You don’t really have to take care of baby teeth because they’re just going to fall out, right?
Wrong! Unfortunately, this is a common misconception. The truth is that the health of a child’s teeth and mouth are very important to their overall health both now and as adults.
There are many reasons why baby or “primary” teeth are important. They aid in speech development and build self-esteem with a healthy smile. Healthy teeth are also essential to proper chewing and thus, good nutrition as children learn to eat a variety of foods. Baby teeth also save the space in the jaw that is needed for proper development and eruption of permanent adult teeth.
And contrary to popular belief, there can be consequences to not taking care of a child’s teeth. Baby teeth can get cavities and the enamel can wear away just like on adult teeth, causing chips and tooth pain. Children can even get gingivitis, which is gum disease that makes gums red, swollen, and sore.
Most importantly though, teaching your children proper oral health now lays the foundation for healthy habits as they grow. Here are our tips for oral healthcare for kids:
Get kids involved:
Parents should do the majority of the brushing until age 2, but after that, get children involved in taking care of their teeth. There are lots of fun toothbrushes and flavors of toothpaste on the market for kids, so get them excited by letting them help pick out their tools.
We recommend that you use a toothpaste with fluoride to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities. You only need to use toothpaste that’s the size of a pea. For safety, also teach kids to rinse after brushing and not to swallow the toothpaste if they can help it.
Brush at least twice a day for 2 to 3 minutes at a time:
Right after breakfast and before bedtime are the ideal times to brush. You should also teach your children to brush after a particularly sugary snack. At your child’s dental visit, ask the dentist to show your child the best way to brush his or her teeth without damaging the gums.
Use soft bristles and replace your brush every three months:
Some toothbrushes come with bristles that change color when it’s time to change them. A dental visit every six months is also a good time to change your brush.
Flossing isn’t only for grown-ups! Teach kids to use a flossing pick and slip the floss between each tooth and along the gum line after they brush.
See your dentist:
We recommend dental visits twice a year for good oral health.
The High Peaks dental team is currently visiting area schools to teach kids how to take good care of their teeth. If you’re interested in an oral health presentation at your school or community group, call us at 866-697-5179 for more information.
Plattsburgh NY 12901