Every February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors The National Children’s Dental Health Month to increase awareness about the significance of having good oral health. Creating positive healthy habits for your children at an early age and scheduling them for regular dental visits helps children get a jump start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
Tooth decay, which can be largely prevented with good care, is one of the most common chronic diseases for children ages 6 to 11 and teens ages 12 to 19. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, tooth decay is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever in children. By kindergarten age, more than 40% of kids have tooth decay.
Here are seven easy tips to help your avoid letting your child be part of the 40%.
Oral Care Should Be Started Early
Your child should see a dentist by the time he or she is a year old, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Teach the Floss and Brushing Habits
Brushing your child’s teeth at an early age is vital from the start. You can softly brush your child’s gums even before your baby has teeth. You can do this by using water on a soft baby toothbrush, or clean their teeth with a soft washcloth. Starting early is a great way to instill routine so your child can live a life with appropriate oral hygiene.
Avoid Leaving a Bottle in Bed with Your Baby
Sugary liquids in a bottle will cling to your baby’s teeth, which provide food for the bacteria that lives in their mouth. Acids produced by the bacteria can trigger tooth decay. If your child develops tooth decay and it is not checked by a dentist it can affect a child’s growth, learning, and even their speech.
Control and Watch for the Sippy Cup Habit
If the beverage in a sippy cup is sugary then the prolonged use of a sippy cup can cause decay on the back of the front teeth.
Ditch the Binky by 2 or 3
Long-term use of a pacifier can be detrimental to your child’s dental health. Sucking too strongly on a pacifier or sucking on a pacifier after a child’s third birthday can affect how your child’s bite lines up or it can upset the shape of their mouth.
Watch Out for Mouth-Unfriendly Medicines
Children on medications for chronic conditions such as asthma and heart problems often have a higher decay rate due to the fact that many medications for children are flavored and sugary. If these medications stick on their teeth, the risk for tooth decay increases.
Stand Your Ground on Good Oral Hygiene
Parents often say that their children fight them on brushing, flossing and rinsing, so they let their child get away with not doing it. By not standing firm on instilling good oral hygiene parents run the rick on their child not having a healthy mouth which can lead to other developmental issues as well as expensive dentist visits later in life.