We all know that helping our little ones with their oral health is key to them enjoying a happy and healthy smile. You may also be aware that regular visits, brushing and flossing, and eating well all matter when considering your kids’ oral health. However, health authorities believe that many parents make some key mistakes when tending to kids’ dental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 42 percent of kids aged two to 11 have had cavities in their baby teeth.
Check out some of the most common errors that dentists like SW Portland family dentists at Burlingame Dental Arts say parents make.
1. Waiting Too Long To Make An Appointment
A child’s first visit to the dentist should be when you see the first tooth, or at least by when they turn one year old. Visiting the dentist every six months and starting early not only allows the dentist to catch any issues before they grow, but also sets a foundation for a lifetime of being comfortable visiting the dentist’s office. Many parents wait until a child is two or three before they make their first appointment. At this point ,a child might have serious cavities that may need expensive and painful treatments.
2. Brushing By Themselves
You may not realize it, but kids don’t have the proper motor skills in the hands and fingers to brush their own teeth correctly until they are eight years old. Before then, it is vital that parents oversee the brushing and flossing of their children to make sure the right techniques are done correctly.
3. The Bottle In Bed
Though the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says 85 percent of parents know that putting a baby to sleep with a bottle of juice or milk is a bad idea, 20 percent of families end up doing it. Giving your baby a bottle in bed, or even during the day, full of formula or juice, can coat teeth with sugar, which causes high levels or harmful bacteria to grow. The best thing you can do when a little one wakes up for a bottle in the middle of the night is gently wipe their teeth with a clean piece of cloth after they are done.
4. Sports Drinks
For kids who are a bit older, dentists are finding that sports drinks like Gatorade and PowerAde along with many sodas have large amounts of sugar. Since parents often let kids sip on these types of drinks during the day, they can unwittingly be causing damage to teeth. This is because these drinks are high in acids, which means the teeth are bathed in eroding substances for long periods of time and the pH levels are not allowed to re-balance. While completely eliminating sports drinks and sodas is probably not possible in most cases, trying to limit the quantity and amounts that kids drink is wise. Rinsing with water after consuming these kinds of drinks is a great to habit to encourage.
5. Sticky And Sugary Foods
Though foods like raisins, fruit snacks, and crackers can seem like the perfect snack for children, the reality is that many of those treats are sticky and contain concentrated sugars that can sit between teeth and cause decay. You don’t have to eliminate these kinds of snacks completely, but instead offer them with meals when mouths make more beneficial saliva. It’s a good idea to teach your kids to brush after eating sticky, sugary munchies.
6. Fluoride Usage
We know that fluoride is controversial in some households, but the American Dental Association and many research studies have shown that using fluoride is great way to prevent tooth decay. In fact, the ADA recently advised that kids less than two also use fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen teeth. It’s crucial to make sure you are using the correct dose, which is a rice grain-sized amount for those three or younger, and a pea-sized amount for those three to six years old. If you have apprehensions about fluoride, please let your SW Portland family dentists at Burlingame Dental Arts know.