As a Hazel Dell kids’ dentist, Dr. Lubisich wants all of his patients to grow up with a healthy, great looking smile. Fortunately, parents can prevent their child from developing tooth decay and cavities by starting dental care at an early age. By following these steps below, you can prevent cavities and keep your child’s smile looking its best.
Step 1.) Schedule a Checkup
While it’s easy to assume a child doesn’t need to see a dentist until all of the baby teeth have arrived, dental care actually needs to start sooner. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child needs to visit a dentist by the age of one. While this may seem a little extreme, early preventative dental care can actually save money over the long run. In fact, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found that the overall cost of dental care is 40 percent less over a 5-year period for kids who see a dentist by age 5.
Step 2.) Teach Good Brushing Habits
Brushing is an incredibly important habit from the very beginning of a child’s development. Even before a child develops teeth, you need to gently clean his gums after every feeding. You can use a baby-sized toothbrush (without toothpaste) or a soft, clean washcloth.
Once your child starts to develop teeth, you need to brush twice a day with an infant-sized toothbrush and a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Don’t think you can skip the flossing either. As soon as two teeth touch, you need to floss daily for your child. Dr. Lubisich can show you the proper brushing and flossing techniques you can use.
Step 3.) Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
As a general rule, you should never lay a child down with a bottle that contains anything other than plain water. Sugary liquids, such as formula, milk, and juice, can cling to the surface of your child’s teeth, contributing to the bacteria that causes tooth decay.
Step 4.) Reduce the Juice
It’s not uncommon for parents to view fruit juice as a healthy drink choice their kids can enjoy all day long. Unfortunately, most brand of fruit juice contain artificially added sugars that can contribute to the development of tooth decay. Try limiting your child to no more than 4 ounces of 100 percent fruit juice a day. Also try to only give sugary beverages to your kids during larger meals.
Step 5.) Store the Sippy Cup
While a sippy cup can play a useful role in helping to transition a child from using a bottle to a glass, parents shouldn’t let their kids drink from one all day long. Frequent use of a sippy cup can lead to decay on the back of a child’s front teeth, especially if the drinks contain sugar.
Step 6.) Pass on the Pacifier by 2 or 3
The use of a pacifier can offer a child a lot of benefits, but over the long-term it can impact their oral health development and how teeth actually line up. Excessive use has even been shown to alter the shape of a child’s mouth. If you need tips on how to ween your child from the pacifier, make sure to ask Dr. Lubisich during your next appointment.
Step 7.) Stand Firm When It Comes to Brushing and Flossing
If your kids put up a fight when it comes time to brush and floss, you may feel tempted to give in after a long day. However, it’s vital for the long-term health of your child’s teeth and gums that make these daily oral hygiene habits a must. If you have to, make it clear your child has no choice.
Not only does making a commitment to brushing and flossing help to make it more likely your child continues to use good oral hygiene habits when older, you’ll also make the next visit to a Hazel Dell kids’ dentist that much more pleasant.