What is more beautiful than a child’s smile! Seeing your child happy and smiley can make you forget all your worries. But to keep your child’s teeth healthy, you must keep good hygiene measures. These measures are not difficult to maintain, they just need to be applied regularly starting at a very young age.
Parents play an important role in maintaining dental health of their children because a child cannot take care of his own teeth when very young. Preventing tooth decay and other dental problems therefore begins at home.
Nowadays, most parents are well informed and ensure that their children brush their teeth every day. But maintaining good dental health goes beyond brushing in the morning and at night before going to bed. This article summarises some important tips to remember.
We all know that sugar is bad for teeth, but why? Sweet food and sweet beverages mix with bacteria that are already in the mouth. These bacteria, particularly those known as Streptococcus mutans, digest the sugar and create an acid that attacks the enamel of teeth. When this process has begun, there is an inevitable development of dental caries.
Sugar is found in almost all foods, even in breast milk. Refined sugar makes the most damage to teeth. It is contained in candies, chocolate, cookies, and fruit juices. You must especially avoid soft drinks that are not only very sweet, but are also very acid, and they will attack the enamel of teeth very quickly.
Sugars that cause less damage are natural sugars contained in fruits and vegetables. That’s why fruits are recommended for snacks if your child cannot brush his teeth immediately. He must of course clean his teeth as soon as he can, even after eating a fruit.
You must not confuse fruits and fruit juices, which contain much more sugar and considerably damage teeth. For a child who has enough teeth to eat food, the best liquid to be taken when he is thirsty is simply water.
Complete article: Nutrition for Kids.
You must start cleaning your baby’s mouth even before he has teeth, in order for him to become accustomed to oral hygiene. You must continue brushing your child’s teeth in the early years of his life because he or she cannot do it alone.
When can a child brush his teeth by himself? One tip: if your child can write his name with a pencil, he has enough dexterity to use a toothbrush. At that time, you can let your child brush his teeth alone, but you must supervise him up to the age of 6 or 7 years.
Complete article: Brushing Your Child’s Teeth.
Visit your Dentist
The Canadian Dental Association recommends to consult a dentist 6 months after the eruption of the first tooth in the mouth of your child. Some other dental associations advise a first visit around the age of two. The more the first introduction to the dental practice is done at an early age, the better the child becomes accustomed to the environment without developing phobia of the dentist.
During the first visit, the dentist will check the state of the teeth, the gums, and that tooth eruption is proceeding normally. If there are cavities, they can be repaired quickly before they cause more serious problems. If necessary, a cleaning may also be advisable.
This first visit is also used to determine whether the efforts made on your child’s oral hygiene are well done, and you can ask for advice to the dentist for improvement.
Complete article: Your Child’s First Dental Visit.
Pacifiers and Thumb Sucking
The action of sucking on an object is normal for a baby because it helps to relax. It is very important never to put sugar, honey or corn syrup on a pacifier because it would quickly lead to the creation of cavities.
It is best to get your baby used to sucking on a pacifier rather than his thumb because parents can better monitor the behaviour of the baby. The thumb is always available and it is more difficult for the parent to supervise.
Around the age of two or three years, the child no longer needs the sucking action, and this habit should be stopped. If the child persists and continues to suck his thumb, it is important to talk about it to the dentist in order to find solutions.
Complete article: Thumb Sucking.
Help Prevent Early Childhood Tooth Decay
Early childhood tooth decay used to be called baby bottle tooth decay because it is caused by the fact that a baby sleeps with a bottle in his mouth containing a sweet liquid.
Once a baby has teeth in his mouth, he is susceptible to cavities. Breast milk, cow milk, and fruit juices all contain sugar. You must never leave your child asleep with a bottle in his mouth containing a liquid other than pure water.
Complete article: Early Childhood Tooth Decay.
Canadian Dental Association (www.cda-adc.ca).
The information above should be used as a reference only. Any medical decision should not be taken before consulting a health care professional.
The masculine gender may have been more used in the article, but without prejudice, to make reading easier.
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