As parents, your dream is to probably be the Coolest, Greatest Parents Ever. But, frankly, it is not just for yourselves, but for a real desire to make your child’s life better. From choosing the least rash-inducing diaper to child-proofing the house and car, you often tend to over-think and, as a result, overlook a few critical things.
One of these is the observance of proper dental care for children. You may think you’re choosing the best option for your little one, but this may not always be the case. By looking at the examples below, you will find that you may be inadvertently causing your child to have teeth problems later on. So read up and help save your child from the dreaded dentist’s drill!
Letting your kid brush alone
While you may foster the idea that children should be allowed to learn to do things by themselves, it does not apply to brushing their teeth. Being present in the room while they brush forces them to do the deed properly. Children under eight have also not fully developed their motor skills, so without you, they may not be able to cover everything, especially the hard to reach places. They might also be skimping on the time they actually need to spend brushing their teeth, so take the time to supervise this task.
Fluoride toothpaste is the best to use, but make sure your child spits it out after brushing. For children aged two years and under, use just a “smear” of toothpaste, and for three to six years old, a pea-sized amount is recommended.
Make it a point also to teach them proper oral hygiene early on, including flossing. Cavities can form in between teeth, and it will help prevent that from happening. Just remember to use soft, kid-friendly floss to avoid gum bleeding.
Babies should also have their gums massaged everyday to promote good dental care early on. Use a soft toothbrush or a cloth with water to do so.
Serving “healthy” food and drinks
Parents who have read up a lot on the subject of healthy eating will – quite understandably – want to start a similar habit with their children.
However, not all things crunchy and fruity will work well with young teeth and gums. Snacks such as raisins, bananas, crackers, oatmeal, and even milk are good for adults to consume and may even contribute positively to their well-being later on.
But for children?
Not so much.
The fault lies on the sugar and starch present in these snacks, which would not be a problem with adults who have learned how to take care of their teeth well. These sugars tend to stick to a child’s teeth, coating it over time, until it materializes as kiddy tooth decays, which may prove painful for your little one.
But dried, sticky fruits are not the only culprits.
Remember those fruit and vegetable juices in small boxes you always pack for their snack box?
It turns out they might not be treating your child’s teeth and gums right. This is because these drinks might have sugar added in them, which could cause damage to your child’s dental health, similar to sports drinks and sodas.
If you can’t convince your child to lay off the drinks, however, set a specific amount of time on which they could feast on sugary beverages until you could wean them off. Encourage them to drink water in between meals when they are thirsty. It also helps to pack a bottle of water for their snack box.
Giving your child a drink before bed time, other than water, is also not recommended. Any other drink, especially the ones given above, would cause sugar to be built up on their teeth overnight, paving the way for faster tooth decay. If, however, they refuse to go to sleep without drinking a glass of warm milk, have them brush their teeth again afterward to prevent the former scenario.
Neglecting to see the dentist regularly (or at all)
When it comes to your child’s oral health, your local pediatric dentist is your best friend. Compared to family dentists, these guys received special training after graduating from Dentistry, enabling them to develop an expertise in children’s dental care.
You should bring your child to a pediatric dentist after the appearance of their first tooth or not later than their first birthday. This is to ensure that your child gets proper dental care. You will also be able to ask for advice on how to promote better oral hygiene in your household.
If you do not know whether a pediatric dentist is available in your area, check online resources like MyChildrensTeeth.Org for a quick search. Otherwise, contact your local hospital to ask for recommendations.
Children’s oral hygiene habits will last for a lifetime. How they take care of their teeth while they are young will greatly affect their experience growing up.
It is, therefore, important to not take dental care for granted. Because if you do, your child might end up spending a painful, cavity-filled childhood, and no one ever wants that for their little one.