Five Crucial Dental Care Tips That Every Parent Should Know
As parents, judging exactly what dental care your child needs can be a difficult task. Knowing when to start brushing, which toothpaste to use and the right time to go to the dentist are just a few of the common concerns among moms and dads. The following five important dental health tips can help worried parents do what is best for their children's teeth:
1) Start Dental Care Early
Many parents don't realize the tooth brushing should begin even before a child gets their first tooth. Starting at this early stage prevents bacteria from forming on the gums and helps to establish a long term tooth care routine. Use a soft toothbrush to gently brush your baby's gums or you can even let the child do it themselves with careful supervision.
2) Buy the Right Toothpaste
Your baby's first tooth is likely to break through at around six months of age, and it is important to start using fluoride toothpaste straight away. Fluoride has plaque and bacteria fighting properties which combat the major causes of decay. For children less than three years old, toothpaste should contain around 1000 parts per million fluoride, and before a child reaches the age of six, their toothpaste should contain between 1350 and 1500 parts per million fluoride.
3) Take the First Trip to the Dentist
The first trip to the dentist should ideally take place before a child is two years old. The dentist can check for gum disease and other health problems even before a child has its first tooth, and getting into a routine of going to the dentists also makes kids less worried about visits in later life.
4) Don't Put Children to Bed with a Bottle
The sugars in drinks like milk, fruit juice, and soda damage the enamel on teeth and can quickly lead to tooth decay. If children go to bed with a bottle, their teeth get prolonged exposure to these harmful sugars throughout the night. It is best to break bad dental care habits like these as early as possible because it puts front teeth at risk of becoming discolored and pitted (a condition called 'bottle mouth') and also causes an increased likelihood of cavities.
5) Ask About Treatments
Permanent teeth tend to come through when a child is around six or seven years old and this is a good time to enquire with your dentist about preventive tooth treatments. Fissure sealants can be applied to a child's back teeth, and they work to keep food and other particles out of the places where decay is most likely to occur. Another popular treatment is a fluoride varnish, a process where a protective coating is applied to the tooth's enamel. Both treatments are completely painless and help to prevent more serious conditions from developing over time.
It is a good idea to supervise all tooth brushing until a child reaches seven or eight years. After that it is worthwhile to watch them brushing occasionally to ensure it is done properly. With tooth decay linked to several serious health conditions, including heart disease, developing good habits early in life is important.