Good oral care habits start at home; kids are like sponges, they absorb a lot of information and they watch us, the adults, and pick up our words, gestures and habits. If we teach them how important home oral care is they will create the habit of it and have a routine that will benefit them for life. Same with their nutrition. Proper nutrition that starts at home is a foundation for healthy life.
This is what we think good habits for our kids should be:
- not having sugary drinks
- not going to sleep with the bottle
- not using pacifier for extended period of time
- not sucking fingers, thumb
- proper fluoride treatment
- visiting the dentist as soon as the teeth start coming out (that is usually before they turn 1 year).
Sugary juice and snacks or any food that promotes tooth decay need to be limited. Constantly sipping sugary beverage and frequent snacking can cause demineralization that can turn into cavities and obesity. Also, avoid having kids going to bed with the bottle. Milk sits on their teeth overnight.
Pacifiers and sucking on thumb/fingers are appropriate until certain age. However when those habits are prolonged they may cause narrow maxilla, overcrowding, cross-bite and anterior open bite. This means child will need extensive orthodontic treatment to align teeth, chew better and have better function. While kids are young this misalignment and malocclusion wont affect them but over the year this will create issues with the gum tissue (gingivitis followed by periodontal disease if unattended), bone loss (due to traumatic occlusion), teeth wear, stress with the muscles of mastication, TMJ problems, improper food digestion and overall health problems as the result all of the above.
Fluoride deserves a special attention here. Fluoride is important to keep teeth strong and healthy. Lack of fluoride will lead to cavities. Fluoride can be found in nutritional supplements, toothpaste and in the dental office as fluoride varnish. At the same time, parents need to be careful in the amount of fluoride consumption by the kids. If high amount is digested it can lead to fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) and even toxicity. For children under 2 use a small smear layer and ages 2 through 5 a pea size. Between age 6-to-8 first molars erupt and sometimes parents don’t notice them because molars just come out without losing baby teeth. Sealants are recommended to protect them because due to anatomy of the molar food and candy gets into the groves and can cause cavity. Sealants cover those deep areas to help to avoid bacteria and food to collect.
Teaching kids at a young age to take care of their teeth will prevent not just teeth decay but many diseases that can lead to teeth loss and affect overall health. It is important parents start taking their kids early to the dentist to take early preventive measurements to avoid future problems.
First visits to the dentist are very important because we have the opportunity to set up positive measurements for cavities prevention, appropriate oral hygiene and nutrition guidance that we give to the parents.
Please reach out to us today to schedule your regular visit!
Very Truly Yours,
Maura Medina, your dental hygienist.