Why dental hygiene matters for kids at a young age
Teaching your child good dental hygiene from a young age is important as it reinforces it as a good habit that they can carry out through to their adulthood. It functions as a preventative measure ensuring that they don’t have issues such as gum disease, tooth decay and cavities. This also assists with ensuring that the child’s diet is aligned with the objective of having a beautiful smile, healthy gums and bright, white teeth.
Pediatric dentists are an essential part of your child’s dental journey. They are highly trained to assist with your child’s dental journey from infancy all the way until they are teenagers. Pediatric dentists are able to help as their focus is solely on children’s teeth especially as they are different from adult teeth.
What are some of the treatments one can expect:
- Dental cleaning: This is done as soon as your child’s first teeth come in. The process gives the dentist an indication of how your child’s teeth are growing. The doctor can tell the child’s oral hygiene routine during this check. This includes checking for plaque and cavities that may then need to be cleaned.
- Fissure Sealants: This process helps to protect your child’s teeth from tooth decay. This plastic coating helps to cover your child’s back chewing teeth and prevents food from getting into the grooves of the molars. This is especially important for a child who may be prone to tooth cavities and making brushing teeth easier for the child.
- Extractions: This is the removal of either baby teeth or teeth that are badly decayed and chipped. Occasionally the pediatric dentist may remove healthy teeth due to baby teeth crowding the adult teeth (this prevents the need for orthodontic treatment such as wearing braces in the future).
- Fillings: This process is only initiated when the child’s tooth has started to decay due to a buildup of plaque. When the preventative measures of cleaning the tooth can no longer help the pediatric dentist will remove the decayed bits and fill it up with fillings. This process can also be applied to baby teeth as a preventative measure to reserve room for the adult teeth.
Teaching your little one’s good habits
Experience is the best teacher, if you have a poor dental hygiene routine your child is most likely to pick up a similar habit. The best time to start is between ages 1-2 at this point they would need a soft bristle toothbrush with the use of water – you may want to add just a dab of fluoride-free toothpaste for them but not too much. At this point, it’s teaching and assisting them with coming to terms with the new habit and what can be a fun part of them growing up. This includes brushing their teeth for them, showing them how to brush their teeth, gurgling your mouth and rinsing it after brushing your teeth, never swallowing the toothpaste but always spitting, how to move the toothbrush and brushing your tongue etc. Having a routine so that they know the number of times to brush/floss their teeth becomes very important at this age.
By ages 7-8 you can expect that your child would have perfected their oral hygiene routine and can now brush their teeth without any assistance, on the other hand, there are growing pains – from losing their first teeth to their first visits to the dentist.
Getting them to enjoy the journey
Having your child enjoy their dental journey is essential as it encourages them to look after themselves and happily maintain good habits. By making sure they understand the importance of oral hygiene, they can ensure that they never have to undergo extremely invasive dental procedures.
Here are some tips on helping them enjoy their journey:
- Have them pick their own toothbrush and toothpaste in the children’s range
- Make it fun by involving music to give them an indication of how long they should brush their teeth for (2 minutes -similar to the happy birthday song for properly washing your hands)
- Find child edutainment features that can teach them about the importance of oral hygiene and going to the dentist
- Reward them for exercising good oral hygiene but remember not sweets
If you have any questions about children’s dentistry or want to book your child in for their dental visit, contact us today.