Making sure your children have a welcoming, safe, clean place for dental care is key for a lifetime of healthy teeth. As parents, you want to protect them from any issues that can be detected and dealt with early.
Starting young is key to ensure visiting the dentist is a regular part of their healthcare planning and practice. Here are six things to pay attention to:
- Bedtime Blunders
Many parents get in the habit of giving their little ones a bottle of milk or formula when they lay down for bed. Remember, lactose is a form of sugar and causes cavities. Giving them water instead can satisfy them without damaging their teeth unnecessarily.
- Fruit Juice Fallacies
Fruit is a healthy snack. However, fruit juices – while filled with good nutrients – need to be used sparingly. Why? Well, fruit juices are filled with large quantities of sugar. This makes them highly caloric and acidic. Sugar and acid naturally have a corrosive effect on teeth. Children’s health experts typically recommend 4 ounces of juice daily for young children and gradually increase to a maximum of 8 ounces daily when they are in high school. Remember, training your children to drink water is always healthy (provided they are receiving the recommended calories and nutrients per medical guidelines).
- The Place of Pacifiers
Pacifiers can be a controversial topic. North Creek Dental Care only wants to address this issue from a dental perspective. If you can, begin to wean them off a pacifier at around 18 months old. The Association of General recommends stopping use by age 2. Pacifiers being used long-term have been known to create significant orthodontic problems. Not using pacifiers will not guarantee a life without orthodontics. However, extended use can create issues that otherwise wouldn’t have been an issue for many children.
Delta Dental notes, “Prolonged pacifier use can cause changes in the shape of the roof of the mouth, prevent proper growth of the mouth and create problems with tooth alignment.” They go on to recommend using pacifiers only to help infants fall asleep, finding pacifiers with proper ventilation holes, and practicing hygiene before putting them in your infant’s mouth.
- Early Exposure (Meeting the Dentist)
Once your child has teeth, bring them in for what we call our “Happy Visit.”
This visit is intentionally designed to be a positive introduction to dental care. This visit has several components:
- Educating you as a parent about dental care and what to look for.
- We look at their teeth and provide a baseline for parents and clinicians.
- Reviewing what is coming up and what to expect for young children allows parents to understand typical treatment plans and healthy hygiene habits.
- Children should visit the dentist once a year until they are 2 or 3, then twice a year after that.
- Protection Playing Sports
Once your child starts playing contact sports, have them wear a mouthguard. While playing sports, they may have several issues arise or accidents happen. The ADA reports on their website:
“…the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation (NYSSF) forecasted that more than 3 million teeth would be knocked out in youth sporting events. They also reported that athletes who don’t wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth.”
Only 33% of parents in that study equipped their young athlete with a mouthguard. So what do you do if – wearing a mouthguard or not – your child has their tooth fall out?
If they have a tooth completely knocked out, put the tooth in a baggie or in a glass of milk and bring it to the dental office (can be reimplanted if taken care of quickly).
- Ensure An Orthodontic Evaluation
Many parents aren’t sure when their child should be looked at specifically for any orthodontic needs. Hopefully, your dentist will keep you up-to-date if you’ve invested in taking your child for regular visits. Either way, any child should have their orthodontic evaluation by age 8 or 9. Beyond this age, problems can require surgery and more expensive treatment plans along with increased discomfort.
Your child’s health is worth the investment. Prevention is almost always more affordable than correction after the fact. North Creek Dental Care can work with your insurance provider so you know exactly what is and isn’t covered for your child’s dental needs. Our goal is your goal: Providing the best, friendly care possible to give them a great start for a lifetime of quality care.
If you’d like to schedule an appointment for your child of any age, contact us here.