YOUR CHILD’S DENTAL HEALTH

HerSUPPZ February, Her Monthly Awareness Leave a Comment

By Lindsey Vale; Registered Dental Hygienist

Just like children need 6o minutes of play a day to keep their body healthy, they also need regular dental checkups to ensure a healthy mouth. Since February is Children’s Dental Awareness month, it’s the perfect time to cover some topics in regards to children’s teeth. Many parents don’t realize the effect that dental health can play in the overall well-being of their children.

One of the most important ways to ensure your child is getting proper care for their teeth is to have dental visits every 6 months with necessary x-rays. Depending on the dental office, they may recommend seeing your child when they have their first tooth, but many will say to start at age 2. It is good to start early to help your child become acquainted and comfortable with the dental office and even the staff. At dental visits and checkups, the dentist or hygienist will normally discuss with the parents the condition of the child’s mouth, nutrition and sugar intake and home care tips and techniques to practice with your child.

Nutrition and sugar intake is another important topic because it can cause many problems for children orally as well as their general health. It is okay for children to have sweets occasionally, but there should be limitations. Parents should try to encourage more water and less sugary juices, sports drinks and soda. It is surprising to most people that sports drinks have a high amount of sugar. So, it is best to get the sugar-free options such as Powerade Zero or G2(Gatorade). Also try to encourage more healthy snacks vs. sugary snacks (cookies, doughnuts, “fruit” or gummy snacks, candy, etc.). Most sugary items have a tendency to stick to teeth, resulting in longer contact of sugar on the teeth and more probability of a cavity. One way to help reduce sugar if your child wants juice is to dilute it with water. Remember, the more sugar that children’s teeth are exposed to; the more they are at risk of tooth decay.

Another overlooked fact is the significant role “baby teeth” have in a child’s mouth. Many feel it is not a big deal to just pull them out if there is a problem or decay, since they will still get permanent teeth at some point. However, that is not the case. Baby teeth do serve a much bigger purpose. Besides allowing your child to speak, chew their food, and have a nice smile, those baby teeth also are holding the space for the adult teeth to come in at the right time and in the right place. So it is best to have the treatment done if it is needed to fix dental problems.

Recommendations for children’s proper home care are:

  • Brushing teeth in a small circular motion with a pea sized amount of toothpaste (2 times a day for 2 minutes-set a timer if necessary) Try the kids friendly NOW Xyliwhite Strawberry Splash Toothpaste Gel (3 oz) available at HerSUPPZ!

  • Floss teeth at least once a day

  • Double check your child’s brushing and flossing (you may have to help them)

  • Lower sugary snack and drink intake

  • Get dental checkups every 6 months with necessary x-rays

  • Drink more water—it helps keep the mouth pH level more neutral

  • If your child does not have teeth or just starting to get teeth—wipe gums gently with a wet washcloth

  • If you have any questions or concerns with your children’s teeth, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist