10 Tips For Raising Cavity Free Children!

By Catherine M. Fascilla, D.D.S.

Back when I was a kid, we grew up almost expecting to have cavities when we went to the dentist. Having the doctor pry, poke, and drill for an hour or so was normal. Most of us dreaded going to the dentist. Fortunately, that is not the case anymore! Being cavity free at each dental visit is more the norm today and children are enjoying their dental visits.

Children today have many benefits that we didn’t have when we were younger. For example, one of the greatest benefits is that kids today are growing up with fluoride supplements.  Fluoride makes teeth develop stronger and more cavity resistant. People are becoming more aware of the importance of dental hygiene and parents know that they need to bring their children to the dentist every six months.

I made this simple special report to give you a some helpful tips that you can use to help your child grow up with healthy teeth, and prevent as many dental problems as possible.

When is the earliest a parent should start bringing their child to the dentist?

Most dental books say when your child begins to have teeth, but that usually doesn’t work out so well. We like to have our patients bring their children in with them at about two years of age. We’ll give them a ride in the chair while they sit on their parents lap. If they let me look in their mouth, I will! In six months we see them again. This time we try to count their teeth. Six months later we try to polish their teeth. With each visit we do a little more.

By making a child’s experience a positive and fun one, we teach the children to enjoy being at the dentist. They learn to trust us. Then if they need something done, they won’t be scared to let us help them. But if I look in their mouth and see that everything is fine, then we will give them a toothbrush and a gift and have them come back in six months. That way everything is fun. Parents are happy to see their children enjoy the dental experience.

10 Secrets For Raising Cavity Free Kids!

  1. Begin cleaning your baby's mouth with a clean gauze pad the first week the child is brought home from the hospital. Although most babies don't have any teeth until about six months of age, a daily cleaning in infancy will get your child accustomed to the process, and ensure clean and healthy gums when the teeth do come in.
  2. By starting early, your baby is more likely to accept your cleaning their teeth later, when it is necessary to prevent tooth decay. Incorporate a toothbrush and non-fluoride toothpaste into the routine by the time your child reaches 18 months, or at the time the first molars come in. A child that young will swallow the toothpaste and too much fluoride will result in white spots or mottled permanent teeth.
  3. Your child's first visit to the dentist should be no later than age three. Although baby teeth will eventually fall out, they are very important to your child's dental development. The muscles of their mouth and jaw form around the foundation laid by their first set of teeth. The dentist can make sure your child's dental development is proceeding normally as early as her third birthday and with checkups every six months thereafter.
  4. Stop your child's thumb sucking habits before permanent teeth come in. Sucking on a thumb or pacifier is a natural and satisfying behavior for babies. However, the habit can alter the position of baby's developing teeth and the dental arches if it continues after permanent teeth begin to erupt. Fortunately, the damage is usually self-correcting, unless your youngster continues the habit much past the age of six.
  5. Make sure your child gets the benefits of the latest in cavity prevention, including fluorides and sealants, if needed.
  6. Do not give your child a bottle at night with juice or milk. If your child must have a bottle at bedtime, dilute it with water or use a pacifier.
  7. If your child uses a pacifier, don't dip it in any sweetener.
  8. Since there is no fluoride in the Carle Place drinking water, have your child take a fluoride pill or a multi-vitamin with fluoride. These are often prescribed by your pediatrician but can be prescribed by your dentist as well.
  9. You need to help a child under age 7 years old do the brushing. Studies show that children under 7 do not have the dexterity to do a good job. One great strategy if you have a child, who likes to do everything on their own, is to let them do it first on their own. Then say that it's mommy or daddy's turn. I know that there are children who will fight you on brushing, but stick with it because the rewards will be huge.
  10. Finally, the most important thing to realize is that children learn the behavior they observe. So, the reality is your dental health is just as important as your child's. When was the last time you had your dental check up and cleaning?

I hope this report has been educational and helpful.

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