“AHHH” Your child screams as they are instructed by their dentist, to open their mouth big and wide at their checkup.
Your child’s oral health is an important part of their growing process. Having a good routine from the start not only helps your child now but prepares them for the future. Being proactive about their oral health will have a positive effect on their overall health.
The best place to start is by implementing healthy habits.
There are few things that bring you more joy than the big, contagious smiles of your kids. These goofy grins, filled with delight at some of the silliest or simplest things, make the stress of a hard day worth it. So, how do you protect that smile and ensure that it stays happy and healthy?
Your little one’s teeth start forming between the third and sixth month of pregnancy. This means, pregnant mothers can get a head start and begin caring for their children's oral health even before they enter the world. One of the best ways to do that is for mom to maintain a balanced and healthy diet, rich with the proper amounts of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D.
Right After Birth
Once your baby is born, you can use a clean, moist wash cloth or gauze pad to clean your child’s gums. Additionally, before teeth begin to break through the gums, systemic fluoride can be ingested to help strengthen tooth enamel. This helps to fight cavities. (Quick note: After teeth emerge, fluoride can be applied through toothpaste and fluoride rinses. Toothpaste should not be swallowed due to the amount of fluoride present in it; eating too much fluoride can discolor the teeth.)
Baby’s First Tooth
Once your baby’s first tooth emerges, you should take your child for his or her first dentist appointments. This allows the dentist to look for tooth decay and screen for behaviors that have negative effects on teeth, such as thumb sucking. The dentist will also guide you on how to brush your children's teeth. Guidelines include:
Caring for Permanent Teeth
Once your child’s permanent teeth begin to arrive, ensure that he or she brushes for two minutes twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. They should also start flossing once a day. These important steps maintain the health of their teeth and gums. Sometimes dentists will apply sealants to children’s molars to prevent decay. This service is typically covered at a minimal or no cost on a good dental insurance plan.
Now that you’re ready to help your child keep a good oral routine, the next step is to keep a healthy diet for your growing child’s needs! Staying away from acidic, sugary sweets and sticky foods are a given, but what are some other foods your child should stay away from?
Once your child takes the bus to school or you drop them off at the carpool lane, there’s only so much you can do to control what your child eats during the day. Packing them a lunch is a great start! However, it’s easy to forget when they are celebrating a classmate’s birthday or taking a class field trip. Teaching them the right habits at home is the best way to encourage healthy eating wherever they go!
Here are some tips on how to provide healthy options for your kids:
Go-To: Fruits and Vegetables
No-No: Carbohydrates (Carbs)
No-No: Sugary drinks
Now these are just a few, but there are so many healthy options for you and your child to explore! Remember – anything sugary, sticky and sweet is fine for your kids when kept in moderation.
A good routine and a healthy diet are synonymous with your child’s oral health. But what happens when their adult teeth start to come in – can they be affected by your child’s baby teeth?
The answer is yes!
A lot of parents tend to assume that because their child’s baby teeth are temporary, there’s no reason to be concerned with cavities and other dental issues. However, that assumption is incorrect.
Kids are susceptible to developing dental problems at any age. Cavities (also known as ‘tooth decay’) are the number one chronic health problem of children. This should be a major concern for parents because if left untreated, can result in the complete loss of your child’s tooth. Also, because cavities are a type of bacteria, it will spread and attack your child’s neighboring teeth.
Now there’s no need to panic – all of this can be treated and prevented! Keep reading to learn about some preventive measures such as fluoride treatment and brushing. Make an appointment for your child and prepare to talk to their dentist about any questions or concerns you might have!
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), your child’s first dental visit should occur within six months after your baby’s first tooth appears but no later than your child’s first birthday.
During this visit the dentist can show you how to clean your child’s teeth, discuss diet, fluoride needs and recommended oral care products.
As your child gets older, it can become a hassle to get them to go to the dentist’s office. Seeing all those different tools – including some that are sharp – and having to trust a stranger to work on their mouth can be scary.
While the appointment is necessary, your child’s fear doesn’t have to be. Here are a few ways to prepare your child for their first dentist appointment:
While you and your child are at the dentist’s office, here is a great way to keep them entertained while they wait at their next appointment!
Regular exposure to fluoride is beneficial to children's oral health. Some of the benefits that children will gain from fluoride are:
Where can children get fluoride?
There are several ways to ensure your child is getting enough exposure to fluoride. Some key ways to maintain that exposure are:
Is there such a thing as too much fluoride?
Many parents are concerned about children getting too much exposure to fluoride. Fluoride poisoning is unlikely and difficult to achieve. Drinking water with fluoride and getting yearly fluoride treatments from the dentist are great ways to keep your child's teeth at their healthiest. Look for a family dental plan that covers fluoride treatments for children.
Brushing is said to be one of the most tedious activities for parents when dealing with their kids. With all that energy and desire to run and play, it can be hard to get your child to stay still! However, the American Dental Association (ADA) has some great tips on how to make brushing fun for you and your kids.
Have a Dance Party
Routine, routine, routine
Ding, ding, ding – you WIN
Shop till you drop in teeth healthy products
Your child’s oral health is vital to maintaining their overall health. Enforcing healthy habits, educating your kids on the importance of their teeth and explaining the effect their teeth have on their health will greatly prepare them for the future!
With all these new tips and tricks to keep your child’s oral health in check, I’m sure you’re wondering – how do you cover all these expenses?
The answer is by getting a dental plan!
There are different options to choose from – such as DHMO, DMPO and PPO plans. Here at Solstice Benefits Inc., our individual plans offer coverage for kids’ and families!
Research and see what best fits you and your family’s needs!
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