As a parent, it’s only natural to worry about your child. Naturally, their oral hygiene comes to mind. As your child’s teeth emerge and develop, it’s important to protect them and teach your child how to properly care for them.
Here are six things you need to know about your child’s teeth so you can protect their future.
Your Child’s First Set of Teeth Aren’t Permanent, But They Still Need Care
Baby teeth will eventually fall out and be replaced with a permanent set of adult teeth. Despite this, you should still press the importance of good oral hygiene on your child. Failing to do so could lead to cavities, infection, and poor hygiene practices in the future.
Because so many candies, cereals, and other sugary products are marketed towards children, cavities are often a major issue. Cavities are caused by bacteria sticking to your teeth that produce plaque. Plaque is what eats away at your child’s tooth enamel. Over time, the acids made by the bacteria eating enamel create cavities.
By teaching your child to regularly brush, floss, and use mouthwash, you can avoid the damage caused by plaque buildup and cavities.
The Right Kind of Diet
Diet plays a very important role in the health of your child’s teeth as well. Not only should you limit the intake of high-sugar and highly-acidic foods, but you should make sure your child is eating the foods that will make their teeth strong and healthy.
Much like bones, teeth need calcium to thrive and grow. Cheese is often recommended by dentists because it’s low in acidic content and loaded with calcium. One of the reasons soda is so incredibly damaging is because the acidity breaks down the enamel and the sugar can damage the tooth easier.
Eating cheese after an acidic meal can counteract their negative effects. This isn’t to say that you should avoid acidic foods altogether, only that you should take measures to protect your teeth from them.
While oranges are highly acidic, the vitamin C inside them is crucial to strengthening blood vessels and connective tissue in the gums — this helps prevent inflammation and disease.
Don’t Let Your Child Brush Too Hard
There’s nothing wrong with letting your child pick out that Spider-Man or Elsa toothbrush as long as the bristles are soft. Oftentimes, kids lack the self-control to brush their teeth with the appropriate pressure and level of control.
As your child learns to brush their teeth for the first time, it’s important to teach them not to brush too hard. Doing so could erode their enamel and damage their gums.
Schedule Regular Check-Ups
You should schedule regular check-ups and exams with your dentist at least once every six month, in most cases. How often your child needs to see a dentist will depend on preexisting conditions and how well they keep up with their dental hygiene.
Your dentist will give you an idea of how often check-ups are needed and what you can do to further protect their teeth.
They Can Be Expensive
Pediatric dentistry is typically less expensive than adult dentistry services — but don’t expect it not to be costly. Pediatric dentistry bills can add up quickly especially if you or your child aren’t paying close attention to dental hygiene.
With regular check-ups, these costly bills for cavities and other issues may be avoided. Cavity removal and fillings can cost hundreds of dollars, especially if you don’t have great insurance. However, a check-up typically ranges from $65-100 a year for children.
Pay Attention to Your Child’s Behavior
Your child isn’t always going to outright tell you when they have a toothache or a cavity — they may not know themselves. Fussy behaviors while eating or fidgetiness at the table may not be the result of picky eating habits.
If you start to notice your child picking at their teeth, take a small flashlight and try to examine their teeth. If you start to notice a build-up of white plaque, your child might be in the early stages of cavity development.
Even if you’re just a little suspicious, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Check-ups and regular teeth cleaning are more cost-efficient than cavity removal and fillings.