Pediatric dental disease is a huge problem in the United States; with over 25% of young children and 50% of children ages 12-15 suffering from pediatric dental disease, it is the most common chronic childhood illness. Are you doing everything you can to help keep your child's teeth in good shape?
What Causes Pediatric Dental Disease?
The most common cause of pediatric dental disease is poor oral hygiene. While most adults know that they need to care for their own teeth, they might not realize how much care their children's teeth need. Sugary foods and drinks can also contribute to tooth decay, especially when combined with improper brushing techniques.
What Should Your Do if Your Child Has Pediatric Dental Disease?
If your child has pediatric dental disease, you will need to take him or her to the dentist. Your child's dentist can treat his or her cavities by filling them or, for more severe cavities, fitting them with a crown. Your child's dentist will also clean his or her other teeth to prevent further tooth decay from occurring.
How Can You Prevent Pediatric Dental Disease in Your Child?
There are a number of different ways that you can keep your child's teeth healthy. The most important part of any of these techniques is to be consistent. If you do not keep up with them, your child's teeth can become decayed again.
- Start Brushing Early: You should be brushing your child's teeth as soon as they come in. Use a soft toothbrush and just a tiny amount of toothpaste. Once your child is three years old, you can start using the normal amount of toothpaste (a circle about the size of a pea). While you might think your child is trustworthy enough to brush on his or her own, it is better to supervise. It only takes a few minutes out of your day and it will ensure that your child's teeth are getting the right care.
- Keep Up With Regular Dental Visits: Even if your child's teeth are healthy, it is important for him or her to have regular dental cleanings. Your child's first dental appointment should be around his or her first birthday. After that, you should take your child to the dentist every six months.
- Wean Off of the Bottle as Soon as Possible: Using a bottle can expose your child's teeth to sugary liquid more than a cup will. Ideally, your child should be done with bottles by his or her first birthday. Even when you are using bottles, make sure that you never put anything other than milk or formula into one. In addition, never let your baby go to bed with a bottle.
- Control Your Child's Diet: Sugary foods and drinks can be okay once in a while, but they become a problem when your child is eating or drinking them all the time. Sugar can stick to the teeth and cause decay. Limit sugary snacks and juices to meal times.
- Do Not Share Saliva with Your Baby: Avoid sharing spoons with your baby or even kissing on the lips too often, especially if you know you have some sort of tooth decay. Doing so can transfer a dangerous bacteria from your mouth to your child's mouth that can cause his or her teeth to decay.
Many parents think that cavities and other tooth decay are just a normal part of growing up, but the truth is that they are completely preventable. By starting good dental habits in your child early on, your child will have an easier time of taking care of his or her teeth into adulthood.
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