At All Smiles Children’s Dentistry, Dr. Houri knows that your child’s oral health will impact their future adult smiles. With the holidays coming up and busy school schedules at hand, it’s important to know how to improve kids’ oral health before issues ever have a chance to pop up.
In essence, a parent’s guide to pediatric dentistry and dental care focuses on prevention and smart nutritional choices. While cavities do pop up from time to time, here are some tips to improve children’s oral health from day one:
- Drink Lots of Water
Our kids dentist in Vista recommends drinking water straight from the tap since it’s fluoridated and the minerals are regulated by our Vista water municipality. Water is a natural cleanser and lubricator, helping reduce bacteria and acids in your child’s mouth (which are responsible for cavities.) Instead of fruit juice or sports drinks, send your child to school with a reusable water bottle. And unless they’re hydrating during hot summer sports, water is usually all they need to drink during games or practice.
- Watch Out for Sticky Snacks
Does your child crave holiday treats like caramel apples or candy corn? Hard or sticky candy can break an already damaged tooth, but it can also pull off protective sealants on their molars. When they’re craving something sweet, try to stick to softer textures that melt away instead of stick to teeth for hours on end.
- Keep the Sugar in Moderation
Dr. Houri isn’t saying your child needs to go through their entire lifetime without candy, trick-or-treating, or a few goodies in their Christmas stocking. But it is important that sugar is only consumed in moderation, rather than spread out every single day. Parents should set a time limit and limit on how many sweets their child eats per day or week. For instance, maybe have leftover Halloween candy right after lunch, not in the middle of the afternoon and then again once they finish their dinner. Make sure they rinse their mouth with water and/or brush their teeth afterward.
- Don’t Use Teeth as Tools
Kids use their teeth for just about anything. From biting their nails to tearing open bags of chips, teeth can wear down prematurely if they’re always being used as trimmers, scissors, or who knows what. Accidentally biting end-on-end with your front teeth can also set your child up for a broken or chipped tooth (or at the very least, teeth that wear down prematurely.)
Encourage your child not to put anything in their mouth other than food.
- Use the Right Oral Health Products
Our kids dentist in Vista recommends using age-appropriate toothbrushes that fit your child’s mouth size. A brush that’s too large won’t clean a small mouth very well. Children can benefit from an electric toothbrush, especially if their dexterity isn’t very good. Dr. Houri recommends that all patients follow up behind their child to help them brush or floss, at least until they can tie their own shoes well. And always be sure that your child is using fluoridated toothpaste twice a day (a pea-sized amount is all that’s needed.)
- Have Them Wear a Mouthguard
For kids who are active in soccer, football, gymnastics, or other sports where an oral injury can occur, have them wear a sports mouthguard. These protective appliances will reduce the chances of a serious dental injury and also help safeguard them against concussions.
Schedule Regular Checkups
Pediatricians and pediatric dental experts recommend that all children should see a dentist by age one (or when their first tooth erupts) and every six months thereafter. These regular checkups allow our kids dentist in Vista to screen for changes in your child’s oral development when they’re small. That way concerns can be addressed early when treatment options are more conservative.
Is your child due for their checkup? Call All Smiles Children’s Dentistry in Vista, CA today to reserve their next appointment!