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Five Things Dentists Wished Parents Knew About Their Children's Oral Health

As a parent, you want what’s best for your child, including their oral health. But many parents simply don’t realize that what they think they know about oral health isn’t always accurate. Children’s oral health doesn’t have to be complicated. Here is a list of things we dentists encounter a lot – and what we wish parents knew in regards to their kids’ teeth.

Fluoride Is Good

It seems like many parents aren’t passionate about fluoride in the water system either way. But when it comes to that vocal minority that is against adding fluoride to community water supplies, dentists wished those parents knew just how beneficial fluoridated water is to their children’s oral health. Fluoridated water can reduce dental caries (cavities) by up to 25 percent!

Get Babies Used to Brushing Before They Have Teeth

Let’s face it: Sometimes kids really don’t like brushing their teeth. But what if there were a way to get them used to it well before they’re old enough to protest? The good news is, there is a way. If you start introducing good oral hygiene practices when your child is a baby, he or she will grow up being used to brushing. We recommend massaging gums with your fingers or a cloth as soon as your baby starts teething. This not only soothes sore gums, but it also introduces baby to oral health care. As teeth begin to emerge, brush them as you would your own, which leads us to …

Start Going to the Dentist as Soon as Teeth Erupt

Don’t wait until your child has a full set of teeth to start visiting the dentist. Making dental exams part of their routine health care is a great way to eliminate dental fear at an early age – as well as the obvious benefit of making sure their oral health is on track.

Care for Baby Teeth Like You Would Adult Teeth

When we say baby teeth, we don’t just mean infants. Most children begin losing teeth around age 5 or 6. This means until then, they have a mouthful of baby teeth they will eventually lose. The good news is if those teeth do get cavities, they will be replaced by healthy teeth. However, this is not an excuse to neglect those baby teeth.

First of all, it sets a bad precedent. If kids aren’t used to caring for their teeth by kindergarten, it could be an uphill battle to get them to start. Next, children miss a whopping average of six days a year due to dental issues. That’s more than a week of school! Finally, taking poor care of teeth can set children up for oral health problems later. If a tooth must be extracted, it can put the baby and adult teeth out of alignment, requiring costly orthodontic work later on.

To combat this, make sure your child’s teeth are brushed twice a day for two minutes at a time and flossed at least once a day. Make sure your child attends regular dental exams, and protect baby teeth with fluoride and sealants as needed.

Seek Orthodontic Advice as Young as Age 6

Even if your child’s teeth don’t look crooked, your dentist may recommend (or perform) an orthodontic evaluation on a child as young as 6 years old. It may seem too young to be worrying about braces, but getting at least an evaluation early on can give you a better idea of what treatment will entail – and cost. Treatment can begin as soon as the adult teeth start coming in, around age 7.

Oral health can be a confusing landscape for any parent, but keep these tips in mind and you’ll be ahead of the curve with your child’s oral health.

To schedule an appointment for your child or yourself with Dr. Hill, please call 469-393-2459.

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