Dental care plays an important role for health and appearance, both in childhood and throughout adult life. Preventative dentistry is so good these days that our kids can look forward to keeping those pearly whites bright and shiny all their lives. And we now know so much about keeping fear and pain out of dental care, that kids should have no reason to worry when it's time for those twice-a-year visits. Here are a few things you can do to be sure your child gets the right care and develops an attitude that will ensure that his smile stays bright for a lifetime.
Pick a Kid-Friendly Dentist
There are pediatric dentists who have additional training and interest in kids' dental issues. If you don't have one in your community, look for a dentist whose waiting room, staff attitude and interaction with children tell you it'll be a good experience. Ask your health care provider for some suggestions if you don't know where to start.
Visit Ahead of Time
Bring a child in before the time of the appointment to get acquainted with the place. You can also bring a well-behaved 3-year-old with you on your own checkup so they can get used to the idea.
Examine Your Own Attitude About the Dentist
Many parents have some memories of bad dental experiences, and they can sometimes give off negative messages about the dental chair without even knowing it. The parent who can be most positive about the visit should be the one to accompany the child to the dentist.
Respect Those Baby Teeth
Even though your child will lose his or her baby teeth, proper care and treatment, including fillings, sealants and extraction of dead teeth, will help ensure that the jaw and teeth underneath grow well and stay healthy. Be ready for suggestions about care that you didn't have as options when you were a kid. Also remember to ask your dentist about fluoride rinses to help better protect your child's teeth from decay.
Establish a Routine
Going to the dentist isn't the only thing that is important. Keeping up with a good oral health routine at home is key. Here are a few things that you can do at home between visits to maintain good oral care:
- Teach kids to brush twice a day. Good times to brush are after breakfast and before bed. Supervise at least the evening brushings for kids under the age of seven.
- Use a soft-bristle toothbrush. Hard ones scrape the gums . Change the brush every three months or sooner if it wears out.
- Put a timer in the bathroom. Set it for at least two minutes. According to dental recommendations, two minutes is what it takes to get the job done, and kids often have difficulty keeping time.
- Make sure your child is getting some sort of fluoride. Fluoride is available in mouthwashes and rinses, toothpastes, supplements or in fluoridated tap water.
- Avoid sticky and sugary foods and drinks. They can cause decay (cavities).
With good dental care at home and in the dental office, as well as the right amount of fluoride, your child can learn to grow into adulthood with a healthy smile.