Great Tips for Kids' Dental Health
It's never too early to teach kids the importance of good dental health. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and Dr. Ramineh Kangarloo of Falls Church, VA was good enough to give us some great tips to be sure your kids’ teeth are healthy from the start.
Baby should visit the dentist for the first time within six months of getting his first tooth. Just be sure it’s not much after his first birthday.
Visit the dentist every six months – for everyone in the family – to ensure little problems are caught early and to develop a relationship with the dentist. It helps if kids are comfortable visiting the dentist. It also helps the parents – the dentist gives great advice for at-home care.
Baby teeth, or primary teeth need the same care as permanent teeth so they’re strong and healthy. Healthy baby teeth help ensure the permanent teeth erupt in the proper order as much as possible.
Even baby teeth need professional cleanings every six months to clear up any tartar build up and polish away plaque. The cleaning plus a clinical fluoride treatment helps ensure a healthy mouth.
Use fluoridated toothpaste from age two and up. Even if baby can’t spit yet, just use a small pea sized dab to ensure he’s not swallowing too much.
When your kids can spit with some accuracy (for the sake of a clean countertop), start using a .05% fluoride rinse after brushing.
Have little ones play with the handled flossers before they’re able to actually use it properly. It gets them used to it, and they’ll understand flossing to be part of the process of cleaning their teeth before bed.
Sealants are important for kids’ permanent teeth as they come in. Teeth have pits and fissures that, when covered, are less likely to end up with cavities. If the baby teeth are unusually prone to decay, sealants can be applied to protect them as well.
Do what you can to get baby to sleep without a bottle. It’s best if you can clean baby’s teeth before sleep. If baby does have a snack after cleaning the teeth, try to rinse his mouth with water before going to bed.
Limit sugary treats – and limit the number of times kids get them throughout the day. Fewer is better. If kids get a treat, let them have it all at once vs. snacking throughout the day.
Limit sugary drinks – to include juice. Sugary, acidic liquids (especially sodas) can cause decay. Use water in sippy cups and have juice at mealtimes.
Ideally, bottles and pacifiers should no longer be part of baby’s day after age two. Thumbs come under that same rule, but it’s obviously much harder to keep them out of kids’ mouths. It can cause adverse dental and skeletal changes. These kids show more open bites, posterior cross bites, and upper overject than habit-free kids.
Good dental habits are developed from the beginning - healthy baby teeth make for healthy permanent teeth! Here are some more great parenting resources:
Dr. Kangarloo’s website features educational articles and videos.
“Like” Gentle touch dentistry on Facebook.
To celebrate Children’s Dental Health Month (February), check out the ADA’s site.
For the kid who doesn’t like to brush, check out this link.
Want to see more great tips for moms? Check out our Local Mom Review Tips and Quips on the FAMILY Magazine website.