Good dental hygiene starts in the first two years of life. Studies have shown that children with poor eating habits and dental care during their first two years of life have more tooth decay, which leads to more tooth decay when they become teenagers. Pediatric dentistry such as what is available at Kool Smiles can help you teach your child good dental habits. Teeth that are well cared-for from the beginning have a better chance to last a lifetime.
Right from the Start
As soon as your baby’s teeth begin to erupt, usually from four to six months, you can visit a pediatric dentist. This will help your child get used to the dentist’s office and not connect it to any painful experiences. Dentists who are trained especially to treat children know how to make a child relax. They can also gauge how your child’s teeth are growing in and notice the amount of space in the jaw compared to the number of teeth. This is important information to determine early if your child will need braces.
Some parents believe that dental health is only important when the adult teeth start coming in. This couldn’t be further from the truth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 40 percent of children to reach kindergarten have tooth decay. Baby teeth are placeholders for the adult teeth, and if they develop tooth decay, it can also affect the permanent teeth that are still in the gums. Children who have their teeth brushed from the beginning are more likely to maintain good dental habits as they develop permanent teeth.
From Dental Health to Overall Health
The U.S. Public Health Service states that dental and oral diseases affect more than 50 percent of children in the U.S. and are considered the most prevalent and preventable conditions of young people today. It is recognized by dentists as well as physicians that oral health is an integral part of a child’s general health. Dental problems can also impact the child’s self-esteem. If their teeth are stained, broken or crooked, children are reluctant to engage in conversation or even smile. Poor dental health is also connected to sleep problems and poor nutrition in children.
What Can Parents Do?
Parents play a big role in helping their children develop healthy dental habits. For the first two years, a parent should brush the child’s teeth in a gentle and playful manner. After that, they can supervise while the child brushes their teeth. Electric toothbrushes and age-appropriate tooth paste can help a lot. Electric toothbrushes are more effective at reducing tooth decay because they can be used to reach more places in the mouth. The spinning motion also cleans the teeth more efficiently than regular brushing, that may become quick and careless. Electric toothbrushes come in a variety of designs and colors with cartoon characters on the handles and can help your child make tooth brushing time more fun.
Don’t wait until your child has his or her first cavity to visit the dentist. Pediatric dentists are trained to make the dentist’s office a fun and rewarding place to visit, and the sooner children get used to dentists, the better oral health they will have.