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Helping your child develop good oral health habits not only benefits their smile, but is also vital to their overall well-being. Cavities are one of the most prevalent diseases among children. If a cavity, or other oral health issue, remains untreated, it can cause discomfort and affect common tasks like eating, speaking and even learning in school. Teaching your child how to properly care for their teeth as well as visiting the dentist regularly ensures that your child keeps their teeth healthy for a lifetime. We’ve put together a list of ten common questions asked about children’s oral health.
You can start good oral health habits from birth. Gently wipe your baby’s gums with a wet washcloth or gauze after feedings. Once teeth emerge, you can use an infant tooth brush and a tiny amount (a smear the size of a grain of rice) of toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth in gently circular motions. You can start flossing as soon as two teeth touch.
Your child should visit a dentist for the first time within six months of getting the first tooth, but definitely no later than the first birthday. During your child’s first dental visit, the dentist will check your child’s teeth for decay, review their bite and look for any potential dental problems that may arise in the future. In addition, the dentist will share the basics of a child’s oral health care routine and answer any questions you may have.
Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is known as baby bottle tooth decay. Baby teeth serve an important role in children’s development as they help them chew food and learn to speak, making it a priority to protect them as they are susceptible to cavities. Here are ways to help prevent baby bottle tooth decay:
Many children use pacifiers into their toddler and even preschool years. If your child does not show signs of quitting, you may need to wean them off the pacifier. Long-term pacifier use may lead to future dental problems and even interfere with speech development. Talk with your pediatrician about the appropriate time to cease pacifier use with your child. When the time comes to wean your child from a pacifier, be sure to do it gradually.
As a general rule, children should begin brushing and flossing their own teeth when they are able to tie their own shoes, which is typically around age 6. It’s crucial that you still supervise brushing and flossing to be sure they are using proper techniques. You may also allow your child to watch you brush and floss to help teach the importance of good oral health.
The American Dental Association recommends brushing teeth twice a day and cleaning between teeth with floss once a day. Good oral health habits are the foundation to a healthy smile for a lifetime.
Your child should visit the dentist within six months after the first tooth appears or by the child’s first birthday. Ideally, you should take your child to the dentist every six months or as often as recommended by your dentist. Regular dental visits are essential to the health of your child’s developing teeth.
Starting good oral health habits early is the first step in preventing cavities. Always teach children to brush twice each day and floss once a day. Second, regular visits to your child’s dentist will help detect any early signs of tooth decay or other dental disease. They will also check your child’s teeth to make sure they are developing correctly. Remember, baby teeth play an important role in your child’s development and help guide permanent teeth into place so be sure to help your child keep them healthy.
Here are some fun ways to help encourage your child when brushing their teeth:
Dental sealants are comprised of a thin, plastic coating that is painted onto the chewing surface of a child’s pre-molars and molars to help prevent tooth decay. The coating dries to form a protective barrier over the enamel of teeth that prevents cavities. Sealants can also help protect vulnerable areas of a tooth that brushing and flossing might miss. They can last up to 10 years and your dentist will check them at every dental visit.
Need a dentist near home, work or your kids' school? With one of the largest networks in the country, we make it easy to find a dentist who fits your location and your schedule.
* All TruAssure dental plans, other than Basic and Preferred dental plans, are offered in association with the DenteMax Plus dental network arrangement, which includes participating dentists from the DenteMax, United Concordia and Connection dental networks. TruAssure Basic and Preferred dental plans for both group and individual members are offered in association with the DenteMax dental network.
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