When you bring your kids to Millennium Family Dental, you’re definitely doing the right thing as a parent. However, you probably know that just dental checkups aren’t enough to keep your kids’ mouths healthy. Here are a few tips for navigating your kids’ oral health and hygiene.
Don’t neglect fluoride
- It’s incorporated into teeth as they grow and form in your child’s mouth immediately after they ingest the fluoride
- It protects teeth against all the sugary things your children love to eat
The last point is perhaps the most pertinent. Kids love sugar, and sugar is one of their teeth’s biggest enemies. By ensuring that your children receive a proper amount of fluoride, you can help offset the damage done by the sugary foods your children crave.
Don’t pick up soda and sports drinks
It’s a rare thing to find a kid who doesn’t like drinking Gatorade or Powerade. After all, these sports drinks taste good, look colorful and attractive to younger children, and some contain caffeine which can make them addictive.
While some sports drinks are healthy and safe for adults, it’s recommended that you don’t let your kids drink them until after their adult teeth have come in and they’ve completed their orthodontic treatment. This has a lot to do with the sugar content in these drinks, as well as certain acids that children’s teeth don’t handle as well as adult teeth. Even with adult teeth, you should still keep an eye on sugary drink consumption and watch for any signs of decay.
Bring your children in early
Your children should see a dentist no later than six months after their first tooth erupts, or by their first birthday – whichever event occurs first.
Bringing your children to the dentist at an early age alleviates problems down the road. It establishes the dentist’s office as a place that’s a regular part of life, as opposed to a place that’s filled with dread. How often do you show up to the dentist’s office only to have your ears treated to the sounds of other screaming children? If you take your kids to the dentist at the youngest possible age, and do it regularly, it won’t be your children making all the noise for once!
Regular dental visits from a young age also help establish the importance of oral health in a child’s life. Trying to explain the concept of cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease to a five-year-old isn’t the easiest conversation to have. But if your kids are used to brushing and flossing, along with annual visits to the dentist for a cleaning, good oral health habits will become second nature and something that your children won’t question or fight you about.
Evaluate them for orthodontic treatment at age 7
While every child is different, 7 is the widely recommended age for this evaluation. Even if they haven’t lost all of their baby teeth at this point, we will easily be able to tell what your children will need and set a schedule for treatment that will give them beautiful, straight teeth as quickly as possible.
Your kids’ teeth don’t reflect on your parenting
Ultimately, some oral health problems in children are normal. Factors beyond your control, like their unique genetic predispositions, may lead to crooked teeth or weak enamel no matter what you do. The most important thing for you to know is that we aren’t here to judge your parenting. We’re here to help your child to be healthy and happy.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t make an effort to preserve your kids’ dental health. Do what you can for your child’s teeth–brush them or make sure they’re brushing properly, watch for signs of decay and discomfort, and bring them to us when those signs appear. But don’t let embarrassment about a problem get in the way of seeking prompt treatment for your child.
Your children’s teeth, and overall oral health, are important. If you have any questions about your children’s teeth, then as your family dentist in Meridian, we at Millennium Family Dental can answer them. Contact us to learn more, or schedule an appointment.