7 Children’s Dental Care Tips
To have children means to have joy, love, frustration, and responsibilities. Lots of responsibilities. Among that long list of responsibilities is your child’s dental care. There’s a lot more to understanding the world of children’s dental care than simply connecting to your local pediatric dentist (although that is definitely important).
Here we’ve put together a list of tips for maneuvering the world of pediatric dental health. Some things may seem obvious and intuitive, but you may be surprised by a few others.
1. Start Dental Hygiene Habits Early
Even before their first tooth comes in, you can introduce the idea of mouth hygiene to your child. Gently wipe their gums with water and a clean wash cloth. Once their first tooth erupts it’s time not only to go to your friendly pediatric dentist, but also to start establishing the routine of brushing their teeth (or tooth if it’s just the first one).
2. Find a Pediatric Dentist that You and Your Kids Feel Comfortable With
You may be happy as a peach with your own dentist, but the reality is for your children, you really need a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists have an extra two years of schooling under their caps that has prepared them to work specifically with children. This means they’re better prepared for the psychology of working with children, and that they’re specially trained for the dental issues and treatments that are specific to children as well.
For more information on how to select a pediatric dentist for your kids, read our in-depth post titled, “How to Find the Best Kids Dentist Near Me” where we list how to look and what to look for. This is an important decision because positive dental experiences in children lead to better dental health in adults.
3. Baby Teeth Require Care, Regardless of the Fact That They’ll Fall Out
Unfortunately, some parents believe dental health for baby teeth isn’t terribly important because they’ll all fall out anyway. Proper dental care of baby teeth is important for several reasons. Starting with the fact that dental issues, even in baby teeth, can be very painful. Save your baby/child the pain when you can. Secondly, habits that are formed early are very hard to break. If you’re child learns the habit that dental care isn’t a priority, when their permanent teeth come in, it’s going to be difficult to change that habit on its head. And finally, the baby teeth help your child learn to chew, to speak properly, and reserve the space in their growing jaws for when their permanent teeth come in.
For a more in-depth look at baby teeth and why their care is so important, read our post titled, “Baby Teeth Decay: Is It a Big Deal?”
4. Twice a Day Brushing is a Must
Until at least eight years of age, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends parents do or assist in their children’s teeth brushing. The reasons vary depending on age, development, and character, but don’t take away from the necessity.
Just because it’s a “must” doesn’t mean it has to be misery however. Get them fun colors or characters of toothbrushes. Instead of setting a timer, listen to a fun song to get them to last the full two minutes of brushing. The American Dental Association (ADA) put together a playlist of fun tooth brushing songs. Check them out, and find a favorite!
5. Careful and Cautious with Loose Teeth
If your child has a tooth that is knocked loose from an accident or a fall, just because it’s a baby tooth doesn’t mean you should pull it out. In these circumstances, it’s best to contact us right away to get in and let one of our pediatric dentists check it out.
If it’s a tooth that is wiggly and loose just because, then let your kid wiggle it all they want, but don’t try to pull it out. Teeth get loose because the roots are being pushed out by the permanent teeth preparing to erupt. This is a natural process and is best left alone.
For more information about how and when your kids baby teeth start to fall out, check out our post, “The Childhood Rite of Passage, Losing a Baby Tooth“. Alternatively, if a tooth has been knocked loose or chipped, call us right away and follow our instructions which we’ve lined out clearly in our post, “My Child Chipped a Tooth: What Should I Do?”
6. Get on the Fluoride Train
Fluoride may be controversial in some circles, but the truth is, fluoride makes tooth enamel stronger, helps teeth resist the acid and bacteria that are found in our mouths, and community water fluoridation is considered one of the top public health achievements of the 20th century. Make sure the toothpaste for your kids (and you!) has fluoride added, and if your water supply at home is fluoride water, be sure they’re drinking it instead of store bought bottled water.
Additionally, fluoride varnishes are a preventative service that our pediatric dental practice and others offer.
7. Healthy Eats Help Healthy Smiles
Even with routine brushing and flossing, fluoride water and toothpaste and routine checkups healthy eating is important. We explore this topic thoroughly in our post titled, “Do-Eats and Don’t Eats for Kids to Promote Healthy Teeth“. Furthermore, we realize that getting your kids to eat healthy can seem like an impossible challenge. Because of that, we put together a list of hacks to encourage healthy eating in your home. Read our post, “To Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy – Try These 7 Magic Tricks“.
If your child is due for a checkup, don’t wait until the holidays are over to get it done. We’re offering patients with appointments until the end of the year, $25 gift cards. For more information about this promotion, give us a call today!