Pediatric Dental Health: What Your Pediatric Dentist Wants You to Know
Working as a team with your children’s pediatric dentist.
You and your child’s pediatric dentist are a team, working together to help your kids’ teeth and gums stay healthy while encouraging them to build lifelong healthy oral hygiene habits. Working as a team has plenty of benefits, including the simple fact that you’re not alone in this mission! While you’re on the front lines of this issue every day, pediatric dentists have special insight into pediatric dental health and the best way to care for it. This insight reaches far beyond your regular trips to the dentist and into your everyday life—and it could be a game-changer for your children’s oral health. Here are just a few facts that your kids’ dentist wants you to know about taking care of your children’s teeth and gums.
Your oral hygiene affects your kids.
Oral health issues like cavities and gum disease are caused by oral bacteria. Just like other types of bacteria, oral bacteria is contagious. This means that if your teeth and gums aren’t healthy, you can pass this bacteria to your kids by sharing food and drinks with them. Your kids’ oral health is linked to yours, so it’s vital to practice what you preach! Make sure to take great care of your own oral health by brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and using mouthwash daily. You should also visit the dentist every six months for a professional cleaning to ensure that you don’t have cavities or gum disease that could be impacting your entire family’s oral health as well as your own.
Parental supervision of dental habits is okay at any age.
When your kids are first learning to brush and floss their own teeth, it’s important to supervise them to make sure they’re doing a good job. As they grow up and begin wanting more independence, you can begin loosening the reins. This might mean that the way you go about supervising your kids’ dental habits changes quite a bit as they age and mature, but it’s okay to maintain a level of parental supervision over your kids’ dental habits at any age!
You might begin supervising very young kids quite obviously, correcting them when they make mistakes and teaching them the right ways to brush and floss their teeth, before moving to simply brushing your teeth together as they get a little older to ensure in a less direct way that they’re brushing their teeth for long enough. Even preteens and teens, who you might be considerably more hands-off with than younger children, sometimes need reminders to brush and floss their teeth properly or to put their mouthguard in before they venture onto the soccer field.
You need to bring your kids to see their pediatric dentist regularly.
It’s pretty common for parents to avoid taking their kids to the dentist on a regular basis, especially when they’re young. In reality, however, it’s incredibly important to ensure that your kids are seeing their pediatric dentist at least every six months. Kids are just learning to care for their oral health and baby teeth have a thinner layer of enamel, making them more vulnerable to decay than adult teeth. Scheduling regular appointments allows Dr. Mo or Dr. G to clean hardened tartar from your kids’ teeth and to spot potential oral health issues early—before they become a big problem!
If you’re worried about taking your children to the dentist regularly because you think it will be a frustrating or difficult experience, don’t worry! Pediatric dentists and their teams work with kids all day, every day. They know how to calm kids and make them feel comfortable—and the more often you bring your kids, the better they’ll know our team. Not only will this make your children feel more comfortable during their appointments from the start, but it means that our team will know each of your kids personally, giving us the tools we need to calm and entertain each child in the way that works best for them.
Pain isn’t the only sign of trouble.
Many people think that if their kids aren’t complaining of a toothache, their teeth and gums must be healthy. Pain is certainly a sign of oral health issues, but your children can be suffering from oral health issues without experiencing pain. There aren’t any nerves on the outside of teeth, so most cavities don’t hurt until they become serious. Similarly, while severe gum disease can lead to tooth loss, it often doesn’t cause pain or other severe symptoms until it’s very advanced. This is another reason it’s so important to take your children to the dentist even when they aren’t complaining of symptoms like pain. This way, Dr. Mo or Dr. G can identify these issues early, saving your children from future pain and keeping their teeth healthy.
Using the right tools can make a huge difference in your children’s oral hygiene routine.
Your children’s oral hygiene routine is a huge part of keeping their teeth and gums healthy, so following a thorough routine is vital. One factor in the effectiveness of your kids’ oral hygiene routine that you might not have thought of, however, is what tools they’re using. Seemingly simple details, such as choosing fluoridated toothpaste for them to brush their teeth with, can make a huge difference in their oral health. Getting them an electric toothbrush can also be incredibly beneficial. These toothbrushes have safety mechanisms that prevent your kids from brushing their teeth too hard and often have timers in them to help your kids keep track of time. This way, they know that they’re brushing their teeth for long enough. Plus, there’s a coolness factor to electric toothbrushes that might help your kids get more excited about their daily oral hygiene routine!
Oral health and dentistry for children aren’t always self-explanatory, but you don’t have to figure out the details alone! Your children’s pediatric dentist wants to work with you to keep your children’s teeth and gums healthy year-round. If you find yourself with a question about your kids’ oral health or oral hygiene routine, your dentist is a great resource. Feel free to call our office to schedule a consultation or a regular appointment for your children at any time!