Long-Term Dental Health Begins in Childhood

A healthy smile begins in childhood!

Teaching your child good dental hygiene and practices is necessary for them to develop good habits and form long-term dental health. Starting your child on a healthy, regular dental regiment at a young age and setting a good example is pivotal in the development of their oral health.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that a child’s first visit to the dentist take place by the time a child turns one. At this initial visit, the dentist will explain proper brushing and flossing techniques to you. You need to floss as soon as your baby has two teeth that touch each other and you will learn how to conduct a modified exam of your child’s teeth. Such visits can help in the early detection of potential problems that may arise in your child’s oral health and help to put to rest any fears that they may have of visiting the dentist.

When all of the child’s primary teeth have come in, your dentist may start applying topical fluoride to coat their teeth. Fluoride hardens the tooth enamel, helping to ward off the most common childhood oral diseases and cavities. Most toothpaste contains fluoride, but toothpaste alone cannot fully protect a child’s mouth. Since too much fluoride can cause tooth discoloration it is important to check with your dentist before giving it to your child.

Brushing at least twice a day and routine flossing will help maintain a healthy mouth for your child. Parents can use toothpaste when brushing their children’s teeth as young as the age of two. Kids should not ingest large amounts of toothpaste, so using a small amount when brushing is key. Parents should always make sure the child spits out the toothpaste out and not swallow.

As your child’s permanent teeth grow in, the dentist can help seal out decay by applying a thin wash of resin to the back teeth, where most of the chewing occurs. This is called a sealant, and this protective coating keeps bacteria from settling in the hard-to-reach crevices of the molars which can lead to decay and cavities.

Although advancements in dental research have resulted in more advanced preventative techniques, a dentist’s care is only part of your child’s oral health. Taking care of your child’s teeth at home plays an equally important role. Parents must work with kids to teach good oral health and nutritional habits.