Compared to potty training, teaching your child how to brush and floss is virtually painless—less messy, too. Dr. Vi Mai, your Garland, TX family dentist, reminds parents that a little diligence goes a long way over the course of your child’s lifetime. Your child cannot have a truly healthy childhood unless his teeth and gums are at their healthiest.
The Early Makings of a Brilliant Brusher
Even though baby teeth will eventually fall out and be replaced, you cannot neglect their care. When your child’s first tooth erupts, it must be cleaned. We usually recommend cleansing the teeth and gums with a dampened wash cloth or a soft-bristled infant’s toothbrush. The first dental visit should take place no later than his first birthday. These appointments are essential because they educate you and your child on the special dental needs of little mouths, and they help your child become more comfortable in our office.
Link Brushing to “Big Kid” Behavior
As children grow, they relish the opportunity to demonstrate just how much they’ve matured. Encourage them to take an active role in their hygiene, and do so in a way that makes brushing fun. For example, you might let them choose their new toothbrush. We’ve seen toothbrushes that light up, play music, and feature popular cartoon characters. Remember, brushing isn’t enough. Your child may still need help brushing the right way, so it’s best to supervise brushing sessions.
Nutrition Is Important, Too
A nutritious, balanced diet benefits the entire body, not just the teeth and gums. Limit sugar intake, which promotes tooth decay. It’s nearly impossible to prevent your child from consuming any form of sugar, so use your best judgment. If you allow your child to eat a sweet treat, be sure that he brushes his teeth and rinses his mouth immediately after. Dr. Mai cautions that you should also watch what your child drinks. For example, many parents don’t hesitate to give their child fruit juice. However, even real fruit juice is loaded with sugar. If you offer juice in a sippy cup, understand that his teeth will be bathed in sugar each time he takes a sip. Bacteria living in the mouth use sugar as fuel, and they excrete acids that attack tooth enamel. Water is always the best choice. You may offer juice with meals, but only in a regular cup.
Children’s Medications May Affect Their Teeth
Many commonly prescribed and over-the-counter medications contains large amounts of sugar to mask an unpleasant taste. If your child has asthma, the mouthpiece of the inhaler may harbor bacteria. Always clean the mouthpiece after each use. Also, be aware that inhalers may cause dry mouth, which increases the risk of tooth decay. Unless otherwise directed by your child’s doctor, your child should rinse his mouth with water for 30 seconds after each dose of medication.
Questions about caring for children’s teeth? To learn more about family dentistry in Garland, TX, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Vi Mai, contact our office at (972) 530-0552. We are pleased to serve families living in Allen, Murphy, Wylie, Richardson, Dallas, and the surrounding cities.