It’s never too early to start thinking about your child’s dental health. The foundation of proper pediatric dental care begins well before your child loses his or her first tooth. As a parent, it’s important to understand the elements of proper dental care at every stage of your child’s development. Even though baby teeth aren’t meant to last, they deserve to be treated with the same level of care as permanent teeth. Healthy baby teeth are extremely important to your child’s oral health later in life.
Although there are some rules — like avoiding sugary snacks and making regular visits to a pediatric dentist — that are always important to follow for your child’s oral health, each stage of your child’s growth is unique. For example, fluoride toothpaste is important for helping protect a child’s teeth from cavities after age 2, but children younger than 2 should not use it. As your child gets older, it’s essential for you to model good habits when it comes to brushing and flossing, including helping him or her in the morning and at night every day. Even though your child may be able to brush his or her teeth, he or she may still need some assistance to enforce good brushing and flossing habits to help them stick.
As your child enters school, you begin to spend less time with him or her, and this is why building a foundation of healthy habits early on is so important. Left on their own, kids can be tempted to overdo it with sugary snacks and soft drinks, as well as make unhealthy choices from the school’s cafeteria. Stressing the importance of making healthy choices at a young age will help your child make better decisions on his or her own, resulting in fewer dental problems.
One of the most important things you need to do to ensure your child’s oral health needs are met is finding a dentist who specializes in pediatric dentistry and visiting regularly. Dentistry for children is a specialized field, and finding a dentist who understands the unique needs of children is extremely important. Having a good pediatric dentist will not only help prevent oral health issues, but also will give you a qualified source of information to turn to whenever you have questions. Nearly 20 percent of children in the United States go without proper dental care, resulting in more serious problems for them down the road, as well as potential lost school time and other issues.
The following checklist is intended to provide parents with a guide to proper dental care at each stage in their children’s development — from infancy to school age. Although finding a qualified dentist for your children is important, good oral care requires more than a checkup every six months. Follow this checklist and you can ensure that your children develop good dental habits that will serve them well for their entire lives.
Children’s Oral Health Checklist For Parents created by Natomas Crossing Dental Care
Dr. Shelia Harris is the owner of Natomas Crossing Dental Care. Dr. Harris has been a licensed since 2000, when she received her degree from Northwestern University School of Dentistry. She is a member of numerous dental organizations and has been selected as one of the top general dentists in the Sacramento area for the past 5 consecutive years.