Parents strive to provide their children with the best of care. Unfortunately, many parents engage in behaviors that could inadvertently be damaging to their children's oral health.
Proper oral care should begin the day a child is born. Establishing healthy practices and monitoring your child's teeth and gums regularly will help the child maintain strong and healthy teeth over their lifetime.
Ask yourself if you might be engaging in any of these four behaviors that have the potential to damage your child's teeth. Then, take action to make positive changes that will preserve your child's oral health in the future.
1. Allowing a Bottle in Bed
Many young children find a bottle soothing. Parents are often tempted to put their children to bed with a bottle in an effort to encourage better sleep. Allowing a bottle in bed could be dangerous for your child's teeth.
Liquids like juice and milk contain sugars that can be harmful to a child's teeth. The liquid within a bottle will pool around the teeth as your child falls asleep. Extended exposure to sugar via pooling increases your child's risk of developing painful cavities.
If your child does need a bottle to fall asleep, remove the bottle and carefully wipe their mouth clean once sleep comes.
2. Missing Dental Appointments
Dental appointments are essential for young children. A child's mouth goes through many changes as the baby teeth erupt, fall out, and are replaced by adult teeth. Any issues that arise during this process could have a lasting impact on your child's oral health.
Experts recommend that all children have their first dental appointment by the age of 12 months. Regular appointments throughout childhood will allow a dentist to monitor and track any changes that occur in the development of the teeth and gums.
Making and keeping these dental appointments will ensure that your child's oral health is taken care of at all times.
3. Failing to Use Fluoride
There has been a lot of debate as to the benefits of fluoride. Despite what you may have heard, most dentists believe that children should be given a healthy dose of fluoride each day.
Fluoride, which is a mineral that can be found in nature, helps to strengthen tooth enamel to protect against cavities. Fluoride can even help with the re-mineralization of smaller cavities in young children.
Your municipal water supply may contain fluoride, but you shouldn't count on city water as your child's only source of this beneficial mineral. Invest in a children's toothpaste that contains fluoride to ensure your child's teeth remain as strong and healthy as possible.
4. Serving Sports Drinks or Sodas
The foods and beverages that your child consumes can have a direct impact on their oral health. This is especially true when it comes to the sports drinks and sodas that you may allow your kids to drink on a regular basis.
Both sports drinks and soda products can be extremely acidic. The acids in these beverages weaken tooth enamel, making your children more susceptible to cavities.
Some sports drinks and soda also contain high amounts of sugar, which can create serious oral health problems for your child in the future.
If you do decide to allow your kids to indulge in a sports drink or soda, be sure to have them brush and floss immediately afterward. This will prevent acids and sugar from collecting on the surface of your child's teeth and reduce the likelihood of your child developing a cavity in the near future.
Parents must set an example for their children when it comes to maintaining good oral health. Don't damage your child's teeth by engaging in behaviors that could have a negative effect on oral health in the future. Contact a pediatric dentistry professional to learn more.