February is known for Valentine’s Day, chocolate, and candy. That means there’s no better time to think about your child’s oral health! In fact, the American Dental Association has named February National Children’s Dental Health Month to help promote better dental care for kids.
At Avalon Dental in San Ramon, California, we know your child’s health and well-being is important to you. Dr. Cliff Broschinsky and our compassionate care team offer the best services for your family’s dental health with the latest technology in the field.
To help keep your child’s teeth healthy, we’ve curated this informative guide outlining five common mistakes parents make when it comes to their kids’ oral health, and steps you can take to overcome them.
1. Waiting too long to start regular brushing
Many parents don’t think about regular tooth brushing until their child has a full set of teeth. But the time to teach the importance of regular brushing is when that first tooth comes through your baby’s gums.
Brushing your child’s teeth early and regularly is one of the best ways to stop cavities from forming. Be sure to use a toothbrush designed especially for children, and brush your child’s teeth for them until they can do it with your help. You’ll need to keep supervising until about third or fourth grade, but all kids benefit from a nightly reminder.
2. Not buying the right kind of toothpaste
It’s easy to buy toothpaste that kids are eager to taste, but these so-called “kid-friendly” kinds of toothpaste aren’t always the right kind of cleaner to boost your child’s oral health. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and American Dental Associates recommend using fluoride toothpaste with your child as soon as their first tooth emerges.
Fluoride helps keep your child’s teeth healthy and strong by encouraging the retention of important minerals that support dental enamel. It also strengthens spots already affected by bacteria. Dr. Broschinsky may also recommend fluoride supplements.
3. Waiting too long before teaching kids to floss
Did you know that even with regular tooth brushing, only about half of the surface area of your child’s teeth are cleaned? Flossing reaches the areas of teeth that brushing alone can’t. This helps get rid of cavity-causing plaque that grows between teeth.
When your child’s teeth first erupt, there can be a lot of space between teeth and it is easy to let flossing slide. This is actually the perfect time to teach your child to floss, before it becomes more challenging. Show your child that flossing is quick and easy, and that it only takes a few minutes to make a big difference in the health of their teeth.
4. Not making sure kids brush and floss after snacks
Most parents believe brushing and flossing before bedtime is enough. And while bedtime dental care is important, teaching your child to take care of their teeth after snacking could be the difference between staying cavity-free and a mouth full of fillings.
Cavity-causing bacteria feed off sugar and grow in warm, moist places, like the mouth. These unfriendly bacteria produce acid waste, which eats away at dental enamel. This creates a space for cavities to grow. Encourage healthy snacks and water over sugary beverages and treats, and encourage your child to rinse, brush, and floss as soon as possible after having a snack.
One of the most important roles your play is a role model for your child. When it comes to oral health, it’s important to lead by example. Show them how they can make a difference in their dental health by taking excellent care of your own teeth by brushing and flossing after snacks whenever possible.
5. Waiting too long before starting regular dental care
The American Dental Association recommends children start to see a dentist by their first birthday. Scheduling regular dental exams for your child is one of the most important steps you can take for your child’s oral health.
Not only does Dr. Broschinsky provide cavity-preventing treatments, like sealants and topical fluoride, but seeing a dentist regularly helps your child get used to routine dental care. This helps keep anxiety or fear of dentists at bay, fostering better life-long dental care.
If you want to learn more about keeping your child’s teeth healthy or to schedule an exam for your child, the team at Avalon Dental is happy to help schedule a consultation today. Call our San Ramon office at 925-267-8547or book an appointment online now!