Your teeth play a critical role in your life, of this there is certainly no doubt. First and foremost, of course, we use our teeth for eating. Without teeth, it would be much more difficult to chew up our food adequately. Living without teeth would likely limit our diets dramatically. But the consumption of food is certainly not the only thing that our teeth help us with. In addition to this, teeth help us to speak, allowing us to more properly pronounce words to to more fully speak with clarity. Finally, well cared for teeth are much more likely to be aesthetically pleasing, which can help to give you a leg up in many fields, from the social to the romantic to even the professional.
But good dental care does not begin in adulthood. Instead, it is something that we should be teaching all of our children from the time that their first teeth begin to poke through. After all, though all baby teeth do eventually fall out, the care and keeping of these first teeth can have a lasting impact on how the adult teeth that follow them come in. Not caring for baby teeth and allowing them to become damaged and unhealthy is something that can have long lasting repercussions far past the point that said baby teeth have fallen out and been replaced.
As a matter of fact, kids who have poor dental hygiene and care will even be more likely to suffer academically. This is due to the fact that such kids are up to three times more likely to deal with such levels of dental pain that they miss school. And each school day is a valuable one, each hour as well. Unfortunately, kids throughout this country are missing more than 50 million hours of schooling on a yearly basis, all thanks to issues relating back to their overall dental health.
But what does this pediatric dental care look like? For one thing, brushing your kids’ teeth from an early age is a must, though this might look a bit different than you expect. For example, a baby that has just begun to sprout teeth should have these teeth wiped off with a wet washcloth. At some point, a toddler sized tooth brush can be introduced. However, it is recommended by various licensed dentists that kids do not have toothpaste with fluoride in it until they reach the age of two, if not a bit older, something that links back to the propensity of children to swallow said toothpaste when first learning to brush their teeth.
In addition to regularly having their teeth brushed, kids should also be going to a pediatric dentist or family dentist from an early age as well, ideally before they reach their second birthday, though each kids dentist might have slightly different recommendations on this subject. Much as adults should go to the dentist biannually, so too should kids of all ages. Taking kids to the dentist might be a hassle, especially at first, but it is ultimately something that will benefit them immensely at the time and in the future. And going to the dentist on a regularly scheduled basis will help kids to become used to the dentist – and far less likely to be afraid of going to such visits.
Of course, other steps can also be taken to lower the risk of dental problems such as tooth decay, which is currently up to 20 times more commonly seen than even childhood asthma, a relatively common condition in its own right. As a matter of fact, very nearly half of all children (around 40% of them, as a matter of fact) will have had at least one cavity by the time that they reach their elementary school years, and likely even more than that. But avoiding foods with too much sugar can go a long way, in addition to knowing when to give these foods. For instance, babies should never be given milk in a bottle to go to sleep, as this can lead to issues with tooth decay later on in life. Sugary treats should also not be given frequently too.