By Guest Blogger: Grace Clark
A dental marketer at Michael G. Long DDS and a believer in holistic health, Grace Clark lives by the rule that health and happiness go hand in hand. She writes on various topics focusing on dental and oral hygiene, healthy living and holistic health. When she’s not working or blogging, she enjoys spending her time with her family and volunteering at the local youth centers where she educates children about the importance of health and fitness.
What Can Parents Do to Ensure Their Children Have Healthy Teeth
Did you know that milk teeth create a foundation for your permanent teeth? Primary teeth are integral to the development of permanent teeth because the root structures of the primary teeth give way to properly align and space permanent teeth as they develop. When a child’s permanent teeth first appear, their enamel is fully formed, but the surface remains porous until the tooth is properly mineralized. This makes primary teeth more susceptible to cavities. And in order to avoid the occurrence of carries or cavities, parents have to provide extra attention to their child’s dental care as soon as the first few teeth appear.
To ensure that your child has healthy teeth, you must help them understand the importance of good oral care by laying a strong foundation during the first few years of their lives. Here’s what you can do to help:
1. Lead by Example
Take part in your child’s morning and nightly cleaning rituals and show them how to take care of their teeth. Babies and toddlers are very impressionable and can pick up on emotions and attitudes. If your child sees your dedication and focus towards good oral hygiene, he/she will automatically want to follow suit. Develop a dental care schedule, put it up on the fridge or the memo board, so your child can see it too and be sure to follow through, so your child can learn from you and develop the same attitude
2. Remove the Scare Factor
Make tooth care exciting for your child by including little games and songs about dental care and its importance. Songs and stories are the best way to educate a child about something while keeping them thoroughly entertained. You can ask them to sing along, while mimicking the brushing motion or you could even play ‘dentist’ with them to help alleviate the scare factor due to unfamiliarity. This will help you ensure your child is better prepared for his/her first dental visit.
A word of caution – If you are someone who is scared of dentists, do not display signs of worry or anxiousness before your dental appointment, especially in front of your child. Avoid this at all costs as children often tend to imitate their parents and could throw a fuss when it’s their turn too!
3. Develop a Healthy Diet
Poor eating habits and inadequate oral hygiene routines during childhood can lead to a lifetime of oral health problems. To avoid this, you must provide your child with a nutrient rich diet that includes a good balance of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy products and protein. By providing naturally sweet foods, you can successfully cut out the need for sugar in their diet. You can use fruits like grapes, apples and watermelons to satisfy their craving for sweets instead. Also, try to ensure that your child has sufficient amounts of dairy as it will help strengthen their teeth and bones.
4. Pick the Right Dentist
If you don’t have a family dentist, do your research and find an experienced dentist who is well-versed with pediatric dentistry. Ask for recommendations from family and friends before making your decision. Pro Tip – A great way to find a good dentist is to get a follow-up review from other children you know. Once you have the parent’s review, try and ask their child how they like the dentist too, and make your decision based on both reviews. You can also schedule an appointment for yourself with he dentist before taking your child for their appointment to be doubly sure about the dentist’s skills and capabilities. By visiting them in person you will be able to get a good feel of the place and get a first-hand experience of their services.
By taking toddlers and small children for dental visits right from the start will help you acclimatize your children to the environment of the dental office and increase their acceptance of getting dental procedures. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to take your child to the dental clinic either after the eruption of his/her first tooth or after his/her first birthday.
As you can see, parents are the first line of defense against poor oral health in their children, so showing your child the importance of good dental habits and regular checkups is vital to the health of their teeth and gums.