As any Florida dentist knows, taking care of your teeth starts when you’re a kid. Kids Health notes that more than a quarter of kids between the ages of two and five have at least once untreated cavity. Keeping kids’ teeth healthy throughout their lives relies on parents being aware of the best way to deal with their kids’ teeth. Teaching kids the right way to do things starts early on. As a responsible parent, the onus is on you to ensure that you set the stage for your kids to have strong, healthy teeth.
But how do you do that? Sure, visiting a dentist in Florida is a start, but there’s so much more to it. In this article, Anderson Dental hopes to offer you a little insight into what you can do as a concerned parent to ensure that your child has healthy teeth throughout his or her entire life.
1. Brush Twice Daily and Use Floss
When we were kids, our parents told us always to brush our teeth twice a day. It turns out that they were right to teach us this methodology. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) notes that brushing with fluoride-enriched toothpaste is a crucial cavity-prevention technique. In addition to brushing your teeth at least twice a day, you should also teach your child to use floss. Younger kids may find tearing and sliding floss between their teeth to be complicated. Several manufacturers have developed flossing sticks that perform the same process to help with this problem. They are much easier to use for smaller, less skillful hands.
2. Use Sealants
Around the age of 6, kids develop their first permanent molars. However, it takes some time for those molars to solidify. Applying sealants to those back teeth as they erupt can help to ensure that they don’t decay. Bacteria can get into the pits and fissures of those teeth as they form and lead to massive damage. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), these sealants can help prevent cavities. Asking your Florida dentist about sealants can help you decide whether you’d want your child to have them. Without sealants, you risk your child’s back molars.
3. Use Mouth Guards for Sports
When you’re young, you feel invincible and indestructible. Contact sports as a kid is an entirely different experience to being an adult. However, no matter how immortal kids might feel, it’s up to you to make sure they don’t harm themselves. Using mouth-guards in contact sports is an excellent way to ensure that your child doesn’t inadvertently chip a tooth. Custom mouth-guards are available at Florida dentists and orthodontists. A cheaper solution may be to buy a mouth-guard from a sporting goods store. Placing the mouth-guard in hot water allows it to soften. You can then use it on your teeth to create a form-fitting barrier.
4. Eat Smarter
As a parent, your responsibility is to ensure that your child gets all the nutrients he or she needs. However, a lot of parents overlook the damage that overconsumption of sweets can cause to their kids. We’re not just talking about diabetes. Teeth erode over time, and sugar speeds up this process. Cutting down on the amount of sugar can increase how long a person keeps his or her teeth. Additionally, using crunchy fruits and vegetables can help to strengthen teeth. Consuming dairy products adds calcium to help rebuild teeth and bones.
5. Avoid Smoking
By now, all parents know that their kids shouldn’t be smoking. However, as they get older and leave home, there’s little you can do to prevent them from making that choice. Helping them understand how smoking can affect their health might influence their later decisions. Smoking’s most well-known problems come from the carcinogens that exist in cigarette smoke. However, from a dentist’s perspective, the biggest issue arises from tar. These colored materials can lead to yellowing or browning of teeth.
Additionally, carcinogens within the smoke also affect the gum and throat. These chemicals lead to a higher incidence of oral cancer and gum disease. The Journal of the Periodontal Society of India notes that they found a significant difference in the rate of periodontal disease between smokers and non-smokers.
6. Rinse Your Mouth or Chew Gum After Meals
Kids don’t usually do much after they eat aside from washing their hands. Encouraging them to rinse their mouth after a meal can have significant benefits to their teeth. Cavities are formed when food particles remain stuck to teeth after a meal. Those particles gather bacteria, which then secretes acids to break down the morsels. The problem is that these acids decay teeth enamel as well. After a meal, rinsing teeth can help to deal with this problem by removing those morsels from your child’s teeth. No bits mean no acid, which translates to no tooth decay.
In the absence of rinsing, you can offer kids an incentive. Sugar-free gum can also help to keep kids’ teeth decay-free after a meal. The chewing gum works similarly, taking up the morsels left behind through its stickiness. Many parents disagree with this method since they dislike seeing kids chew gum. Despite how parents feel about it, it can be an effective method of cleaning your child’s teeth.
7. Use Enough Fluoride (But Don’t Overdo It)
Most kinds of toothpaste today use fluoride as prevention for tooth decay. Fluoride helps to keep tooth enamel healthy. Additionally, water is fluoridated in many parts of the United States. The American Dental Association (ADA) estimates that three out of every four people drink fluoridated water. For adults, this isn’t too much of a concern, but for kids, the overuse of fluoride can bring serious problems. Ideally, for a child, you shouldn’t use more than a dab of fluoridated toothpaste on their brush. As they get older, their bodies will be able to handle fluoride a lot more effectively.
8. Make Regular Dentist Appointments
It goes without saying that you should prioritize dental visits for kids. When you’re young, it’s easy to think about dental visits are unnecessary. As you get older, you start to realize how important those visits were. Starting your kids with regular dental visits not only helps their teeth. It also ingrains in them a responsibility for their oral health. Even when they leave home, they’ll likely go to the dentist on their own.
Setting the Stage
Parents always want the best for their kids. By giving our kids advantages we didn’t have, we create a better future for them. Dental visits are essential, and you should never overlook them. However, your choice of dentist is also something you should consider carefully. If you’re looking for a Florida dentist that you can trust, check out Anderson Dental today! Our staff would be glad to schedule you and your little one for a walk-in at your earliest convenience. Don’t hesitate to give us a call.