Early access to preventative dental care is a great way to help your child enjoy a healthy smile for life. It can also significantly reduce their chances of anxiety or dental phobia in the future. As a pediatric dentist in Vista, CA, Dr. Houri has put together a list of dental tips for parents to help you get your family off on the right track.
- Start Early
One of the most important pediatric dental tips is to schedule your child’s first checkup by the time their first tooth erupts or they reach their first birthday (whichever is earliest.) Since most dental problems are preventable, these earlier visits make it possible to screen for developmental or health concerns that are best intercepted earlier. We’ll share the educational tools and pediatric dental tips for parents that you need to know on a day-to-day basis.
- Use the Right Amount of Fluoride
As with any vitamin or mineral supplement, dosage matters. Like calcium, fluoride is essential to the development of teeth and bones. The ADA recommends using a rice-grain-sized smear of fluoride toothpaste for all young children until they’re old enough to rinse and spit well. At that point, they can up the dosage to a pea-sized amount.
- Drink Plenty of Water
Water is a natural cleanser. Unlike juice or sports drinks that may seem “healthy”, water is completely free of natural or artificial sweeteners. It’s the best beverage to stay hydrated with or to sip on throughout the day. Invest in some fun reusable water bottles for the family and make a habit of drinking straight from the tap (since municipal fluoride levels are strictly regulated.)
- Brush for Two Minutes at a Time
One of the most important pediatric dental tips to follow is to brush for a minimum of two minutes, twice per day. Most of us — adults included — tend to rush and not brush more than about 30-45 seconds. Have a timer going or song playing to help make brushing longer easier for everyone in your family. Some electric brushes even have built-in timers! Until your child can tie their own shoes, make sure you’re following up behind them to get everything clean.
- Always Clean In-between
As your child’s mouth continues to grow and develop, you’ll notice the teeth getting closer together (it’s natural for there to be some gaps between them while they’re still small.) Since brushing doesn’t clean between the teeth, make sure you’re using some type of flosser or floss pick at least once a day.
- Invest in the Athletic Mouthguard
Is your child involved in any type of athletic activity? A sports mouthguard can significantly reduce their chances of a knocked-out tooth and even concussions! Just be sure to get one that’s fitted by a professional.
- Schedule an Orthodontic Evaluation by Age 7
Orthodontic specialists and our pediatric dentist (Vista, CA) recommend screening for bite irregularities by age 7. At this point, we have a general idea as to the direction of your child’s adult teeth and bone development, making it easier to intercept and correct growth issues.
- Don’t Opt Out of the X-rays
Intermittent digital, low-dose X-rays are an essential tool for screening for cavities, missing teeth, and developmental irregularities. Without them, it’s like working on a puzzle blindfolded.
- Treat Problems Early
Children’s teeth can decay at extremely rapid paces. A small cavity today could be an abscessed tooth months down the road. It’s best to treat issues while they’re smaller, more comfortable, and before they spread into adjacent teeth.
- Schedule a Checkup Every Six Months
Plan a visit with our pediatric dentist (Vista, CA) every six months, regardless of how old your child is. Dr. Houri will work closely with your family to give you the resources you need and care when it’s required. We want your child to be able to avoid preventable dental diseases, but it’s key to monitor their smile regularly.
Call All Smiles Children’s Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.