Teaching Good Oral Care Habits Early, Can Prevent Long-Term Chronic Diseases Later
Children are sponges when it comes to knowledge and picking up new habits. That’s why it’s imperative to establish sound dental habits as soon as possible, otherwise they can run into health issues later on in life. That said, each system in your body is connected, and according to a study in the Journal of Periodontology, people with periodontal (gum) disease are more susceptible to breathing in bacteria from infected gums or decayed teeth, which could lead to respiratory tract infections, pulmonary diseases like COPD, and diabetes.
We know you would do anything to keep your child from experiencing these chronic diseases. Luckily, armed with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and regular dental visits can dramatically lower the chances of your child developing these diseases from bad dental hygiene. It’s so important to establish good dental habits as early as their first tooth popping through.
A common misconception about primary (baby) teeth is that they will fall out anyway, so why spend so much time taking care of them? It’s important to understand why baby teeth are so significant in your child’s health and development. Primary teeth are a placeholder in the jaw for permanent teeth, which are growing underneath the gum line. However, losing a baby tooth prematurely can cause permanent teeth to drift into an empty space and make it more difficult for other permanent teeth to find room.
How to Brush Your Child’s Teeth
Infants, whether they are breastfed or formula fed, your baby should have their gums wiped after every feeding to combat baby bottle tooth decay. This specific type of tooth decay occurs when sugars are left in the baby’s mouth for a period of time, stemming from putting your baby to bed with a bottle.
Establishing a set time each morning and night to brush your child’s teeth will get them into the habit more easily. Using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, parents should brush their child’s teeth while the child watches. It’s also important your child learn to spit out the toothpaste after brushing.
When your child is between ages 6-8, they can start brushing on their own. It’s important for the parent to check their work. You know the old routine, “Did you brush? Let me check!” and all of the sudden they rush to bathroom to brush their teeth. Parents should inspect to make sure their child is brushing their entire mouth, and not just “the teeth they can see.”
When Should Children Begin Flossing?
The short answer is, as soon as two teeth adjacent teeth touch. Flossing once a day is a great way to remove bacterial plaque and food between teeth. Not flossing can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath (halitosis), which could lead to more complicated and costly procedures in the future.
Starting oral care at an early age, and forming good dental practices is very important for not only your child’s dental health, but also their long-term wellness as a whole. More and more research is finding that den
tal health plays a part in many debilitating diseases and illnesses, when practicing good dental hygiene early in life could have lowered the risk.
Call Dobbs & Adkins, DMD, LLC today at (205) 655-4300 if you need advice on improving your child’s oral hygiene or if you want to schedule an appointment! We’ll be happy to review our services with you and develop a dental treatment plan specific to your child.