PREVENTATIVE PEDIATRIC CARE
It’s clichéd, but it’s true all the same: prevention is better than cure. That’s why we put a heavy emphasis on helping our patients prevent dental problems before they appear or become serious. In this section, we identify how you can help your child with protective measures, how to help form healthy habits, and other approaches that can prevent issues such as gum disease or tooth decay.
Help Your Child Brush Their Teeth Properly
Kids need help to instil good oral hygiene. It’s particularly important to ensure children brush their teeth properly. We can help teach you and your child the best way to brush, but we recommend that you take a personal interest when you’re at home:
- Help your child by guiding their hand. Show them how to correctly move the brush, and how much pressure should be applied.
- Always use a mirror. Your child should be able to see where the brush is doing the cleaning.
- When brushing their teeth, children should remain stationary. This means no running around with a toothbrush in their mouths!
- Try to make it fun. Buy a toothbrush with their favorite superhero or cartoon character. Introduce an egg timer (2 minutes!) that includes a fun tune. Disney, for example, has released a free Magic Timer App that you can download via the App Store or Google Play.
- Brush at least twice per day. The most important time is before bed.
Regular Visits to Your Dentist
We recommend that you begin taking your child to the dentist when their first teeth appear (otherwise known as their ‘milk teeth’), or by the time they celebrate their first birthday. This will catch any potential problems early, will help your child to get used to the environment and their dentist, and you can be advised on how best to prevent decay and other issues.
It is important that your child does not relate a visit to the dentist as a negative experience. Build an excitement around it if you can, with a fun activity following the event. For example, you can create a nice ‘tradition’, such as going to an arcade or play park.
Sugary Drinks and Foods
Children should not consume beverages or foods with high sugar content. Even diet drinks should be avoided, as they can wear down the enamel. This is especially true at night, as the production and flow of saliva is lower.
The best thing you can do is give your child fruit or raw vegetables as snacks. Be careful with fruits however, as they also contain sugar. The same applies to fruit juices or smoothies. Other tasty alternatives are popcorn (plain is preferred!) or rice cakes. In terms of drinks, we recommend sticking to good old milk or water.
Earlier we mentioned associating a positive event with a visit to the dentist. Do not give candy or sweet drinks as a reward! It’s tempting, but it’s a bad habit. Children will undoubtedly be exposed to sweets, be it at school, home, or through friends, but they should get used to not having them very often.
The benefits of proper orthodontic treatment and care go far beyond a more pleasing appearance; they include teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime and a healthier mouth. If you’re interested in undergoing orthodontic care, contact Cochran Orthodontics today to schedule your appointment.
City Base Children’s Dentistry | 2246 SE Military Dr. | San Antonio, TX 78223