In 2016, a dental technician carried out a study of 500 parents with children under 12 to find out how knowledgeable they were about dental health. Approximately half of the parents in the study did not take their children to the dentist regularly. Twenty percent of the parents thought the only time children needed to visit the dentist was when new teeth erupted.
Additionally, only 50 percent of fathers and 63 percent of mothers in the study made brushing their children’s teeth a priority. This is alarming, particularly when almost 30 percent of children in the U.S. have cavities. Here are some important guidelines for children’s dental health and the prevention of tooth decay.
Children should have a dental checkup at least once every six months.
The American Dental Association recommends children visit the dentist within six months of the first tooth’s appearance. However, you should not wait to take your child to the dentist past his or her first birthday. At the first visit, the dentist will examine your child for cavities or oral injuries and identify any areas at risk of developing decay. The dentist will also clean your child’s teeth and show you how to take care of them at home. You can expect the dentist to ask about pacifier use and thumbsucking as well, because these habits have an effect on your child’s oral health. Although most toddlers do not need a treatment plan, you will have the opportunity to make the next appointment before you leave.
Brushing is the best way to protect your child’s teeth from decay.
You should begin cleaning your child’s gums even before the first teeth arrive. Use a soft cloth and water or purchase an infant toothbrush made especially for their tender gums. Once baby teeth begin to erupt, brush them with a tiny drop of fluoride toothpaste. When children reach the age of three, increase the amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush to the size of a pea. Continue brushing your children’s teeth when they are young because they cannot do it on their own effectively. Always make sure they spit out the toothpaste afterwards instead of swallowing.
It’s important to know how to handle common dental emergencies.
It’s normal for children to have accidents. When it comes to their teeth, you should know what to do to so you can prevent the loss of a permanent tooth.
- Knocked-out tooth: If a permanent tooth is knocked out, you should try to put it back in the socket. In case that’s not possible, put the tooth in milk and see the dentist immediately.
- Cracked tooth: For a cracked tooth, rinse your child’s mouth with warm water. Then apply a cold compress to reduce swelling.
- Toothache: Treat a toothache by cleaning the area with warm water. Gently floss the area in case food is stuck and causing discomfort.
Your child’s teeth should be a top priority. Prevent serious problems down the line by scheduling appointments with Dr. Craig Armstrong DDS regularly and handling issues as they occur.