February is National Children’s Dental Health Month set by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), and it is timed for this month because Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. This holiday of love and friendliness is often a child’s favorite reason to celebrate the loot they get: the gift of sweets and treats galore. Apart from Halloween, Valentine’s Day is the holiday all kids love because it entails candy from their classmates, friends, and even their parents.
Image credit: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
While it’s true that baby teeth eventually fall out, that doesn’t mean parents shouldn’t instill good oral hygiene habits to their young children. After all, they serve as the blueprint for the permanent teeth underneath the gumline. Baby teeth are particularly vulnerable to decay, and believe it or not; tooth decay is a threat as soon as a baby’s first tooth erupts. Every parent wants nothing more than a healthy son or daughter, but they must realize how good dental hygiene starts with baby teeth, and these habits can follow them for a lifetime.
Why Are Baby Teeth More Vulnerable to Decay?
The main reason baby teeth are more prone to decay compared to adults is that their enamel is thinner, making them more prone to cavities (enamel is a strong layer protecting teeth). The reason it’s important to instill good oral hygiene in children is that cavities are infectious, and they can spread even to the adult teeth growing underneath the gums. Sugar is a particular culprit that forms bacteria in the mouth, which converts into acid that erodes a tooth’s surface.
The good news is, parents can protect children from tooth decay by instilling good oral hygiene practices, such as twice-daily brushing for two minutes at a time, and flossing once a day.
How Can I Protect My Child’s Baby Teeth?
Applying fluoride or drinking fluoridated water is one of the protective defenses against both baby teeth and adult teeth. The reason why is because fluoride strengthens the enamel, making the teeth resistant to decay. Water also washes away the sugar that lingers on the teeth after your child dives into their loot – a pile of sweet treats. Good nutrition can also help a child’s growth and development, as children need strong teeth to chew food, speak clearly, and have a healthy smile.
Use these tips to control the sugar your child consumes in their diet:
- Read nutritional facts on packaged foods.
- Limit sugary drinks like juice, even if it is 100% fruit juice.
- Avoid sticky food like fruit snacks and candy that can get lodges in the crevices of the teeth.
- Do not give babies bottle with sweet drinks at night, as baby bottle tooth decay is very common. Encourage babies to finish their drinks before they go to sleep.
Visit Adventure Dental and Orthodontics to Learn More About Keeping Baby Teeth Healthy
At Adventure Dental and Orthodontics, we offer careful pediatric dental treatment to keep your children happy and healthy. Treatment is focused on issues affecting children’s teeth and teaching them the importance of how to keep their teeth healthy and introduce them to how they can make sure they practice good oral hygiene for a lifetime. What’s more? February is the perfect time to schedule a dental appointment for your little one, especially given that Valentine’s Day is so close.
Interesting in learning more about oral hygiene for baby teeth, or maybe your child(ren) is past due for a dental checkup and cleaning? Schedule an appointment today by calling Adventure Dental and Orthodontics at (661) 251-0200 and