5 Ways to Prevent Early Childhood Dental Issues

what-is-cosmetic-bonding-and-what-can-it-do-for-you-2If you’ve ever wondered why so many adults harbor a fear of dentistry, you need only look at their childhood experiences to understand. There is no shortage of people who can relate an incident in which they suffered fear or pain during a dental visit. Even if you can’t recall a specific incident, just thinking about being trapped in a chair, in that bright, sterile environment, and having to hold still and keep your mouth wide open while submitting to the ministrations of a dentist is enough to make you break into a cold sweat. So you can imagine how it seems to a child. And yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can take steps to ensure that your child feels comfortable at the dentist and doesn’t grow up with the same phobia as you. The best way to accomplish this goal is to implement a strategy for proper oral hygiene at home at an early age in order to prevent dental issues that could cause your child pain and suffering. Here are a few tactics you may want to employ.

  1. Skip the juice. Parents often make the mistake of believing that just because a fruit juice is natural means it’s healthy for their kids. But even if your fruit juice doesn’t feature added sugar, it still has sugar in it! And foods and beverages that contain sugars and starches cling to teeth, feeding bacteria, creating plaque buildup, and contributing to cavities, tooth decay, and other oral health issues. But for most small children, juice is the major offender on this front, mainly because parents don’t know any better. If your child is thirsty, give him water instead of juice. It offers better hydration and helps to rinse away bacteria and excess food particles at the same time. Even milk is a better choice – although it also has sugar, it also features calcium, which builds strong bones, including teeth.
  2. Brushing before teeth. Even before your baby has teeth you can begin oral health care practices. As it happens, you probably don’t need to use a toothbrush until baby teeth start peeking through, but you can clean his mouth using a soft, clean washcloth and warm water or even a small amount of natural toothpaste (like Tom’s) that eschews artificial dyes, sweeteners, and flavors. This will keep his mouth clean and healthy until his teeth start to come in.
  3. Brush or else...Brushing after teeth. Once your baby starts to teethe, it’s time to begin brushing with a gentle toothbrush designed for the task, as well as an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste. If you’re not sure when or how to brush your child’s teeth, take him to a pediatric dentist for advice and tutorials.
  4. Flossing. Generally speaking, you don’t necessarily need to start flossing your child’s teeth until they are more or less fully erupted, around the age of four, although your dentist can no doubt give you instruction in this area. Flossing is an important part of oral health at any age as it helps to remove food particles in hard-to-reach places like between teeth and below the gum line. So if you want to prevent dental issues in early childhood, flossing is a must.
  5. Dental visits. You may not see the point in visiting a pediatric dentist before your child has teeth, but as soon as they start coming in you’ll want to begin scheduling regular visits. Just as you see to your own oral health every six months with a cleaning from  or your local provider of choice, your child needs regular cleanings and check-ups to ensure proper dental health and avoid painful and costly issues. Plus, getting him acclimated to the dentist early on can only help him to feel more comfortable with this professional in the years to come.