Tooth decay is one of the most common problems for children. This, however, can be prevented by applying good dental practices at an early stage. The American Dental Association (ADA) encourages parents to schedule their child’s first trip to a kids dentist in Singapore as soon as the kid reached the first year of age. During the first visit, the dentist will examine the condition of your child’s teeth and show the correct way to brush and flow. According to Dentaleh, one of the leading dental portals in Singapore, regular visits like this would help detect early possible issues and familiarize kids with a dentist so that they will be less anxious and fearful about dental checkups as they grow older. For the first few years, you can go to a pediatric dentist. This type of dentist specializes in children’s dental health and they would know when to refer you to another specialist, like one for correcting an overbite or one for realignment of the jaw.
The pediatric dentist may also use fluoride even before your child’s teeth come out if he or she identifies the risk for possible dental problems. Fluoride is a substance that strengthens the enamel of the tooth and keeps cavities at bay.
The list below are the steps that you can follow to protect your child’s smile.
- Schedule routine checkups with the child’s dentist
Research shows that dental costs are lower by almost 40% for over a five-year period for kids who get dental checkups by the time they reach the age of five. Take you child to the dentist when he or she is a year old. This will save a lot of expensive dental treatments in the future.
- Cultivate proper dental habits
Brushing and flossing are two important things that you should teach your child at an early age. Even before the first teeth surfaces, remember to massage your child’s gums with a soft cloth. You can also use an infant toothbrush to clean the gums.
Flossing can be done between two teeth. Your dentist can show you the proper way of flossing as well as how often you should do it. Brushing and flossing should always be done before you put a child in bed.
Mouthwash can be used, too, when a child knows how to spit it out. Never give mouthwash to a child without close supervision or the dentist’s approval.
- Prevent “bottle mouth”
Never allow an infant or toddler to sleep while drinking from a bottle, especially if it contains milk, juice, or any other liquid with sugar. The sugar in the liquid will stick to your child’s teeth and it will be the cause of tooth decay. When necessary, put your child to bed with a bottle of water instead.
- Lessen the intake of juices
Most adults think that giving juices to a kid is healthy but it is not; juices contain a high amount of sugar. Use only 100% fruit juices and not more than 4 ounces daily. Non-options food and drinks are preferable.
- Monitor the use of sippy cup and the pacifier
Sippy cups are helpful in moving the child away from the bottle but too much drinking from it can also cause tooth decay, particularly in the front teeth. Make sure that you kid does not use it from an entire day.
At the same time, do not let your kid use a pacifier in the long term as this will have an adverse effect to the alignment of the teeth and the mouth’s shape. Consult your dentist if your kid still uses a pacifier after the age of three.
- Be wary of sugary medicines
Since it is a difficult task to give a child oral medication, most pharmaceutical companies opt to produce sugary medicines that appeal to a child’s palate. This increases the risk cavities and this is the reason why children who suffer from heart problems or asthma also have a higher tooth decay rate.
In addition, some antibiotics may cause fungal infection in the mouth and are often characterized by white patches on the inside of a child’s mouth or on the tongue.
If your child uses any of these medications, ask your dentist if you need to increase the number of times that the kid brushes in a day.
- Be consistent in promoting proper dental health care
One important thing to remember is this: just because a tooth is not visible does not mean that it is not there. Human teeth start to form in the womb, during a mother’s second trimester and at birth, your child already has about twenty primary teeth, a few of which are already formed in the jaw. That being said, you need to start early in promoting proper dental care if you want to preserve your child’s beautiful smile.
When your child gets fussy about brushing, flossing, and rinsing, be sure to stand your ground and make him or her realize that he or she does not have another option but to do as her or she is told. You need to be as patient as possible, too. Kids aged two to three (and until about six year old) still need an adult’s help when brushing. Flossing skills, on the other hand, might need until the age of ten to be perfected.
When it comes to dental products, you can let your kid choose the type of toothbrush and/or toothpaste that he or she prefers, provided that it gets your final approval.
You also need to get your kid to brush their teeth before they are too tired to do so, otherwise, they might not cooperate. The best time for dental care is about an hour away from bedtime.
Lastly, always motivate your child. Younger kids might be coaxed to brush more regularly if they are given a reward. Make brushing a fun activity, not a traumatic experience. If the children see the adults brushing, they might be encouraged to do it more often, too.