Your child’s first set of teeth may seem insignificant, as they’ll be replaced after they fall out. However, they provide a vital role for your child’s ability to chew and the development of their adult teeth. If their tooth falls out too early, the next one might grow crooked due to a lack of support. As such, it’s vital for you to take care of your child’s oral health, even if they don’t have a complete set of teeth just yet.
Oral Health Problems in Children
There are a variety of problems you should protect your kid’s teeth from, including:
- Baby Bottle Tooth Decay— Milk, especially formula, may not get adequately washed out of their mouth. That can cause tooth decay because of the sugars present in the drink.
- Thumb-sucking — Thumb-sucking may seem like a regular habit, but it has far-reaching consequences. Frequent and intense thumb-sucking may push your child’s fragile teeth into misalignment, causing them to form an overbite. An overbite happens when the upper jaw overlaps the lower jaw. It can cause issues in speaking, chewing, and breathing.
- Tongue Thrusting – Some babies or toddlers may swallow food by thrusting their tongue forward against their upper teeth and lips. It is called tongue thrusting. Its long-term effects are similar to thumb-sucking in that it can cause the front teeth to protrude and cause an overbite.
How to Protect Kids from Oral Issues
Early problems in your child’s teeth can develop into serious issues as they grow older. Here are the best practices in protecting your kid’s oral health.
See a Dentist as Soon as They Turn One
Your child should have their first teeth up by the time they reach their first birthday. See a child dentist for a checkup. They’ll see if there are any possible developmental issues in your kid’s mouth.
The dentist may administer an X-ray to see if there are signs of an overbite. These scans may also reveal future issues like forming wisdom teeth if your child is around seven to ten years old. They may also apply and prescribe topical fluoride if your child is showing early signs of cavities.
Create an Oral Health-Friendly Diet
Ask the dentist if there’s any food or drinks your kid should avoid. These may include processed food loaded with sugar, like candy and juices. While you may occasionally have them enjoy a chocolate bar or two as a treat, have them rinse it down with water. If your kid is still an infant, don’t let them nap after drinking formula or breastmilk. Have them drink water first. These methods clear out most of the sugar that may be stuck on their teeth, tongue, cheeks, and gums.
Start Good Oral Habits Young
Teach your kids good oral habits like brushing their teeth twice to thrice a day. Have them do this immediately after dinner so that they still have energy. Educate them about the dangers of poor oral health so that they know that such issues should be avoided through proper brushing, flossing, and rinsing.
You’re responsible for making sure your child has good oral health as they grow up. It’s always better to deal with issues like tooth decay and jaw formation issues as early as possible by visiting a dentist. And keep their teeth healthy with a proper diet and development of proper oral health habits. Your efforts will be worth it when your kid is always confident to flash their bright smile.