AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

When it comes to protecting the health of a child’s teeth and gums, parents need to create an oral care plan at an early age. Even though you may not think that a child’s baby teeth play that big a role in the development of his or her adult teeth, poor oral health at a young age can negatively impact your child’s teeth and gums for a lifetime.

8453448 dental health for kids 270x300 Creating Your Child’s Oral Care Plan Baby teeth serve several important functions that help ensure children enjoy strong oral health throughout their development. Most importantly, baby teeth function as a placeholder for a child’s adult teeth. When a child loses a baby tooth at an early age, his other existing teeth may start to drift into the space left vacant by the missing tooth. This can lead to crowding when adult teeth begin to develop, and cause permanent teeth to form crooked or misaligned.

Baby teeth also play an important role in helping a child eat and learn how to speak. Without the correct placement of her baby teeth, a child may develop a speech impediment or have difficulty eating.

To help your child enjoy the best oral health possible, considering these important tips when creating an oral care plan.

Happy Birthday

For many first time parents, one of the most common questions they have is when to first take their child to visit the dentist. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that parents schedule their child’s first dental appointment by her first birthday.

Even though this may seems like a young age to have your child begin visiting the dentist, scheduling appointments by a child’s first birthday will allow your dentist to examine the state of his baby teeth as they form. Just as with adult teeth, regular checkups will provide your dentist the chance to catch the early signs of decay before permanent damage occurs to the health of your child’s teeth.

Practice Preventative Care

Even though your child’s baby teeth will eventually fall out, they are still susceptible to the effects of tooth decay. This means that parents need to clean their child’s teeth and gums after every feeding in order to prevent harmful bacteria from damaging tooth enamel.

Using a clean, damp washcloth, gently wipe clean your child’s gums following every meal. While you can begin using a toothbrush to clean your child’s mouth once she begins to develop teeth, parents should avoid using toothpaste until their child is old enough not to swallow while having her teeth cleaned. When purchasing a toothbrush for your child, make sure you buy one that is specifically designed for young children. Trying use a brush with a head too large for your child’s mouth can make brushing uncomfortable and cause your child to resist.

You should also start flossing for your child once two of his teeth form next to each other. Because flossing a child’s teeth using traditional floss can be difficult, consider using dental floss picks to help make the cleaning a little easier.

Finally, parents need to continue handling their child’s oral hygiene until he begins demonstrating the coordination needed to take over these duties on his own. Most children start possessing the kind of coordination needed to brush and floss their own teeth around the age of six, or whenever they can successful tie their own shoes.

Consistency Matters

According to estimates from the American Dental Association, approximately 40 million Americans avoid visiting the dentist due to severe dental anxiety. As with most phobias, dental anxiety often begins during childhood due to a traumatic experience at the dentist’s office. Parents can help to prevent these types of moments from occurring by continuing to take a child to the same dentist.

By having your child visit the same dentist from a young age, he or she will begin to build a level of trust with the dentist that will go a long way towards ensuring that each visit remains pleasant and anxiety free. Children appreciate the comfort that comes from familiar places, and returning to the same dentist’s office for treatments and cleanings will help prevent them from becoming easily frightened. So consider staying with the same dentist for as long as possible once you find the right fit for your child.

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About the author: A freelance writer, Timothy Lemke developed an oral care plan for his kids with help from Dr. Jeromy Dixon, a Longview, Washington dentist.


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