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Secrets to Keeping Your Kid’s Teeth Healthy: 9 Essential Tips from a Pediatric Dentist

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tips for health kids teeth

We all want to keep our kid’s teeth healthy.  But applying the best strategies requires persistence and effort. That’s why it’s important to consult a professional. Rufe Snow Pediatric dentists specialize in dental care for children and can provide invaluable advice on how to maintain your kid’s teeth healthy and strong.

The importance of kids’ dental health

Dental health is essential for overall health and well-being. But many parents overlook the importance of dental care for their children. Studies have shown approximately 43% of children ages 2 to 12 develop cavities in their baby teeth.  Some children develop bad oral hygiene habits from early on.

One must remember that a healthy mouth is a foundation for a healthy body. Poor oral hygiene can lead to cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues. To ensure your kid’s teeth remain healthy, take the necessary steps to prevent these issues.

It’s also important to understand that kids need different dental care than adults. Regular visits to the dentist should start as early as possible so pediatric dentists can provide specialized care for your child’s teeth.

Pediatric dental procedures

A pediatric dentist may recommend a variety of procedures. Common pediatric dental procedures include:

  • Cleanings: Pediatric dentists can perform regular teeth cleanings to remove plaque and tartar buildup, to prevent cavities and other dental issues.
  • X-Rays: Pediatric dentists may use X-rays to detect any issues with your child’s teeth that are not visible to the naked eye.
  • Sealants: Sealants are a popular procedure used to protect teeth from decay, often used on the molars and premolars.
  • Fluoride Treatments: Fluoride is a mineral that helps protect teeth from decay and cavities. Pediatric dentists may recommend fluoride treatments to strengthen your child’s teeth.

Pediatric dentist FAQ

When it comes to pediatric dentistry, there are a lot of questions parents may have. Our patients often  ask:

  • At what age should my child start visiting the dentist? The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child visit the dentist by age one or within six months of their first tooth erupting.
  • What types of treatments are available for children? Pediatric dentists offer a variety of treatments, including cleanings, sealants, fluoride treatments, and X-rays.
  • How often should my child visit the dentist? The AAPD recommends that children visit the dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings.
  • What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist? Pediatric dentists specialize in dental care for children, while general dentists provide care for adults.

How to keep your kid’s teeth healthy?

Rufe Snow Dental Team shares 9 essential tips to help parents deal with their children’s dental health.

Tip #1: Schedule regular dental visits

Your child must get into the habit of visiting the dentist regularly. The dentist can check for any issues and make sure your child’s teeth are healthy. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit the dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings.

Regular dental visits allow you to talk to your child about their oral hygiene habits. The dentist can provide valuable advice on how to keep your child’s teeth healthy and strong.

Tip #2: Develop good oral hygiene habits early on

The most important tip a pediatric dentist can give is to start developing good oral hygiene habits in your child early on. This includes teaching them to brush and floss their teeth twice a day, morning and night. It’s not unusual for little children to refuse to brush or floss their teeth.  You need to talk to your child about the importance of oral hygiene.  To motivate your child, you can set a good example. Brush and floss your teeth with them every day to show you practice what you “preach”. Teach your child to brush all teeth– front and back, for at least two minutes.

Also, provide your child with the appropriate toothbrush and toothpaste. For children under two, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-fluoride toothpaste. For children over two, toothpaste with fluoride is recommended.

Tip #3: Teach your child to use mouthwash

Mouthwash also helps keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy. The American Dental Association recommends that children over the age of six use an alcohol-free mouthwash. This helps reduce the risk of cavities and other dental issues.

Explain to your child why it’s important and how to use mouthwash, and supervise them to ensure they are using it properly.

Tip #4: Use fluoride

Fluoride is a mineral that helps protect teeth from decay and cavities. Pediatric dentists may recommend fluoride treatments to strengthen your child’s teeth.

You can ask Rufe Snow Dental about fluoride supplements and other options for getting enough fluoride.

Tip # 5: Use a mouthguard when doing sports

Many Children injure their teeth, gum, and lips while doing sports. If your child participates in sports activities, softball, soccer, basketball, hockey, or something else, your child should be wearing a mouthguard.  A mouthguard or gumshield helps prevent or reduce injury to the teeth, gums, lips, and jaws.

Elbows and sports equipment can cause tooth trauma during a game. To keep teeth safe, your child should have a mouthguard molded for them by their dentist. Talk with your pediatric dentist about your child’s athletic activities for the proper mouthguard.

Remind your child to wear their mouthguard every time they’re playing and that they understand the risks and consequences of not doing so.

Tip #6:  A healthy lunchbox is a healthy smile

What your child eats has a direct impact on their dental health. Sugary foods and drinks can increase the risk of cavities, so try to limit sugary snacks and beverages. You should also encourage your child to eat more fruits and vegetables, which are essential for oral health.

Drinking lots of water and eating crunchy fruits and veggies can help keep their mouth clean and healthy. Water helps rinse away any sugars and other food particles left in their mouth.  Crunchy fruits like apples and veggies also help clean their teeth by removing plaque and other food particles. Include these items in your child’s lunch box to eat after their lunch.

Also, ensure your child gets enough calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals. This helps keep their teeth strong and healthy.

Tip #7: Don’t reward your child with too many sweets

Sugary snacks and drinks can increase the risk of cavities. You should avoid giving your children too many sweets, such as candies, cakes, and soda.

Don’t be fooled by some fruits, juices, and sports drinks because the label says “healthy” and “sugar-free” but they are not! Make an effort to avoid these and opt for water and veggies. It’s also advised not to have these treats directly before bed.

You do not need to deprive your child of the pleasure of sugary treats. Sweets and snacks can be enjoyed in moderation.  When your child eats a sugary snack, remind them to brush their teeth afterward to prevent cavities. It’s also important to tell them to drink lots of water when having these treats to rinse out their mouths.

Tip #8: Monitor oral habits

It’s crucial to monitor your child’s oral habits to make sure they are brushing and flossing correctly. You should check for any signs of decay or other dental issues. If you notice any problems, make an appointment with your pediatric dentist as soon as possible.

Tip #9: Keep an eye for bad habits

It’s vital to discourage your child from engaging in harmful oral habits, such as chewing on ice or grinding their teeth. If you notice your child is engaging in these habits, talk to your dentist about how to prevent them.

Remember “children see, children do”. If you have the habit of using your teeth to open packaging, bend materials, cut tapes, and more, it’s time to stop.  Using the teeth for anything other than chewing food can seriously damage your teeth and overall dental health. Children learn better from what they see, they won’t do it if you don’t.

Keeping your kid’s teeth healthy is essential for their overall health and well-being. By following the tips from a pediatric dentist, you can ensure your child’s teeth stay healthy and strong. These include developing good oral hygiene habits early on, scheduling regular dental visits, monitoring your child’s diet, and more. Call Rufe Snow Dental to help your child have healthy teeth for future years.

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