Starting to notice irregular white opaque patches on the surface of your teeth Is nothing to ignore. Not only are these white spots aesthetically troublesome, but they could be a...
When it comes to dental health, it’s every day that counts – committing to oral hygiene one month out of the year isn’t going to make a big difference. But February is still a great reminder to prioritize our children’s healthy teeth and gums. Take this opportunity to instill some new, healthy habits, tweak your grocery list, and help your family achieve better dental check ups.
Pediatric Dental Health Statistics – How Are We Doing?
It may not always seem like it, but cavities are preventable. Left untreated, little tooth cavities can lead to major health issues like constant pain, discomfort, infections and if left untreated, can even lead to problems with your child’s development including eating, speaking, and learning.
So how do we measure up when it comes to our children’s dental health?
- Roughly 1 in 5 of children ages 5 to 11 years old have at least one untreated cavity
- 1 in 7 adolescents ages 12 to 19 have at least one untreated cavity
- Children ages 5 to 19 from low-income families are twice as likely (25%) to have cavities, compared with children from higher-income households.
Introducing Fluoride Effectively
As parents, there are a few useful tips and tricks to be used when it comes to making sure your little ones teeth remain healthy and cavity free.
Protect your child’s teeth with the help of fluoride by:
Using a fluoride toothpaste
- For children younger than 6, watch them carefully and teach them the proper use of toothpaste. Fluoride toothpaste should never be ingested so help to teach your kids that toothpaste is made to be spit out rather than swallowed.
- For children under the age of 2, it’s not recommended to use a toothpaste with fluoride as an ingredient as children at this age do not fully understand that toothpaste is not to be swallowed.
Protect with a fluoride varnish
As soon as your child’s first tooth appears in their mouth, it’s recommended to have a fluoride varnish applied to the surface of your child’s teeth. This varnish will help to protect their teeth and enamel from early tooth decay when brushing isn’t always an easy task.
This varnish can be applied by your pediatrician, family doctor, nurse or dentist.
Encourage drinking from the tap
Tap water contains a safe amount of fluoride meant to help strengthen teeth while staying hydrated. Encouraging your little ones to drink water helps to keep them healthy and hydrated.
Introduce fluoride supplements
If your drinking water is not fluoridated, ask your dentist, family doctor or pediatrician if your child could benefit from the use of oral fluoride supplements which are available in many different forms including drops, tablets or lozenges.
Talk to your dentist about dental sealants that can help to prevent cavities on the biting surfaces of your child’s back teeth for many years. The use of sealants helps to prevent 80% of cavities in children.
How to Encourage Better Brushing and Flossing
Pediatric dentists recommend parents follow the “tell, show, do” model when it comes to teaching your kids the proper way to brush their teeth.
Tell – Explain to your child how to brush and floss and how these actions help keep their teeth healthy
Show – Brush and floss your teeth along side your child so they can watch and learn from you
Do – Help your kids brush and floss their teeth in the morning and before bed. Keeping a regular routine will help instill correct oral hygiene routines.
Continue to help your child brush their teeth until age 5, and after that, let them do it themselves, but supervised until the age of 8.
Make Healthy Choices When Shopping and Packing Lunches
Getting your kids to eat a healthy, balanced diet is no simple task. What your children eat and drink has a big impact on their overall health – including oral health. When it comes to kids, presentation is everything, so make their foods fun!
Great kid-friendly snack options include:
- Raw, crunchy vegetables like carrot sticks, or celery and peanut butter
- Fresh fruits like slices of strawberries, or an apple and peanut butter
- Yogurt with fresh berries
- Cheese cut into fun shapes or shredded to encourage creativity
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Smoothies that taste sweet, but pack a big health punch
Practice good oral hygiene habits at home with your kids, and don’t forget to schedule professional cleanings twice a year to help prevent tooth decay and other dental issues from the start. February is a great month to book your child’s wellness check up with our Macomb dentist staff!