Seven Ways to Protect Your Child’s Teeth
Protecting your child’s teeth from an early age is the best way to minimize tooth- and mouth-related problems as your child grows. Use this seven-step plan to develop an oral hygiene strategy that works for you and your child:
1. See the dentist early. Ideally, your goal should be to take your child to see a dentist by her first birthday.
2. Start brushing with the first tooth. Although many parents may not feel a need to brush a baby’s first teeth, keeping even the earliest teeth clean and healthy is critical to good oral health later on.
3. Reconsider the bedtime bottle. Letting a child take a bottle of juice, formula or milk to bed is an invitation for decay development. If your child must have a bottle, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises filling it only with water.
4. Use sippy cups wisely. Sugary beverages + prolonged use of sippy cups = tooth decay. The AAP also recommends giving children no more than four ounces of 100% fruit juice per day and restricting sugary beverages to mealtimes only. Many pediatricians and pediatric dentists advise giving juice only as a treat.
5. Say “bye-bye” to the binky. Pacifiers may be appropriate for infants and until a child turns two, but after that, the pacifier should be avoided to avoid misalignment of the teeth and jaw, which can promote tooth decay and be costly to correct.
6. Keep an eye on medicines. Many pediatric medicines contain sugar and can promote the growth of bacteria, and prolonged use of antibiotics may cause a fungal infection called thrush. Children using medications to treat chronic conditions are at greater risk for tooth decay, so be sure to discuss these risks with your pediatrician or pediatric dentist.
7. Stay firm. Although children may complain about brushing and flossing, you’re not doing them any favors by allowing them to avoid good oral care. Get them involved by letting them choose, with your guidance, their own toothpaste or toothbrush, and reward efforts with stickers or other small tokens to keep them motivated.
If you have questions about your child's oral health, click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jared. Or give us a call at (509)-891-7070.