Early childhood dental care is the practice of taking care of your child’s teeth and gums from infancy to adolescence. It involves brushing and flossing daily, visiting a pediatric dentist regularly, and preventing and treating any dental problems that may arise. Regular check-ups with the best dentist in Brunswick are crucial for monitoring your child’s oral health. Early childhood dental care is essential for your child’s oral health, as well as their overall health and well-being. In this article, we will discuss why early childhood dental care is important, and how you can help your child achieve happy smiles for life.
Early childhood dental care is important for many reasons. Some of them are:
Tooth decay and gum disease, which are the most common chronic diseases among children. Tooth decay can cause pain, infections, and tooth loss, which can affect your child’s eating, speaking, learning, and self-esteem. Gum disease can also lead to inflammation, bleeding, and bad breath, and can increase the risk of other health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Baby teethare vital for your child’s oral development. Baby teeth help your child chew properly, speak clearly, and smile confidently. They also hold the space for the permanent teeth, and guide them into the right position. Losing baby teeth too early can cause crowding, crookedness, and bite problems in the future.
It helps establish good oral hygiene habits that will last a lifetime. By teaching your child how to brush and floss effectively, and how to avoid sugary foods and drinks, you are instilling a sense of responsibility and care for their own health. You are also setting a positive example for your child, and making dental visits a fun and rewarding experience.
As a parent, you play a key role in your child’s early childhood dental care. You can help your child by following these tips:
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that you take your child to the dentist by their first birthday, or within six months after their first tooth erupts. This will help your child get used to the dental environment, and receive preventive care and guidance. You can also start cleaning your child’s gums with a soft cloth or gauze, and brushing their teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste as soon as they appear.
You should brush your child’s teeth twice a day, in the morning and at night, with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. You should also floss your child’s teeth once a day, as soon as two teeth touch each other. You can use flossers, picks, or interdental brushes to make flossing easier. You should supervise your child’s brushing and flossing until they are able to do it on their own, usually around age six or seven.
Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens the enamel of your child’s teeth, and protects them from decay. You can get fluoride from tap water, toothpaste, mouth rinses, and supplements. You can also ask your dentist to apply fluoride varnish or gel to your child’s teeth during their regular check-ups. Sealants are thin, plastic coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, where most cavities occur. Sealants act as a barrier to prevent food and bacteria from getting into the grooves and pits of the teeth. Sealants can reduce the risk of decay by up to 80%.
Sugar is the main cause of tooth decay, as it feeds the bacteria that produce acid and erode the enamel of the teeth. You should limit the amount and frequency of sugar intake for your child, and avoid giving them sugary foods and drinks before bedtime. Instead, you should offer healthy snacks, such as fruits, vegetables, cheese, yogurt, and nuts, and encourage them to drink water or milk.
Dental injuries can happen at any time, especially during sports or play activities. Children can chip, crack, or knock out their teeth due to falls, collisions, or blows to the mouth. To prevent dental injuries, you should make sure your child wears a mouthguard when participating in any sport or activity that involves contact or potential impact to the face. A mouthguard is a custom-made or ready-made device that fits over the teeth and cushions them from trauma. A mouthguard can also protect the lips, cheeks, tongue, and jaw from injury.
Going to the dentist can be a scary or stressful experience for some children, especially if they have had a bad dental experience in the past or if they have dental anxiety or phobia. To help your child overcome their fear and enjoy their dental visits, you can:
Choose a pediatric dentist who is friendly, patient, and experienced in treating children. A pediatric dentist can create a comfortable and fun atmosphere for your child, use child-friendly language and techniques, and provide positive reinforcement and incentives.
Prepare your child by reading books, watching videos, or playing games that explain what to expect and why dental care is important. You can also role-play with your child and pretend to be the dentist and the patient, using a toothbrush and a mirror.
Your presence is very helpful for your child during their dental visit. You can hold their hand, talk to them, or distract them with stories or jokes. You can also praise them for their bravery and cooperation, and reward them with a sticker, a toy, or a healthy treat.
By following these tips, you can help your child with their early childhood dental care, and ensure that they have happy smiles and healthy teeth for life. Remember, early childhood dental care is not only about treating dental problems, but also about preventing them and promoting good oral habits. As a parent, you are your child’s first and best teacher, and your child’s dental health depends largely on you. So, make sure to take good care of your child’s teeth and gums, and visit your pediatric dentist regularly. Your child will thank you later.