While over 90% of children had a dental visit in the last year, there are many parents who are wondering, why practice good pediatric dental hygiene? Why should you be taking your child to the dentist?
Taking your child to see a pediatric dentist is the best way to maintain their oral health and avoid further dental issues into adulthood. But what are some other tips to encourage healthy dental practices at home?
In this article, you’ll learn more about pediatric dentistry and why you should help your child develop good oral hygiene skills.
What is Pediatric Dentistry?
Pediatric dentistry is a branch of dentistry that aims to treat children’s dental health. Pediatric dentists have an education in dentistry but spend an additional 2-3 years studying child development, anatomy, and behavior. They also see patients to gain hands-on experience.
Taking your child to a pediatric dentist offers many benefits. Pediatric dentists have the ability to detect dental problems early on and have specialized training.
They also understand how to make a child comfortable at the dentist’s office and work with the parents to ensure that happens in a safe environment. They know how to connect and communicate with children to ease their fears about visiting the dentist.
Developing a relationship with your pediatric dentist is important for your child’s future. This is because your pediatric dentist knows your child’s medical history and may offer insight if there are other medical problems down the road.
Why Does Oral Hygiene Matter for Kids?
You might be wondering why oral hygiene matters for kids at this age. They’re just going to lose their baby teeth, so do they really need to be concerned with their oral health?
The answer is, yes! Good oral hygiene matters for several reasons.
First, it helps prepare children for caring for their adult teeth. The habits they develop when they’re children transfer over into their adult life, especially when it comes to brushing and flossing their teeth.
The health of adult teeth is dependent upon the health of baby teeth. When baby teeth are subjected to cavities or decay, this can negatively impact the health of adult teeth.
Ignoring good oral hygiene practices also causes tooth decay and cavities in your child’s teeth. Over time, if there is too much decay, your child could experience severe dental health problems such as tooth loss or gum problems.
Good Oral Hygiene Tips for Kids
The time you invest to help your children care for their teeth is worth it. If you’re wondering how to get started with an oral care routine, here are some important tips to get you started. These tips may need to be tweaked to be more age-appropriate.
Brush Twice a Day
42% of children have cavities in their teeth. This is likely due to a lack of brushing the remains of food particles on their teeth.
Brushing twice a day removes food particles that are a breeding ground for bacteria. When you don’t brush your teeth, sugary foods leave behind plaque, which causes tooth decay. If the plaque stays on your teeth for long enough, it hardens into tartar, which is more difficult to remove.
Your child can begin brushing their teeth when their first tooth erupts, although it may not qualify as actual brushing. Until your child develops the motor skills to hold and maneuver a brush, you can wipe their teeth with a warm washcloth after meals.
Once your child can hold a toothbrush, brush your teeth with your child so they know the proper way to brush. Do this twice a day: at night and in the morning. Children may not be able to brush their teeth well, or on their own, until they’re about 8-10 years old.
Flossing may seem challenging for children, but it’s necessary to remove extra food particles that brushing misses. While children cannot use string floss just yet, you can purchase floss picks to do the job. Floss picks have a small string of floss attached to them so children can easily glide them between their teeth, although they will need parental supervision.
Visit the Pediatric Dentist
Once your child gets their first tooth, they’re ready for their first trip to the dentist! Visiting the dentist twice a year allows the dentist to ensure that your child’s teeth are growing well and catch any dental problems early on. When children are a bit older, they get their teeth cleaned to remove any stubborn plaque and tartar to promote healthy teeth as they grow.
Additionally, the pediatric dentist can inform you when your child is ready for orthodontic work. They can refer you to an orthodontist who specializes in tooth and jaw alignment. When a child is ready for the orthodontist depends on the health of their teeth and the rate of development.
Cleaning your child’s teeth isn’t the only way to preserve their dental health. Choosing healthy and crunchy foods develops strong teeth and can minimize the amount of plaque build-up on teeth. Foods rich in calcium also help grow strong teeth.
It’s important to decrease the amount of sugar in your child’s diet. Excess amounts of sugar lead to cavities and tooth decay, even with normal brushing. Limiting sugary foods and sticking with healthy, whole foods gives your child’s dental health the best chance possible.
Use These Pediatric Dental Hygiene Tips for Healthy Teeth!
Pediatric dental hygiene matters in that it helps your child form healthy dental habits. Practicing these good oral hygiene habits sets your child up for a healthy smile through childhood and beyond.
Is your child due for a dental check-up? Our staff at our pediatric dentist’s office can help you set up your appointment! Contact us today to schedule your consultation.