Over 90% of adults have had cavities in their permanent teeth. It seems that for most people, taking care of their teeth isn’t too much of a concern.
A lot of the disinterest comes from a poor understanding of how important it is to regularly take care of your teeth. It’s a problem that we see all too often in pediatric dentistry, much to the disservice of the children we treat.
Misinformation and lack of appreciation can put your children in a painful situation and make our job a lot more difficult. To save everyone the aggravation of premature tooth problems, we’ll dispel some common myths about children’s oral hygiene.
Myth: Baby Teeth Don’t Need Special Attention
Baby teeth are just going to fall out anyway, so why waste time brushing them?
The truth is, even though baby teeth are temporary placeholders, letting them develop cavities and rot can cause a mountain of short-term and long-term issues.
Teeth brushing is an essential skill, one that you should start encouraging when the first tooth erupts.
If you don’t appreciate the importance of brushing baby teeth, your child will develop bad brushing habits along with those cavities. The habits instilled during such a critical time in their development will carry into adulthood, and they’ll be harder to break when they get there.
While they have cavities, your child will also experience more sensitivity and pain as tooth decay and gum disease develop. It can interfere with their eating and drinking habits as well as their speech development.
Premature Tooth Loss
Baby teeth are essential for not only maintaining a healthy diet until permanent teeth come in but also for preparing the mouth for the final set.
If a baby tooth comes out early, the spacing on the jaw can be affected, causing teeth to grow too close. When the final tooth comes in, it may not have room to squeeze in comfortably, leading to crowding or crooked teeth. If you want a shot at limiting your pediatric dentistry appointments and avoiding braces, you need to maintain a consistent cleaning schedule.
Myth: Limiting Sugary Foods Is the Best Way to Prevent Cavities
Limiting sugary foods isn’t bad advice at all, not just for your teeth but for your general health as well. But it points to a common misunderstanding of how sugar interacts with teeth.
It’s about quality over quantity. While you want to limit the quantity of sugar that passes over your children’s teeth, you need to also be sure that sugar isn’t getting quality time resting on them.
When you let sugar hang out on your teeth, you give the harmful bacteria living there a food source. As they consume sugar, they produce an acid that wears down protective minerals in the enamel on your teeth.
Your saliva helps protect your teeth from losing enamel by adding back calcium and other essential minerals. But it needs help, primarily from a toothbrush that scrubs away sugar and toothpaste that delivers enamel-healing fluoride.
Myth: You Can Wait on Brushing
Some parents believe the best dental practice is to start brushing when a child’s first set of teeth fully grow in. For some reason, they don’t acknowledge how long it takes for a cavity to develop.
A cavity takes several months to form, but that’s plenty of time if a parent waits for a whole set to come in. It can take up to two years for an entire set to emerge after the first tooth erupts.
You should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first one breaks through. Even before teeth come in, you can help your baby by wiping down their gums with a soft cloth after feeding.
Bottle and breast milk contain sugar that attracts those cavity-causing bacteria. Wiping down your infant’s gums 1-2 times each day can keep them healthy and give them a massage as well, helping to soothe any teething pain.
Myth: Young Children Don’t Need to Floss
The best dental practice is the one that over half the population neglects entirely — flossing. It’s hard enough for adults to stay disciplined about their flossing habits, much less their children’s.
As a result, too many parents have a great brushing routine but never even consider flossing. But it’s just as important for children to floss at a young age.
Food particles and plaque trapped between the teeth are a common source of cavities and poor oral hygiene. Even if your children brush well, they can’t reach those hidden surfaces, leading to eventual tooth decay if left unattended.
Myth: Pediatric Dentistry Can Wait
The best children’s dentist will tell you that a child’s first visit should be no later than their first birthday. Yet parents continue to wait, pushing the majority of children to their third birthday or even later before they see the dentist.
It’s seldom too early to schedule the first pediatric dentist appointment. Even if their first tooth isn’t exposed, getting your baby into the dentist can get them used to the experience.
If you can make the first visit a positive experience, your children will look forward to follow-ups. They can form a healthy relationship with their pediatric dentist, making future visits easier for everyone.
An early visit helps both you and your child develop better habits. From the first visit, your local dental practice will be an essential resource for learning good oral hygiene techniques. You’ll be able to create a more effective routine, leading to better dental health and fewer dentist visits.
Fact: You Should Schedule a Pediatric Dentist Appointment
Scheduling your child’s first pediatric dentistry appointment is a difficult hurdle. But the sooner you schedule a visit, the better it will be for the whole family. Your children will be healthier and you’ll become comfortable working with a trusted professional.
Are you ready to schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist in Colleyville? Our team at Colleyville Children’s Dentistry provides an array of dentistry and orthodontic services to suit any of your child’s dental needs. Contact us to get started on improving your child’s smile today.