Helpful Pediatric Dentistry Tips!

5 Ways to Keep Your Child’s Teeth Healthy

by Dr. Steve Whittemore, D.D.S. | Published August 3, 2016

The best way to ensure your child has healthy teeth is to start oral health care early.  Starting good dental habits early can help prevent tooth decay which can lead to cavities and other oral diseases. Incorporate these tips into your child’s life and he or she will have healthy and a happy smile.

Get a Check-up By Their First Birthday

The AAPD recommends that children should see the dentist by their first birthday. Bringing your child to the dentist at such a young age is the best way to prevent tooth decay. This appointment can help parents learn how to clean their child’s teeth and other oral health tips. Taking your child to the dentist at such a young age can help them get acclimated to the dentist’s office, which can help reduce anxiety or any fear they might have in the future.

Establish a Brushing and Flossing Routine

Creating a brushing and flossing routine for your child can help them instill it as a habit. Every morning after breakfast and every night before bed, brush your teeth with your child. With a routine in place every night, it won’t take long for your child to have natural instinct to brush his or her teeth.

There are many ways you can make brushing teeth fun instead of treating it like a chore. Singing songs, a tooth brushing chart, and mentioning the tooth fairy are all fun ways you can help your child look forward to brushing their teeth.

Opt for Real Fruit, Instead of Sticky Fruit Snacks

If you’ve been under the impression that gummy or sticky fruit snacks are healthy alternatives , you’re not alone.  Many parents are surprised to learn they are really closer to candy than fruit, especially when it comes to sugar.  Fruit roll-ups and other dried fruit snacks are like nature’s candy, but in some respects it’s worse than candy because it sticks to teeth longer than things like milk chocolate, which is easier to wash away. Even foods like raisins, which are often promoted as an all-natural snack option, can be troublesome. Try to stick to real fruit such as strawberries, apples, and oranges to help keep your child’s teeth healthy.

Get Rid of the Pacifier by Age 3

Sucking is a natural reflex for babies, and does not cause harm during the first few years of his or her life. However, sucking can become a problem as your child’s jaw and teeth begin to develop. Continual sucking can cause several long-term effects on your child’s mouth including the following:

  • Bottom front teeth to tilt in
  • Top front teeth to slant out
  • Misalignment in upper and lower jaw

There are several resources to help you come up with ideas on how to wean your toddler off of their beloved pacifier.

Avoid Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Even though your child’s baby teeth are temporary, they are still important. Tooth decay that develops in baby teeth is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. Tooth decay in infants and small children is most common in the upper front teeth. Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay by following the tips below:

  • Avoid sharing saliva with your baby. Bacteria from your mouth can easily spread into your baby’s mouth by the passing of saliva.
  • Fill baby bottles with only formula, milk or breast milk. Filling the bottle with juice or soft drinks can cause plaque build-up.
  • Brush when your first child’s tooth comes in.
  • Floss when two teeth are side by side.
  • Schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist before your child’s first birthday.

Pediatric Dentistry Helps Your Child Get Excited About Their Smile

Dr. Barsetti, Dr. Whittemore, and Dr. Smith provide a variety of services from infant oral screening to routine cleaning, and emergency dental care. Contact us today for your child’s dental needs in Des Moines and Ankeny, Iowa.

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