Ways to Ensure Your Child’s Teeth Develop Correctly
Making healthy choices for your child is part and parcel of being a parent, but when it comes to looking after their teeth there’s far more to it than just brushing daily. Your baby’s teeth begin to develop as buds while still in the womb and you can give them an early boost by ensuring that they receive a good supply of vitamins and minerals.
After they’re born there’s even more to contemplate as decisions which will affect the development of your child’s teeth begin very early in their life. At Beautiful Smiles Family Dentistry in Gurnee, IL we can help you to ensure your son or daughter’s teeth develop correctly throughout their childhood. Nothing replaces a regular check-up but our comprehensive guide will provide some useful hints and tips about what you can do at home.
Babies & Infant Oral Health
Your little one may not have many teeth at this stage but that doesn’t mean you can’t start caring for them. Creating a healthy environment for the teeth to erupt prevents early decay and its easier than you might think.
Gently wipe your baby’s gums with a soft, clean cloth or piece of gauze after feeding to help remove sugars and bacteria from their mouth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends regular intake of high-sugar foods and drinks should be avoided wherever possible, and that if you’re formula-feeding, your baby does not go to bed with a bottle.
As soon as the teeth come through, which is typically between 4-10 months old, you can start using a soft-bristled brush and water to keep them clean. There’s no need to start using toothpaste until your child reaches two years of age.
Baby’s teeth are surprisingly strong and you will find that they like to chew on anything available to help them through teething. Monitor any teething toys very closely to prevent damage to the gums or teeth on sharp or lacerated edges.
It’s a good idea to start bringing your youngster to the Beautiful Smiles Dental Center as soon as their teeth have started coming through. This allows us to check that everything looks OK and it also acclimatizes your youngster to having their teeth checked. Most parents bring their babies in from around 18 months but we’re more than happy to see them earlier if you’ve got any concerns
Dental Care for Toddlers & Young Children
At this stage in your child’s life, some factors will go on to have a big influence on the future development of their teeth.
Brushing their teeth twice a day is important, and you can begin to use a child-friendly toothpaste that’s been designed for use in young children. Many youngsters like to develop a degree of independence but it’s essential for you to continue overseeing their brushing. You’ll need to check their teeth and maybe even go over some areas yourself to make sure that their teeth are properly cleaned. This may make your child a little grumpy but brushing is an important step to get right.
By instilling a rigorous dental care routine at a young age, you will give your child’s teeth the very best chance of developing properly and of staying in good condition. Flossing should be introduced as soon as your child’s teeth fit closely together; this can be any time from age 2. You’ll need to help your child floss as it’s a tricky skill for small fingers to manage; most children can floss themselves from the age of 10 years.
Potential Problems During the Early Years …
Some parents use pacifiers with their child to help to soothe them, while other babies manage well without. A lot depends on whether the child needs to satisfy their sucking reflect in order to settle and calm. Even if you don’t use a pacifier, some children suck their thumbs for comfort.
Research suggests that if your child uses a pacifier or sucks their thumb beyond age 2, it can cause crooked or protruding teeth. It’s therefore a good idea to try and help your child find alternative ways to soothe and manage stress. Rewards and positive reinforcement can be excellent strategies to try.
If your child develops teeth which are crooked or stick out, orthodontics will be required later on to straighten them. Your child may look really cute sucking their thumb but the impact it can have on the development of their teeth means this is one habit your child would be better without.
Oral Health for Children Aged 6 years +
The healthy dental routine that you created when your child was younger will be useful as they continue to develop their own self-care skills. It will be particularly vital as their adult teeth start to come through.
Continuing to attend for regular checkups at the Beautiful Smiles Dental Center every six months will be particularly important at this stage. This will allow your dentist to monitor the growth of the adult teeth and identify any problems with position or placement. Early intervention can prevent much more extensive orthodontic treatment at a later stage so dental checks should never be skipped.
Eating a healthy diet during childhood is important for many reasons, including to protect your teeth. Having a good supply of calcium in the diet will help to strengthen teeth and bones; you can find this in milk products including yogurts and cheese. If your child can’t have dairy, broccoli, oranges, soybeans, kale and almonds are all good sources.
High-sugar snacks should be minimized, especially foods such as chewy candy. This can stick into the gaps in the teeth and erode the enamel. Citrus drinks can present a problem too. They may sound healthy but the high sugar content can cause damage to developing teeth. It’s far better to choose water or milk for hydration.
It’s not just the foods which are obviously high in sugars that you should avoid. Simple carbohydrates derived from white flour such as chips, white bread and pasta break down into sugars and stick to the teeth. Switch to wholewheat options and try to pick snacks which have greater nutritional value, such as an apple.
Beautiful Smiles Dental Center Can Help
Dr. Milagros Gálvez, your family dentist in Gurnee, IL is available to attend to your family dentistry needs. Contact Beautiful Smiles Dental Center HERE, give us a call at 847.243.6395 or drop in to see us to book an appointment. Whether it’s your first visit to Beautiful Smiles Dental Center, or whether you’ve been coming here regularly, Dr. Milagros Gálvez is always available to provide advice and help to ensure your child’s teeth develop correctly.