Oral hygiene plays an important role in your child’s overall health starting at a young age. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends taking your child to the dentist at the sign of a first tooth, and regular checkups by his or her first birthday. The sad reality is that many children are left uneducated about oral health, and actually make the choice to neglect it.
Children and Common Dental Problems
Dental education is not taken as seriously as it should be, especially among younger generations. As a result, children are left living with the decisions made by their parents or caretaker. This could mean pain and discomfort while eating, or something more serious like infections developing in their mouth and spreading to the rest of their body.
Children who do not properly take care of their teeth can suffer from a variety of problems, including:
- Regular cavities
- Tooth and/or gum decay
- Gaps or crooked teeth
- Problems with jaw alignment
- Bacterial infections
There are many factors that can lead to poor dental hygiene at a young age, beginning from your child’s infancy. Daily habits like sucking their thumb, biting their nails, or skipping the toothbrush before bed can have a ripple effect. Confronting these problems from an early are can help avoid more serious and unwanted consequences in the future.
Making Dental Education a Priority
Many people assume that kids have a safety net because of their baby teeth. But in reality, the dental education that children get at a younger age will stick with them for years to come. Since oral hygiene and overall health go hand-in-hand, children need to be taught healthy habits and preventative care early on. These same habits (or lack thereof) will guide them to make the right choices about their lifestyle in the future, and ensure their permanent teeth are properly taken care of.
On top of having regular talks about oral hygiene, parents and caretakers should help their child take every precaution to protect their teeth and gums. This includes brushing their teeth on a regular basis, reducing their sugar intake, balancing their diet with healthy foods, and helping them to establish a daily cleaning routine.
Overcoming Fear and Uncertainty
A common problem we see with younger generations is this instilled sense of fear when it comes to visiting the dentist. Parents and caretakers should be working with their kids from a young age to promote oral hygiene, rather than to forgive it. Having a positive attitude towards dental education in early years will help your child overcome any fear and uncertainty they have about going to the dentist. We know it’s easier said than done, but the longer you hold off on the topic, the longer it will take to get your child comfortable with the idea.
The best way to overcome this negative association is by bringing your child to the dentist on a regular basis. It may be hard at first, but over time the process will become easier and probably even anticipated. If you’re unsure about how to begin the talk about dental education, ask one of our seasoned professionals for help. Making the right choices today can have a huge impact on your child’s future oral health and overall lifestyle.