A common misconception about children’s oral health is that it is not as important as adults’ oral health. Frequently, people think that poor oral health in children is acceptable because their teeth fall out naturally. However, this is untrue. Poor oral health in children can linger into adulthood.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children with poor oral health miss more school compared to their peers. Additionally, they also tend to have poorer grades. Not only does poor oral hygiene affect children’s health, but it can also impair their education.
In addition, cavities are the most common and most preventable chronic illness among children. The National Institute of Dental Health and Craniofacial Research reports that around 42% of children between the ages of 2 and 11 have cavities. If caregivers instill healthy habits within their children and bring them to the dentist, they will be set for success.
How to Improve Your Child’s Oral Health
There are many things you can do to keep your child’s teeth healthy.
Be A Good Role Model
Children enjoy imitating the people they love and admire. If you take care of your teeth, your children are likely to follow suit. Having your own oral health care routine can translate to your children. You can even make a game of it! Or, you can perform your oral hygiene routine together. When you brush your teeth, your child should brush their teeth.
The habits your child develops are more likely to last into their adult lives. If they have a healthy idea of the dentist as a child, they are less likely to have a fear of the adult as they get older.
Children love sugar. Who doesn’t? However, kids are notorious for eating too much sugar, especially during the holidays. While sugar and candy are delicious, they are terrible for tooth health. It isn’t the sugar that is necessarily the bad guy: it is the chemical reaction. The bacteria that live in your mouth feed on the sugar and leftover food particles. When the bacteria eat the sugar, it turns to acid. It is this acid that destroys your teeth. Acid breaks down the enamel on your teeth, causing tooth decay.
Of course, you shouldn’t ban your children from eating sugar, but there should be limits. If you can, try swapping out candy with fruits and vegetables. For example, most fruits have natural sugars and are sweet. Children might be more likely to consume them as snacks.
Talk to Your Dentist
If you have questions about your child’s oral health, you should talk to your dentist. They are experts in oral health. For dentists who specialize in pediatric dentistry, they are experts in working with children. They can help your child feel comfortable and safe as they go through their dental appointment. Additionally, they can help teach you and your child how to better take care of their teeth.