As the holidays approach, parents should be more mindful than ever of the foods their children consume, especially those high in sugar. We are all guilty of indulging in our fair share of desserts around this time of year, so being consistent with daily dental hygiene is more important than ever to ward off tooth decay, also called cavies (cavities).
Educating children to adopt healthy oral habits when they are young can help prevent cavities and other dental problems as they age. Finding a dependable and compassionate children’s dentist in the Lafayette, LA area is crucial to your child’s oral health care.
Preventing tooth decay in children using the “P-E-A-R-L-S” of Wisdom
- Protecting your child’s teeth begins with you caring for your oral health when you are pregnant. Since saliva contains bacteria that cause tooth decay, taking care of your mouth reduces the risk of transferring the bacteria to your child.
- Ensure that your baby’s gums are wiped clean with a damp washcloth after each meal. This will help to remove any harmful bacteria that lingers after feedings. Even though you can’t see the teeth does not mean that they are not there.
- Avoid putting babies to bed with a bottle. This will reduce mouth bacteria from producing acids caused by the sugar in formula and breast milk. If acid is produced, it can damage and weaken the teeth increasing the risk for cavities.
- Remember to brush your child’s teeth using fluoride toothpaste. Children and adults likewise should brush twice a day using fluoride toothpaste because the fluoride makes the tooth enamel (protective layer of a tooth) stronger to fight cavities.
- Limit drinks and foods containing added sugars. Providing your child with nutritious foods and drinks such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruit will help to promote healthier teeth.
- Schedule your child’s first dental visit by their first birthday or after the first tooth appears. The dentist will perform a more modified exam allowing your baby to sit on your lap and will explain proper oral care techniques that are age-appropriate.
The American Dental Association, or ADA, recommends that children see a dentist within six months after their first tooth comes in, but no later than their first birthday. This is because as soon as a baby has teeth, they can get cavities.
So being proactive with your child’s oral care can help to keep their healthy smile for life. In addition, keeping up with regularly scheduled dental appointments from a young age can also eliminate the fear of going to the dentist.
Oral hygiene guide for children
- Rub a clean, damp washcloth over a baby’s gums after feedings and when teething begins. This will help to remove harmful bacteria that may linger in the mouth.
- First tooth. Brush a baby’s first tooth and teeth with an infant toothbrush. Use only a small amount of fluoride ADA-approved toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice and water.
- Flossing can begin when two of a baby’s teeth are touching.
- Around age two. Children who are around two years of age can learn to spit when they are brushing their teeth. Although, avoid giving your child water to swish and spit with so that swallowing the toothpaste is less likely.
- Ages three and up. A pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste should be used around this age.
- Children eight and under. Children eight years of age and younger still need guidance and education on proper oral care.
Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood, yet cavities are preventable. Children with poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who do not.
Cavities left untreated can cause pain and infections and lead to eating, speaking, and learning problems. So, helping children develop healthy oral habits when they are young can set the stage for good oral health throughout their entire life.
That is why finding a children’s dentist in the Lafayette, La area you trust is vital to your child’s oral and overall health. If you are looking for a friendly children’s dentist in the area, contact Maestri Dental. Dr. Gina Liggio Maestri, DDS, and her well-trained staff will ensure your child’s dental visits are fun and easy.
We can also serve the oral health needs of the whole family. So don’t delay and call today to get on board with Maestri Dental. Your healthy smile is our top priority.