Every parent is concerned with the health and well-being of their child.  Are they eating right?  Getting enough exercise?  Enough sleep?  The list goes on and on. Among those concerns is a child’s dental health.  How can you as a parent be sure you’re doing everything possible in protecting your children’s teeth?

There are actually several resources that parents can refer to in order to learn more about pediatric dentistry and how to protect their child’s teeth.  Web MD has a great article entitled, “8 Ways to Protect Your Child’s Teeth” that offers some fantastic advice.  Here are those 8 items:

  1. Get a check-up
  2. Teach good oral health habits
  3. Avoid baby bottle decay
  4. Cut back on juice
  5. Control the sippy cup
  6. Get rid of the pacifier by age 2 or 3
  7. Watch out for sweet medicine
  8. Stand firm on brushing, flossing and rinsing

All great advice!

Let’s talk about good oral health habits in particular, as these are the most important in battling any bad habits like too much sugar or overuse of a sippy cup. They also set the child up for a lifetime of good oral health if these habits are established early. Did you know your child’s baby teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they first appear?  Baby bottle decay is the common culprit, but decay is preventable!

Make sure your children are eating healthy, as sugary, sticky snacks can wreak havoc on children’s teeth. Your child should be drinking fluoridated water to help build strong, healthy teeth. Fluoride toothpaste is also important during your child’s formative years to protect teeth.  And of course, schedule a visit with a pediatric dentist no later than their first birthday.

When it comes to teeth brushing, forming good habits early is critical. Even though we’ve been brushing and flossing our teeth for years, many of us are surprised to learn that we’re not doing it properly. Did you know that proper brushing takes at least two minutes?  Likely we picked up this poor brushing habit as a child and never corrected it over the years.  Teaching your kids how to brush their teeth properly is a must.  Here’s a great video on how you can teach kids to brush their teeth. Of course, the best way to create and encourage good brushing habits with children is to make it fun!  Find a pediatric dentist that offers dental programs for kids like the iBrush Club. Show them pictures, videos, etc. on good brushing habits.

Of course, despite all your efforts, your child may still get a cavity.  It happens!  Your pediatric dentist will work with you on the best treatment options.  And know that sometimes, even with the most diligent oral health habits that you’ve instilled in your child, they will get a cavity.  Understand how it happened, and how you can prevent more cavities in the future.  Your pediatric dentist can help you with this, and provide advice and tips on how to proceed.

Basically, to protect your child’s teeth, you need to teach and encourage good oral health habits and avoid everyday habits that are hurting your child’s teeth.  Staying diligent in these efforts will go a long way in protecting your children’s teeth.