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Promoting Early Childhood Oral Health

Promoting Early Childhood Oral Health

February 2, 2024 by riverteam

Establishing good oral health during early childhood helps to create a strong foundation for your child’s long term dental health. Oral health tells us much more about our bodies than just a pretty smile. The oral health of a child can affect their growth, behavior, and social interactions. Overall health is greatly influenced by one's oral health, therefore it is important to instill proper habits and routines early on.

Nearly 1 in 5 children have untreated tooth decay. This is more than just a dental health problem, as untreated cavities can interfere with everyday life. Untreated tooth decay can lead to infection and pain. The pain can make it hard to eat, speak, and can prevent a child from playing and learning. Studies show that children with dental problems miss school more than children without oral health problems.

Tooth decay can begin very early in life, including decay in baby teeth. Diet and inadequate oral hygiene increase the risk of tooth decay and cavities. However, healthy dental habits also develop early in life!

Wiping an infant's gums with a soft, clean cloth after the morning feeding and before bed removes the bacteria, sugars and acid that can cause cavities. As soon as the first baby tooth appears, parents can start brushing their little one's teeth with a soft, small bristled toothbrush and plain water twice a day. When additional teeth appear, introduction of a non fluoridated toothpaste is important for learning proper brushing technique. As your child is able to spit the toothpaste out after brushing, introduction of a small, pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste is important! All children under the age of 6 should brush with supervision and then with help from parents until good brushing habits are formed!

Children should have their first dental visit by the time their first tooth appears or no later than the child’s first birthday. Once the introductory appointment is completed, regular dental visits are important. Getting on a schedule for dental visits twice a year helps children become comfortable and feel at ease in the dental office

The 2-2-2 rule is a great reminder for children's oral health. Brush twice a day, for two minutes each, and see the dentist twice a year. At River Landing Dentistry, we see children of all ages. Dr. Jennifer Stokes enjoys seeing little ones and takes pride in offering comfortable care for all children. Call, text, or book an appointment with Dr. Stokes today to start your child on the path of good oral health.

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