Prevention and early treatment are the best ways to help your children achieve and maintain optimal oral health. It is much easier to prevent an issue than treat one, which is why it is essential to monitor them as soon as their first tooth appears.
Your child’s first visit to the dentist can set the foundation for a lifetime of positive and productive dental care. It is vital to pick a dentist that specializes in pediatric dentistry and an office that is warm and inviting. Get to know the office and staff ahead of time and bring your child in before they need any treatment. Fun visits with no pressure will set the stage for easy, drama-free appointments later.
Good habits start early and establish a reliable foundation for excellent dental care. Although each child is unique, there are some basic behaviors and conditions you can introduce now that will make a big difference in the long run.
Receive an Early Examination: Seeing an oral health professional when teeth are just beginning to erupt can help prevent surprises and prepare for potential complications. Early examinations enable the dentist to speculate how oral development will progress and suggest appropriate treatments.
Develop a Strong Brushing and Flossing Routine: Many people either brush too hard, causing gum recession or not enough, leaving hard to reach areas at higher risk for decay. The best practice is to gently brush plaque away from teeth using a soft-bristled toothbrush — brush for two minutes, twice a day, and floss at least once a day.
Avoid Bad Habits: Activities that may seem harmless, like thumb sucking or going to bed with a bottle, are detriments to proper oral development. Thumb-sucking can cause alignment issues, and babies that sleep with a bottle are at higher risk for developing decay.
Visit the Dentist Regularly: Dental problems can appear with no warning, and consistent cleanings and exams allow a professional to detect and resolve issues, even before any symptoms are felt.
Play it Safe with Protective Gear
While most parents enjoy seeing their children participate in sports or other physical play, they often have concerns over potential dental injuries. Wearing a professional, custom-made mouthguard protects teeth against damage during sports activities. While over-the-counter mouthguards are more affordable, they can be less effective. If they are not customized, they can easily slip out of place. Standard guards are soaked in hot water then bitten into for a semi-custom fit, but the materials they are constructed of are much thinner than professional mouth guards.
Professional guards are made from precise digital impressions by a professional dentist. They are made from a flexible and highly durable material that fits comfortably. A professional sports guard should stay firmly in place during the activity, be easy to clean, and allow for unrestricted breathing. Professional guards can also be used to prevent grinding (bruxism) if your child is affected by this common, nocturnal habit. Like injuries, teeth grinding can threaten the health of teeth and lead to jaw pain and headaches.
A child’s introduction to dental care can leave an impression that stays with them into adulthood. By providing early detection and treatment for a variety of oral health complications, your child will have the best chance of keeping a beautiful, healthy smile for life.