Parent’s Corner: Understanding Your Child’s Dental Health

Q: Why are baby teeth important?

A: Baby teeth are important for your child’s overall development that affects:

  • Good nutrition
  • Speech patterns
  • Good bite in adulthood
  • Healthy self-esteem as a result of a beautiful smile

As research has shown, Early Childhood Caries or cavities can lead to compromised oral health as children grow. Treating ECC is often a heavy financial burden, but luckily most cases of ECC are preventable.

Q: How can I prevent my child from getting cavities?

A: Limit how much candy, sugary foods, and snacks your child eats. Sugary and sticky foods attract bacteria, which can cause cavities.

  • After every meal, brush your child’s teeth.
  • Brushing your child’s teeth after giving them medicine is important as some medicine contain sugar like cough syrups. The sugar causes the mouth to produce acids and these acids eat away at a tooth’s protective top layer.
  • Encourage your child to develop good eating habits by choosing an array of healthy foods for family meals. Adding foods rich in calcium like milk, broccoli, and yogurt to your child’s diet is also important.
  • Avoid sugary drinks like soda pop and juice to help prevent cavities. Soda pop, especially, contains significant amounts of sugar.
  • Bring your child to the dentist regularly. Your child’s first dental appointment should be at about the age of three.
  • Your child should start visiting the dental office around age one. They can accompany Mom or Dad to their visit and have a ride in the chair and get a sticker and balloon. It is a good time to ask any questions you may have about your child’s teeth. This will also help to familiarize them with the dental office in a non-threatening way.

Q: When should I start cleaning my infant’s mouth?

A: Right away! Cleaning your infant’s mouth should be part of their bath routine. Use a clean washcloth and gently wipe all surfaces in your baby’s mouth. This will provide a clean environment for the teeth to erupt into and will also help your baby to become accustomed to having you clean their mouth.

Q: How should I care for my toddler's teeth?

A: Begin teaching your child how to brush their teeth around the toddler age. Some suggestions include letting your child imitate how you brush your teeth or brushing each other’s teeth. It’s important to help your child brush so you can remove food particles they might have missed.

Q: When should I floss my child's teeth?

A: Begin flossing your child’s teeth once there are two teeth side by side. Floss gently once a day. Most children can begin flossing on their own by about the age of 10.

Do you have more questions for Dr. Gordon Hall? Check out our frequently asked questions or call our dental office in Brighton.

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