Dental decay (cavities) is the most common chronic disease of childhood, affecting 50 percent of children by middle childhood and nearly 70 percent by late adolescence. Chronic gingivitis is also common among children. The mildest form of periodontal disease, gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene which leads to plaque buildup. Fortunately, most oral diseases can be prevented. The best way to ensure that your child does not get cavities or periodontal disease is to instill proper oral habits early. Good oral hygiene routines should be established as early as infancy and continued throughout life. Dental hygienists are valuable resources in promoting, establishing, and maintaining oral health in infants, children, and adolescents.
The First Years
Oral health care is a job that begins even before a child gets his or her first tooth. You can help your child get a head start on having a healthy mouth and smile by wiping your infant’s gums with a damp washcloth or gauze pad after each feeding to remove plaque and food residue. Also, parents should clean the infant’s baby teeth as soon as they come in with a soft cloth or baby toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. You should also avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle, unless it’s filled only with water. Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when children fall asleep with a bottle of milk, formula, juice, or other sweet liquid in their mouths. It can also develop when children fall asleep while breastfeeding. The sugars from these liquids are left lingering on the child’s teeth. Using these sugars as food, the bacteria in the mouth produce acids that attack the teeth, causing decay .A child’s first oral health visit should monitor their techniques and consistency.
After The First Year
Some oral health practices should begin from day one and continue through the teenage years. You should change your child’s toothbrush three to four times a year, and after every illness to avoid bacteria and germs. You also should limit the amount of sugar children can eat by encouraging them to eat fruits and vegetables for snacks instead of candies and cookies. Also, limit snacking between meals, and make sure they brush afterward. Check to see if the water supply that serves your home is fluoridated. Your dental hygienist can offer supplemental options if it isn’t. Set a good example for your child by brushing, flossing, and eating healthy foods, and scheduling regular oral health visits for yourself. And finally, continually remind your child about the benefits of good oral health and stress the role that nutrition plays in maintaining it.
To Schedule an appointment please give your Minnesota Family Dentistry a call. The early we teach the younger generating about proper dental care the better!