Even though they’re temporary, your children’s baby teeth are important, and they’re still very susceptible to cavities. Pediatric dental disease, also known as childhood tooth decay, is the #1 chronic childhood illness in America. Baby teeth help your child chew, speak and smile– along with holding space in their jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under their gums. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it harder for the other teeth to find room. This causes their teeth to look crooked or crowded. That’s why it’s so important to pay special attention to your babies teeth. Here are some things you should…and shouldn’t do to help keep them healthy.
Studies show that toothpastes with fluoride can reduce cavities in kids from 15 to 30 percent. In addition, the fluoridation of our public water supplies can lower cavity rates up to 40 percent. For best results, always choose a toothpaste that’s approved by the American Dental Association.
Help Them Brush.
It might seem odd, but you should be brushing– or at least supervising your kids while they brush their teeth, until around the age of eight. Every child is different, so you can use your best judgement, but kids physically don’t develop the motor skills needed to properly brush and floss by themselves until their older. Helping them will ensure their teeth stay healthy and avoid cavities.
Your child should come into see us after their first tooth comes in, and no later than their first birthday. A dental visit at an early age is essentially a well-baby checkup for their teeth. Besides checking for cavities and other problems, we’ll show you how to clean their teeth properly and answer any questions you might have.
Encourage prolonged use of a pacifier or thumb sucking.
Thumb sucking is a natural reflex for children. Sucking on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or other objects may make babies feel secure and happy. Unfortunately, sucking their thumbs can cause problems with the proper growth of their mouth and alignment of their teeth. Pacifiers can affect their teeth essentially the same ways as sucking fingers and thumbs, but it’s usually an easier habit to break. If you need advice, we can discuss it at their check-up.
Let Them Fall Asleep With A Bottle.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth can also be affected. When your babies teeth have prolonged exposure to drinks that contain sugar, tooth decay begins. Never let your infant go to sleep with a bottle in their mouth, and always finish their feeding before they fall asleep.
Use A Sippy Cup All Day.
Letting your child carry around a sippy cup all day, or take it to bed at night (for the same reasons that using a bottle this way is unhealthy) is a huge no-no. Constantly sipping on milk, juice, or any sweetened liquid doesn’t give your child’s natural saliva a chance to rinse away the sugars that cause tooth decay.
For the best dental health, limit sippy cups to mealtime and snack time– and have your child rinse out their mouth after drinking anything with a lot of sugar.
With periodontal disease being such a huge issue for kids, it’s essential for you to know what you should…and shouldn’t do when it comes to your children’s teeth. It’s not too hard, you just need to make a few small changes to your routine to help their teeth stay healthy and beautiful.
At the Lafayette Dentist office of John C. Theriot, DDS and Associates, we love caring for your smile. In fact, our staff has earned a reputation for providing a warm, comfortable, and relaxing experience to our guests. Our goal is to provide you the best dental care in Lafayette.