Teaching children the importance of oral health can be hard when so many of the problems associated with lack of care can’t be seen immediately. While children or infants may feel a cavity or see the revenants of food stuck in their teeth, it can be hard for them to fully comprehend where the pain is coming from, and why brushing their teeth at least twice a day is so important. Thanks to YouTube, there are now videos that help children understand more complex issues in an age-appropriate manner. This video presents an entertaining look at the importance of good oral health and will hopefully make your child a true Dental Defender!
Bacteria in the mouth
This video opens with a description about the bacteria in the mouth and describes that it these bacteria is more plentiful than the number of people on the earth! Babies are born without any bacteria in their mouth; however, normal interaction with adults—like sharing food or kissing—allow for the introduction of bacteria. That’s why it’s important to start brushing your children’s teeth from the appearance of the first tooth. Start early with a washcloth and water and slowly massage their gums. This will help them get used to something touching that area of their mouth and set them up for success when you introduce an actual toothbrush.
Brushing with fluoride
As you know, most adult toothpaste contains fluoride; however, there were some concerns for a time with children ingesting it in large quantities.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has researched the benefits of fluoride and officially recommends choosing a toothpaste for children that contains it. It’s recommended to choose a fluorinated toothpaste for children as soon as they get their first tooth.
Since children this young lack the ability to spit out excess, it’s important to only use a rice grain-sized amount of the product on the toothbrush. This will allow for distribution on the teeth and begin forming the cavity-fighting layers of the active ingredient. Fluoride toothpastes has been shown to reduce cavities in kids from 15 to 30 percent.
Unlike toothpaste, experts recommend waiting until a child is older to introduce mouthwash. Ensuring children do not ingest too much fluoride—which could result in a condition known as fluorosis—it’s important to wait until kids know how to “spit” before using mouthwash.
Prior to allowing your child to try a mouthwash product, make sure they are physically capable of holding a liquid in their mouth, swishing, and spitting. While it seems easy, children are conditioned to swallow all liquids that hit their tongue. If your child can do these steps with water, then they are likely ready to move on to mouthwash.
Protecting adult teeth
While it may seem better for children to experience cavities in their baby teeth (since they fall out) as opposed to their permanent teeth, the truth is that you need a healthy mouth from day one to grow healthy adult teeth. This is why it’s important to have cavities filled and tooth decay addressed as soon as any is found.
If tooth decay starts to impact the gums, it can easily impact the teeth and bones beneath the surface. In addition, untreated tooth decay can lead to infections that need medical intervention. To ensure your children have a lifetime of bright smiles, start brushing their teeth as soon as the first one erupts. Use a toothpaste with fluoride and ensure they aren’t going to bed with a bottle of milk or juice.
At our practice we love to see kids and help ensure they have a healthy mouth for life. If you have a little one, give us a call today for their first appointment!