According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease - five times more common than Asthma, four times more common than early Childhood Obesity, and 20 times more common than Diabetes. Children with dental pain may be irritable, withdrawn or unable to concentrate. Pain can affect test performance as well as school attendance and your child's over-all well-being.
So, what can you do as their parent to help prevent children's toothaches while getting them back to school ready with a healthy smile?
Here are some helpful tips:
Bring your child to see a dentist regularly. A pediatric dentist has extra training and specializes in treating only children. It is recommended to see the dentist every six months, but some children may need more frequent check-ups and attention. Although care at home is important, professional dental cleanings will help remove plaque build-up that can occur despite the best brushing and flossing methods. Bring your child to their first dental visit by their first birthday or when their first tooth erupts.
Dental sealants provide a barrier to protect against cavities and can be applied to baby molars, adult premolars, and posterior molars. These sealants should be applied as early as possible to help prevent the formation of cavities. Chewing surfaces are the most likely places to develop cavities because toothbrush bristles are often unable to reach into the grooves of the teeth. Sealants help preserve these vulnerable areas by protecting them from food contact and the formation of plaque. Dental sealants cost less than traditional cavity fillings and usually last for several years before needing a re-application.
Fluoride is commonly used to keep children's teeth healthy, strong and cavity-free. Fluoride can be found in toothpaste and mouth rinses but can also be applied topically at each check-up visit to help keep teeth strong and prevent future cavities.
When your child begins playing sports such as hockey, football and basketball, you should invest in a high-quality sports mouth guard. Sports mouth guards are responsible for protecting your child's adult teeth from fractures caused by sports trauma.
Drinking lots of water and maintaining a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables is extremely important for your child's overall health.
Brushing and flossing twice a day, along with using mouthwash when your child is old enough, will help to keep your child's teeth clean and cavity free.
Lip and Tongue Ties are often undiagnosed from infancy to adulthood. These ties can significantly affect breastfeeding, nutrition, speech, and airway. It is crucial to have these tissues examined, coordinate with other specialists, and take the step in improving a child's lifelong health.