What Parents Can Do To Maintain Their Children's Oral Health

By: Renato Mejia

Good oral hygiene and health can stave off numerous illnesses and disease. For a child, parents are the first teachers to impart oral health awareness. This awareness carries over into adulthood and is passed down to the next generation. The result? Children and adults who don't have to spend thousands of dollars on dental treatment.

Getting a child started on a sound oral care regimen should begin early. Parents have to oversee the 'rules' because children may forget or dislike having to brush their teeth twice a day, floss, and rinse their mouths after meals. It's not too early to begin brushing and flossing and dentists advise that children start an oral care regimen as soon as teeth begin to emerge.

Brushing and flossing

Children should not be left to brush and floss on their own if their developmental age is young. For example, 5-year-old kids brush only 25 percent of their teeth's surface compared to 11-year-olds who double the percentage. What parents should do is brush teeth for them till the age of 5 or 6. Know that children develop differently so this age bracket may reduce or increase for different kids.

Aside from brushing, the importance of flossing should be taught. Brushing only removes surface particles while flossing gets between teeth to do the same. Flossing for them till they're old enough to do it on their own is advisable.

Restricting sweets and junk food

Not only are sweets and junk food bad for the teeth but they don't do much for overall health. This isn't to say that kids should not be given an occasional treat but it mustn't become a habit.

Sweets and junk food contain sugar and starch which are difficult to remove though they may not be visible. Over time, bacteria are formed followed by plaque and finally tartar if no measures are taken. Cavities form due to the eroding of enamel and severe cases can be cause for root canals, those 'dreaded' treatments that save teeth but are thought to be painful (they're not). Like all dental treatments, root canals are not very cheap and the price goes up if more than one tooth has to be saved.

Getting them on nutritious diets

A nutritious diet of vegetables and protein-containing foods is good for health, we all know. But getting children to like them is no mean feat. What should be done is to introduce these foods from a young age so that they develop a tolerance. Preparing vegetables as pies and other 'special' dishes is another solution.

Supplements are an alternative way to get needed nutrients but they're ill-advised if consumed often. Fresh healthy foods have no substitute so supplements should only be given if diets cannot provide all nutrients. Checking with the family doctor to rule out allergies and other risks is advised.

Regular dental checkups

Children and adults alike hesitate keeping dental appointments but they're a necessary part of a good oral regimen. A checkup every 6 months should be mandatory to prevent the onset of disease and if necessary, correct misaligned teeth. Inflammation of the gums, bleeding, formation of cavities and halitosis (bad breath) are symptoms of poor oral health and should not be allowed to develop. Regular brushing and flossing, a healthy diet and periodic dental checkups can prevent most if not all, dental problems.

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All of above point can help you to avoid a visit to the dentist. If you do need a good family dentist though, then click here to find one.

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