the Dentist: Establish Healthy Habits Early On

Taking Kids to the Dentist: Establish Healthy Habits Early On

Childrens dentists in Cleveland, Ohio

Every parent loves to see their child smile, but many overlook the importance of routine dental cleanings for their children. As with adults, any sugars they eat can react with harmful bacteria in their mouth, causing cavities or gum disease if left untreated.

Tooth decay is far more common among children than many parents realize, but there are a few steps you can take with your child to help them avoid it entirely. For just a few minutes each day, you can teach your child habits that will help them enjoy healthy teeth for years to come.

Tooth Decay is Common
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry reports that tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood ailment. Early childhood caries afflict 20 times more children than diabetes, five times more than asthma, and 4 times more than obesity, and are almost entirely preventable.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42% of children between ages 2 and 11 have cavities in their baby teeth. Lower-income children often experience a higher frequency and greater intensity of the disease.

The incidence of tooth decay may increase further, as sugars and starches become more common food additives. However, you can protect your child’s teeth by helping them to establish healthy habits.

Establish Good Dental Hygiene Early
Childhood tooth decay can cause problems which can follow your child for the rest of their life. They may face unnecessary pain, costly dental office visits and lost time in school. They might also have trouble and develop self-esteem issues.

Poor diet and oral hygiene can also permanently damage your child’s adult teeth and lead to more serious health problems, such as gum disease. In recent years, scientists also have discovered connections between poor dental health and heart disease, among other ailments. Your child’s dental health can affect their whole body.

The key to fighting tooth decay is prevention, much of which can be done at home through daily dental care. While in some cases children face a hereditary susceptibility to tooth decay, brushing, flossing, and a healthful diet can be enough to stave off many instances of it.

Make sure to teach your child good habits early on to help them maintain their dental health.

  • Brush at least twice a day
  • Floss daily
  • Limit sticky or sugary foods
  • Don’t eat before bed; the last thing to touch a child’s tooth should be a toothbrush
  • Avoid damaging the teeth with hard objects

The Importance of Pediatric Dentistry
While it is essential for your child to practice good oral hygiene habits, alone they will not be enough to protect from tooth decay.

Plaque buildups can form on your child’s teeth in a matter of hours after they eat a meal; these deposits can mineralize and require professional assistance to remove. Stains between your child’s teeth can form even with regular brushing and flossing.

If your child’s teeth are damaged from play or sport, they could develop problems that could cause damage to a permanent tooth. Regular dental visits are a necessary component of your child’s dental health regimen. They can help to detect any problems that may affect your child’s dental health before they become serious issues.

A dentist also can determine if your child is susceptible to dental health problems, and can prescribe a course of treatment to make sure they don’t affect your child’s health.

Try to schedule regular dental check ups for your child every six months, or more frequently if your dentists recommends them. Your child’s dentist will remove plaque and build-ups which can cause cavities or periodontal disease, a serious form of gum disease.

During your appointment, the dentist also can determine if your child is engaging in any habits which could negatively impact their dental health, such as poor flossing, brushing, or if they are grinding their teeth. Your child’s dentist also can prescribe X-rays, which can detect any problems as your child’s adult teeth grow in.

This can alert you to problems such as a misaligned or impacted teeth, which may require further treatments to correct.

Taking your child to the dentist regularly can help them to continue practicing dental health habits into adulthood.

First impressions mean everything, especially when you’re taking your child on their first trip to the dentist. The right one can help set your child on a path of a lifetime of good dental health choices. It’s important to find a dentist who will create a welcoming environment for your child, making sure they are at ease throughout their appointment and leave looking forward to their next visit.

— By Dr. Jarod Johnson of Arctic Dental
, which is committed to the care of family oral health with an emphasis on children from birth through adolescence.

1 Comment

  1. I liked what you said about how the pediatric dentist can help determine if the habits your child is building are good. I have been trying to get my kids to get into a habit of brushing and flossing their teeth, but maybe the technique isn’t quite right. I’ll have to talk with our dentist about that.

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