Whether you have a newborn, a toddler or an adolescent, dental health is incredibly important in maintaining the overall health of a growing body. As adults, many of us have had dental work done, so we know that it isn’t always pleasant. Not only is it smart to know how to avoid running into dental problems with children, but it is also wise to teach children about proper oral hygiene from a young age so as to decrease their chances of problems later on in life.
Do babies really require oral care?
Babies may not have teeth at birth, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have any. Baby teeth are actually present at birth but reside below the gumline before bursting through a few months into life or more. Therefore, good oral hygiene should begin right from the start. Wipe baby’s gums after nursing or bottle feeding to prevent bacteria from sitting on the gums. Once a baby has a tooth coming through, schedule a dental visit and begin brushing it using a soft infant toothbrush and water. Wiping a baby’s gums and brushing the few teeth they have after eating solid foods is also a good idea.
Good eating habits contribute to good oral health
As children grow older, a proper diet is a cornerstone of good oral health. Offering snacks like fruits and veggies and staying away from juices and sodas or other sugary beverages can keep teeth clean and free from bacteria. These healthy eating habits will also teach them proper ways to maintain a healthy body. Make sure that children are not consuming too many sticky foods or candies, as these have a tendency to get between teeth and are difficult to brush away. If your child is old enough, flossing should be introduced as well as fluoride toothpaste.
Keepin’ those pearly whites pearly white
As children become older, they may be able to brush their teeth themselves, but parents should still supervise to ensure they are properly removing food from their gums and in between their teeth. Enforce that children are brushing at least twice daily and schedule routine dental visits every six months. Children who have dental decay are more likely to miss school and have problems eating and speaking. Surprisingly in 2021, this is becoming a growing problem. In fact, according to the American Dental Association, more than 40% of children have tooth decay by the time they reach kindergarten.
Hancock Health is proud to be partnered with the Jane Pauley Community Health Center, an organization dedicated to promoting healthy communities through accessible healthcare, including dental care, for individuals and families. By offering a range of dental services at affordable prices, they are helping children get the dental treatments they need. If you or your family needs affordable dental care, contact the Jane Pauley Greenfield location today at (317) 967-2180.
Parenting is difficult enough without the added stress of dental work. Teach your child healthy oral hygiene habits now so they can avoid some of the most common forms of dental decay — can you say “cavity”? — later. By eating a proper diet, staying hydrated and brushing and flossing regularly, your child can grow into a happy and healthy adult with a foundation of good dental health.