As a parent, you’re tasked with a million things to worry about. Your child’s dental health however, should be high on your priority list from the moment your child’s first tooth appears. Prevent cavities and help them grow strong pearly whites by enforcing good eating habits and daily teeth cleaning regimens. Here are a few easy tips and interesting facts for parents :
How sugar, candy and pop affects your kid’s teeth :
Children often hear that “sugar will rot your teeth” – but why is this so bad? The problem with sugars is that the bacteria in a child’s mouth will mix with sugar to create a mild acid, which in turn attacks the enamel of the teeth and causes cavities.
The solution, however, isn’t as easy as “avoiding candy”. Different types of sugar – whether it’s natural sugar (which is found in milk and unsweetened fruit juices) or refined white sugar (found in candies, teething biscuits and pop) will have the same affect. The amount of damage that sugars can cause all depends on how much of it goes into the child’s mouth and how long the sugar stays in the mouth.
Your best bet is to restrict the number of times a day that your child eats sugars; get them to drink water in between meals and keep an eye on antibiotics (which can also be rich in sugar).
Dental hygiene :
Toddlers are generally too young to clean their own teeth, so you will need to help them with brushing and rinsing. A good rule of thumb is to help your child clean his or her teeth until they are able to write (not print) their own name. If you have a small baby, don’t use toothpaste until they have teeth – wrap your finger in a damp washcloth or use a soft baby toothbrush. You can begin small amounts of toothpaste once teeth erupt. Primarily to get them used to the taste. Wipe away with the washcloth right after.
Tooth decay :
Be on the lookout for early childhood tooth decay as soon as your child starts to develop teeth. Everything from breast milk to formula, cow’s milk and juice contain sugars. Inspect your child’s teeth every few weeks so that you can act on tooth decay quickly. Nursing decay is very dangerous. This occurs when a child falls asleep either with a bottle or with the breast. The milk pools around the teeth and the process of decay begins. If they must sleep with milk in their mouths, it is imperative to try and wipe the milk out of the mouth and off the teeth before decay begins.
When to visit the dentist? :
Take your child to the dentist within six months of the child’s first tooth. Being able to pick up on potential problems is one of the reasons why it’s important to schedule a bi-annual check-up at the dentist. Your dentist will also be able to tell you if your child’s daily teeth cleaning routine is working and point out (as well as fix) any problems early on. Its also a really great idea to introduce them to the office and get familiar. Typically a first visit is all about fun….picking out a tooth brush and perhaps going for a chair ride.
Contact Waterloo Smiles Dentistry to schedule an appointment with your family dentist in Waterloo.