Caring for the teeth of children begins with good nutrition even before they are born, as a baby’s teeth begin to form in the womb. Getting a nutritious and well-balanced diet is key to helping their new teeth to form properly.
Beyond that, each stage of childhood comes with special considerations and treatments to ensure their teeth and gums develop into adulthood correctly, and in a way that will help promote a lifetime of good oral health.
Infant Oral Care
During early childhood, it is important to monitor the child and to help them to learn good oral care habits. Toddlers and babies who drink from bottles, for example, should not be allowed to go to sleep with the bottle in their mouth. This is not only true for safety reasons, but also because the milk that pools up can promote the growth of bacteria.
Your family dentist can advise you when your baby begins teething, sucking on pacifiers, and also in the event of oral injuries.
Oral care in Early Childhood
As a child’s baby teeth begin to fall out and their permanent teeth emerge, it will be important for your dentist to observe their progress. New teeth can become impacted, come in wrong, and cause other problems which can be problematic. When problems like these emerge, your dentist may decide that your child needs braces, a retainer, or some other form of straightening intervention.
This is also a time when early brushing habits should be established. Teaching small children the importance of regular daily brushing and flossing will be key to a lifetime of healthy teeth. Your dentist may have some good advice on how you can teach your little ones to brush properly. Of course, you should always supervise young children when they brush their teeth.
Also, young children may be very resistant to receiving treatment from a dentist due to their lack of self-control and intolerance for discomfort. Beginning with very basic checkups is a great way to get the youngest dental patients acclimated to the people, environment, and treatments they will encounter at the dentist’s office.
Oral Care for Teens
Teenagers with braces require regular checkups and cleanings to ensure the expected changes in the arrangement of their teeth occur in the proper way. They will also need special instructions in order to keep their dental appliances from being gummed up with food.
Teens who are into sports must be instructed in the proper use of mouthguards to protect their teeth. This is especially true if they are wearing braces, as facial injuries can be so much more serious for teens who wear braces.
The social pressure teens feel to fit in can help them to remember to brush their teeth, floss, and avoid sweets. It’s up to you to set a good example for them by keeping up on your own daily brushing and flossing- after all- if they get the impression that you can get away with skipping brushing, they just might think they can as well.
If you have a stubborn teen who just doesn’t take care of his teeth, your family dentist just may have some helpful tips for you to follow!