Pediatric dental care may seem like a minor issue, or even one that can be put off until your child is older. However, dental health maintenance should begin as early as possible, typically as soon as your child’s baby teeth begin to show. Seeking out a dentist for children who specializes in little ones’ oral hygiene, and any related worries, will make things easier on everyone and help avoid dental problems later in life.
For example, dental cavities are 20 times more prevalent than diabetes and occur five times more frequently than childhood asthma. Accordingly, regular appointments with a dentist for children should be on your radar early on.
In addition, The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools found that dental health issues account for 51 million lost school hours every year. Starting good oral hygiene practices can stem many problems, including school attendance issues.
Alarmingly, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that a whopping 42% of children between the ages of two and 11 have had caries or cavities in their primary teeth.
These problems can be mitigated or avoided altogether with early, regular dental care.
It’s common for many parents to forego teaching dental care habits until their child’s adult teeth start to show. However, baby teeth effectively act as placeholders for a child’s adult teeth, and damage to baby teeth can lead to significant issues later in life.
Good oral hygiene for kids should begin as soon as your baby’s teeth become visible, which usually happens at around four months of age. Good practice for dental care at this stage is to begin cleaning your baby’s teeth with a washcloth and ask your dentist when your child will be ready to start using an age-appropriate toothbrush. If your child is under two year of age, be sure to avoid fluoride toothpaste unless your pediatric dental care provider advises you not to.
Proper nutrition also helps maintain your child’s dental health by ensuring they get the vitamins and minerals needed to keep teeth strong and minimize their risk of cavities. Talk to your pediatric dentist about accommodating any special dietary needs or food allergies your child may have.