When it comes to tooth decay in children, many people treat it as just a natural consequence of childhood, and this is reflected in statistics. According to the CDC, about 1 of 5 (20%) children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. This number drops slightly as children get older, to 13% of adolescents between the ages of 12 to 19. However, that’s still a substantial amount of tooth issues, and for families with low incomes, the number keeps up higher. In order to avoid this becoming a potential greater issue later in life, it’s a good idea to get started now when it comes to giving your children the means and mindset to keep their teeth healthy. Here’s what you don’t want to miss.
Visiting The Dentist Often
This may sound a bit obvious, but it bears visiting that you’re not going to be able to do everything here yourself, and that means getting a dentist’s advice and guidance regularly. According to JavodGol, DDS, head of Precision Dentistry in Columbia, MD, “routine visits are a great one-stop oral health check-in. Not only do we clean the teeth, but we also check the gums for signs of gum disease and find out whether any other things in your life might be affecting your oral health. Many medical conditions can have oral health effects, and the only way to know whether you are at risk is to consult with a professional.”
Is your child dealing with dentist anxiety? This isn’t rare, but depending on their age, you may be able to ease things with a mock visit or bringing music or a favorite toy to distract them. If the anxiety is more severe, you may want to talk to your dentist about an appropriate type of sedation to help the dentist do their work. Ultimately, though, the goal is to give your child a positive perspective of their dentist.
In general, when dealing with children, it’s a good practice to try and establish good habits early. Even babies can get in on the action. When their teeth first start coming in, try practicing with a finger brush with toothpaste. For one, both breast and formula milk have sugar, which can cause decay. In addition, it’s a good idea to get babies used to the sensation of brushing on their gums and teeth. The same thing applies with seeing a dentist or knowing what foods to enjoy or avoid. Speaking of good brushing practice, it’s a good idea to always lead by example.
Leading By Example
It’s important that you don’t just assume that your child is brushing properly after they’ve been taught, even if you’ve done a good job of getting them eager to get started. Make sure that you supervise them, and make sure that you’re showing off good technique when you’re brushing as well. Work to make sure that they are brushing in a circular motion and not forgetting the gum line. If you’re having a little trouble getting them encouraged to brush, try and let them choose their own toothbrush with a favorite color or character. You’d be surprised what a big difference a little step can make when it comes to children.
When it comes to fluoride, for the most part, children are getting what they need from drinking water and toothpaste, but in some areas, that may not be the case. This is important because it helps reduce the risk of cavities. If a child isn’t getting it regularly, they may get a fluoride cleaning from their dentist or even an oral supplement.
To clear the air, a single cavity isn’t the end of the world. After all, children are still learning about health in general, and every now and then, that may mean eating and doing things that aren’t the best of them. However, when these issues do arise, what you want to do is try and treat it as a problem to be solved. What may they be doing that could lead to oral health issues? What are they not doing enough of, perhaps? How can you encourage them to act in a way that will solve the issue? Using this mentality is a good way to make sure that you don’t end up getting any potentially surprising dentist bills in the future.