Healthy Teeth Affect Your Child’s Future.

apple-1370924_1920Our children are our future. Everyone has heard that saying. But think of it in these terms – our country’s economy, educational system, and culture is contingent upon the health and well-being of our children. Not only that, but our our actions to support them define that future too.

We have only just begun to focus on oral healthcare in a manner appropriate for something that dictates the outcome of our children’s health and happiness.

High-quality dental care affects so much more than your child’s smile. Healthy teeth can promote a confident attitude. Children who suffer from tooth pain and decay are more likely to have lower grades, miss school, and suffer in areas like eating, sleeping, and speaking.

Preventative dental care is important for a child’s success in school and in life.

This isn’t just about ensuring our children have healthy, strong teeth and pretty smiles. It will give them a confidence boost, sure. But the vast majority of dental disease is preventable.

All children deserve access to the complete range of care they need to live healthy, productive lives. Oral health is a strong predictor of overall health. It is important that parents give their children access to quality, preventive dental care.

Helping Your Child Feel Comfortable at the Dentist

dentist-1437430_1920Both children and adults should be visiting the dentist for an exam and a cleaning every 6 months. The problem is, many children don’t make their first visit until after the age recommended by dentists.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child go to the dentist by age 1. Unfortunately, a survey by Delta Dental Plans shows that the average age of a child’s first dental visit is 2.6 years.

If you are worried about how your child will respond at their first dental visit, you can take the following steps to make them feel more comfortable and ensure that the visit goes smoothly.

  1. Children learn by example, so be a positive role model. Be diligent about dental care, and your child is more likely to embrace oral hygiene.
  2. Take your child to the dentist when his or her first tooth erupts. This will help your child get used to going to the dentist. It will also help prevent problems that could get worse over time.
  3. Play dentist and read children’s books that describe dental visits. The extra information will help alleviate your child’s fears.
  4. Be supportive and instill trust in your child, but avoid telling him or her that everything will be ok. If a procedure is necessary, telling your child it will be ok could affect the trust he or she has in you. It will also make the dental office an even greater source of anxiety. Instead, offer a hand to squeeze or a hug.
  5. Use positive phrases like “clean, strong, healthy teeth” to make the visit seem upbeat rather than scary.

Using these techniques will make your child’s dental visits more pleasant for everyone and will pave the way for a lifetime of good oral health.

Are you brushing your toddler’s teeth?

family-1254495_1280Brushing your toddler’s teeth can be a bit traumatic. Screaming, crying, hitting… brushing a 2-year-old’s teeth is quite an endeavor. Many parents may ask, “Is this really worth it? Baby teeth are just, like, temporary teeth, right?”

Caring for your child’s baby teeth isn’t optional—it’s essential. Equally as important is taking kids to the dentist at a very young age.

Numbers of cavities among kids have been going down in general, but cavities in baby teeth have become more common over the past 20 years. Today, a whopping 60 percent of 5-year-olds have had at least one cavity before kindergarten. Dental decay is the leading childhood disease! Cavities in baby teeth can also harm the permanent teeth directly, if the tissue in the central portion of the baby tooth gets infected.

If your child’s dentist sees a cavity forming, they can actually reverse the process—which is in part why the organization recommends that parents bring their children to the dentist when they get their first tooth or by the time they turn 1, at the latest.

Pediatric dentists can reverse burgeoning cavities is by applying a fluoride varnish to kids’ teeth, which causes fluoride to be released when the pH of the tooth drops as a result of the acid. The fluoride then helps rebuild the tooth enamel. Fluoride from drinking water and toothpaste can also get incorporated into the tooth enamel itself as it grows, thereby protecting it from future decay.

Pediatric dentists do more than just deal with cavities in young toddlers; they can determine whether kids are doing things that might put them at risk for future cavities. The dentist can also check kids for signs of bigger dental or jaw problems.

Infant visits also give dentists the chance to educate parents on what to expect during teething and how best to care for kids’ teeth. Other important advice you might not have heard: brush your kid’s teeth for them at least once a day until they turn 8 or 9 because the fine motor skills that make for good brushing don’t really develop until about that age. Start flossing when your child’s teeth no longer have space between them, because then the toothbrush isn’t able to reach plaque and debris between the teeth.

Break the Habits

Thumb sucking and nail biting have it’s pro’s and con’s. The only positive side-effect of this particular habit is the exposure to healthy germs. At an early-life stage we reprimand our kids when we see them biting their nails, or sucking their thumb. But researchers have found that exposure to microbial organisms actually reduce the risk of  developing allergies, asthma, and hay fever by teaching the immune system not to overreact. An article that USA Today published back in July of this year, admitted to this hypothesis by stating “At age 13, 38% of children who frequently sucked their thumb or bit their nails had an allergy, compared to 49% of those who didn’t. The study followed up with the children as adults, reporting similar results at age 32.”

To read more on the research pediatrics have concluded click herethumb

Beyond the toddler years, the downside of thumb sucking and nail biting are the following:

  • Depending on the intensity and the duration, these habits interfere with the proper growth of the mouth, shape, and palate, even the shape of their face!
  • Nail biting causes un-natural wear to the enamel.
  • It could also shift the teeth.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises parents to consult with their pediatric dentist should the habit persist after the age of 3.