As a parent, it is a wonderful feeling to see your child smile. It can take some work to keep that smile healthy, however! It is easy to overlook the importance of a child’s dental health, especially when it comes to baby teeth that will fall out anyway. Many parents are unaware of how essential dental visits and cleanings are to the overall wellbeing of their child. Here at Coppe + Sears, we are committed to working with parents to provide a comfortable and stress-free environment for children! We want our pediatric patients to feel at ease during every visit. To learn more about how regular dental care leads to a lifetime of healthy smiles, keep reading below.
Good dental health starts early
Cavities are one of the most common chronic childhood conditions in the U.S, with about 20% of children aged 5-11 having at least one untreated cavity. This is one reason it is so important for parents to begin monitoring their infant’s teeth as soon as they begin to emerge and to clean them with either a washcloth or a toothbrush. Parents can place a rice amount of fluoride toothpaste for children age 3 and under and a pea sized amount after that.
Here are a few other quick tips for keeping a child’s first set of teeth clean, healthy, and strong:
- Do not leave babies to fall asleep with a bottle at night or during naps.
- Do not cover pacifiers with sugary substances like honey.
- Skip drinks and juices that are full of sugar and stick with water instead.
- After a child’s first birthday, begin transitioning them to drinking from an open cup.
- Babies should see a dentist once their first teeth appear, or by their first birthday.
Establishing healthy habits
Parents should help children establish a good dental hygiene routine as soon as their adult teeth begin coming in. This will set the stage for a child to learn and remember healthy oral habits for the rest of their life! Coppe + Sears recommends the following for keeping teeth and gums healthy and clean.
Children should brush their teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time, paying attention to all the different areas of the mouth. They should also floss every night before bed. Younger children may need help with these tasks to ensure they remove all food particles and bacteria, so parents should supervise their child’s brushing habits until they are old enough to brush on their own. Flavored toothpaste and floss can help make this routine more palatable for kids!
Use fluoride toothpaste
Speaking of toothpaste, the National Institute of Health recommends using toothpaste with fluoride for the best results. Fluoride protects the teeth by making them stronger and more resistant to acid. This not only reduces the risk of cavities, it can even help reverse early signs of tooth decay! Fluoride is one of the best and safest ways we can prevent cavities in children, with studies showing that fluoride toothpaste is 33% more effective at preventing tooth decay than non-fluoridated toothpaste.
Visit the dentist regularly
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists, most children need two scheduled checkups per year to maintain a healthy smile. These check-ups provide a foundation for a child’s oral health and should begin as soon as they develop their baby teeth. Pediatric dental specialists like Dr. Michael Coppe, Dr. Carolyn Coppe, and Dr. Stephanie Karapetian are dentists who are well-trained and experienced in treating infants, children, and adolescents.
Proper dental checkups and cleanings can reduce and eliminate the risk of tooth decay. They also give parents and dental professionals the chance to work together towards maintaining a child’s dental health and improving their dental hygiene practices. The more consistent a child’s dental habits are, the healthier their teeth will be throughout their lifetime!
At Coppe + Sears, we have tailored our dental practice to specifically cater to children. Each member of our team has years of experience treating children of all ages with kindness and care. During a patient’s first visit, we take care to use reassuring words and phrases, like asking younger children if they want to have their teeth “counted and brushed” rather than asking if they are ready for a “dental cleaning.” Providing a kid-friendly environment gives our staff the opportunity to make each appointment fun and interactive for everyone involved.
Coppe + Sears gives children the best chance for a healthy smile
Everyone deserves a smile that looks great and feels good, too. One of the easiest ways parents can help their children achieve this is with regular dental cleanings and checkups! Coppe + Sears is the premier pediatric dental practice in Lexington and the surrounding areas, and we offer a variety of dental services from simple to complex.
Good dental health has been linked to better moods, greater positivity, and an increase in self-confidence. These are all important ingredients to help a child get ahead! To learn more about how Coppe + Sears gives children the gift of a lasting smile, get in touch today and schedule a consultation with one of our doctors.