Every February, the American Dental Association celebrates Children’s Dental Health Month! This is a time to highlight the importance of oral health in children and to help parents keep their child’s smile on track. Here are some surprising ways to set up your child for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
It’s never too early to focus on your child’s oral and orthodontic health. The American Association of Pediatric Dentists recommends that parents find a dentist for their child by the time they grow their first tooth or turn one. Doing so enables parents and guardians to ask questions and address any dental concerns early on. Your dentist may also recognize issues, like premature baby tooth loss, that would necessitate an early visit to the orthodontist.
Though many people consider braces a teenage rite of passage, The American Association of Orthodontists suggests that you schedule your child’s first orthodontic visit by the time they turn 7 years old—or earlier if recommended by a professional. By visiting us at that age, Dr. Hutta and Dr. Price can identify and begin to treat potential issues before they worsen. Unlike treatment for an adult or older teenager, early interceptive treatment works while a child is still growing. Guiding and influencing facial, jaw, and palatal growth makes treatment quicker, more efficient, and less invasive than if parents waited to bring in their child until they were older.
Keep up with Oral Hygiene
It’s essential that parents teach their children proper oral hygiene from a young age—even before permanent teeth erupt. This includes cleaning your baby’s gums daily with a damp washcloth to clear away bacteria and brushing your child’s teeth once the first one comes in. While you may assume that baby teeth are disposable (after all, they DO fall out!), this couldn’t be further from the truth. Baby teeth play an important role in eating, speaking, and chewing. Plus, they hold space in the jaw, making room for permanent teeth and preventing overcrowding.
Once children get orthodontic appliances, oral hygiene becomes especially important. Since appliances create nooks and crannies where bacteria and plaque can hide, thorough brushing and flossing are necessary.
Eat a tooth- and braces-friendly diet
While you may not think that your child’s meals impact their dental health, choosing the right foods can produce healthy teeth and bones while also preventing cavities! When your child has an appliance like braces, avoid sticky, chewy, or hard foods that can cause damage to teeth and the appliance. Limiting your child’s sugar intake will also prevent bacteria from forming on the teeth and appliances and causing cavities. Encourage your child to drink water, too! Not only does it keep your child hydrated and healthy, but water rinses away sugar and other particles in your mouth that can lead to cavities.
At Hutta & Price Orthodontics, we love working with patients of all ages. If it’s time for your child to visit an orthodontist, give us a call or request an appointment on our website! We look forward to seeing you and beginning your child’s smile journey.