Making oral health a priority is key to lifelong health, no matter how old you are.
In fact, oral health begins before birth!
Children should see a dentist as soon as their first tooth erupts or by the time they’re 12 months old. They should start seeing a dentist regularly after that, just like regular check-ups with their pediatrician or family doctor. Tooth decay and other oral health issues can arise as soon as baby teeth erupt into the mouth, which is why it is important for parents to adopt healthy dental practices early.
Our Stratford dentist can provide you with ways to help prevent your child from developing tooth decay. They can also give you tips about how to clean your child’s teeth, when to begin using fluoridated toothpaste, and discuss healthy eating habits. It’s true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure — one of the best ways to keep your child’s smile healthy for life is to start good oral health habits early, even before the teeth arrive.
The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) recommends a first dental visit within the first year (12 months) as a dental best practice to help prevent cavities. It helps to establish a dental home for the child and encourages the development of a positive relationship with their dentist.
Delaying that first children’s dentistry visit can have serious consequences.
A Canadian Institute for Health Information report showed that treating severe tooth decay in infants and young children under 6 accounts for approximately one-third of all hospital day surgeries performed on preschoolers between the ages of 1 and 4.
Toothaches and infections resulting from untreated cavities in primary (baby) teeth can affect a child’s health and well-being, sometimes resulting in lost sleep, poor growth and nutrition, and behavioural problems. The negative impacts can also extend to a child’s self-esteem and their ability to learn, communicate, and socialize.
Celebrate Your Child’s First Tooth
At Coventry Dental Care, we believe that your child’s first visit to the dentist is an important milestone and should be celebrated!
It is an opportunity for our Stratford dentist to establish a relationship with your child and provide guidance to parents on optimal oral care. Familiarity with a dental office at a young age will help your child develop a long-lasting relationship and provide them with a reliable place to go in the event of a dental emergency. Teaching parents and caregivers how to provide proper oral care from the start puts young children on the path to a healthy mouth and a healthy life.
How to Prevent Early Childhood Tooth Decay
Here are a few things you can do at home for your child to help prevent early childhood tooth decay:
- Maintain a good diet during pregnancy. Baby teeth begin to develop as early as the first trimester.
- Breastfeed if possible. Many studies suggest that breastfed babies have fewer cavities. However, breastfed babies still need to have their teeth cleaned.
- Never put your baby to bed with a bottle, sippy cup, or any liquid other than water.
- Keep bottles and sippy cups for feeding time only. Avoid letting your child walk around with a bottle or sippy cup.
- Establish oral hygiene routines early. Use a damp washcloth to wipe your baby’s mouth after every feeding. Once teeth erupt, introduce a toothbrush.
- Celebrate and reinforce healthy oral habits.
- Start bottle weaning and introduce drinking from a cup by age 1.
- Limit juice and other sweet drinks to no more than 4 ounces a day.
- Give your child water between meals.
- Provide a healthy diet. Foods rich in calcium and vitamin D are important for building strong teeth.
- Offer cheese, fruits, vegetables and nuts as snacks.
- If you use a soother, use an age-appropriate size and never dip it in sweets.
If you have questions about anything you read in today’s post, please contact Coventry Dental Care to schedule your appointment with a Stratford dentist today!