Sometimes baby teeth are seen as “trial-run” teeth because your children will lose them by a certain age. Cavities can seem like no big deal. But the reality is that damaged or missing baby teeth can be very bad for your child’s oral health.
- Cavities hurt even in baby teeth. Your child could experience tooth pain, problems chewing, and serious infections.
- Baby teeth show your adult teeth where to go. Baby teeth falling out or having to be pulled prematurely could cause your child’s teeth to come in crooked and require braces to fix.
- Baby teeth stick around longer than you think. Your child won’t likely begin to lose their baby teeth until they’re 6 years old, and the process can go on until your child is between the ages of 10 and 13.
- Baby teeth help establish good dental care early. By the time your child’s adult teeth come in, their dental care habits are set. Teach them to care for their baby teeth so they know how to care for their adult teeth.
Even if you understand the importance of taking care of your child’s baby teeth, getting your child to understand can be a huge challenge for parents. Don’t be discouraged if your children want to go to battle over brushing their teeth. Here are 7 ideas for keeping your kids’ teeth healthy.
- Make up a silly song. “And the sound of the brush goes swish, swish, swish.” Little kids love a good sing-a-long. Make up a little diddy to go along with brushing and flossing to get your child excited. Sing it while your child brushes and let them sing it while you brush your teeth. If you’re bad at making up tunes, you can find a short song that you play only during brushing, so you child knows that when the song comes on, it’s time to take care of their teeth.
- Do it together. Children are great imitators. If they see you taking care of your teeth, they’ll want to take care of their teeth, too! Turn brushing and flossing into morning and night bonding time by doing it together.
- Introduce the Tooth Fairy early. You don’t have to wait until your children start losing teeth to tell them about the Tooth Fairy. The Tooth Fairy could pay a visit to good little girls and boys who’ve flossed and brushed their teeth all week long. Instead of money, this weekly Tooth Fairy can leave small, inexpensive toys or tooth-related gifts for your child.
- Jazz up their toothbrush. The toothbrush aisle at the grocery store has a colorful selection of toothbrushes and toothpaste for children. Get your child a set with their favorite cartoon or TV character to make brushing their teeth fun. You’ll also find light-up toothbrushes with timers and lots of fun colors targeted toward kids.
- Make it routine. Children thrive on structure. It’s much easier to get your child in the groove of brushing their teeth if you do it every day at the same two times. If you skip days, it will be much harder to get your child to embrace brushing their teeth.
- Talk to them about teeth. While reading a book or watching a show, you can give your child positive messaging around teeth, such as “Look at their smile! Doesn’t she have a lovely smile? I bet she flosses her teeth every night!” You can also ask friends and family to compliment your child on their freshly brushed teeth.
- Bring in a pro. The ADA recommends taking your child in for their first visit to the dentist by their first birthday. Dr. Memmott is a family dentist who loves children and is happy to talk to your child about proper dental care at home.
These 7 tips will help you get your kid into the bathroom to brush and floss their teeth, but there are some other choices you can make throughout the day to protect your child’s teeth.
- Limit exposure to sugar. The more times a day your child has sugary treats, the more times a day sugar has an opportunity to attack your child’s teeth. This also means avoiding juice and milk before bed, or else sugar can settle on your child’s teeth overnight. The next time you’re in, ask us about sealants we can apply to your child’s teeth to protect them from decay.
- Track fluoride consumption. If your child drinks only bottled water throughout the day, they may not be receiving all of the benefits of fluoridated water. You can talk to Dr. Memmott about applying a fluoride varnish to your children’s teeth to drastically reduce their odds of getting cavities.
- Keep your caries to yourself. If you suffer from cavity-prone teeth, it could be the specific type of bacteria in your mouth causing you grief. Talk to your dentist about your concerns, and be careful not to pass the bacteria to your child through sharing spoons and toothbrushes.
If your child’s baby teeth become riddled with cavities, it can be easy to feel like you failed them. Texas Dental Group is your partner in your family’s dental care, so you don’t have to do it all alone. Call us today at 832-791-1706 to schedule appointments for your children.