Taking Charge of Your Kids' Dental Care Now Means Healthier Teeth for a Lifetime
We are born with all the teeth we’ll ever have, so we better take care of them from the start. Factors like diet, oral hygiene, and the availability of fluoride in the water supply can all contribute to cavity risk. When kids’ dental care begins early, there’s a better chance that all of their teeth will stay healthier longer, despite the risk factors.
At Bass Dentistry, we love helping your entire family develop healthy habits and maintain strong teeth through every stage of life. In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, here are some of our favorite pro tips for making kids’ dental care more manageable and fun.
The Trip to the Dentist
Even the newest teeth need special care. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), your child should start seeing the dentist as soon as their first tooth appears but no later than their first birthday. That may seem early. But where there are teeth, cavities can follow. Proactive care ensures healthier primary teeth throughout childhood and stronger permanent teeth as an adult.
Trips to the dentist can feel stressful for parents and young children. But kids’ dental doesn’t need to be a challenge. You can make appointments easier with good communication and a positive attitude. A little reward can go a long way, too! Here are a couple of our favorite tips for smooth sailing at the dentist’s office:
- Prepare your kiddo before their visit. Talk to them about what to expect and read some dental-themed books with them. We love Sugarbug Doug by Ben Magleby.
- If you have negative or anxious feelings about visiting the dentist, keep them to yourself. When you demonstrate a positive attitude toward dental care, your kiddo is likely to follow your lead.
- When your child is well-behaved and brave at the dentist, reward them! Positive reinforcement for a job well done is fantastic. That’s why we have a treasure chest in the office!
Oral Health at Home
Building kids’ dental care habits at home is just as important as visiting the dentist. Children should floss their teeth daily and brush them twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. It’s easier for kids to adopt this habit if it doesn’t feel like a chore. Additionally, allowing oral health to be fun ensures that your kiddo will look forward to the daily routine.
We suggest letting your child choose their toothbrush and toothpaste flavor. Play one of their favorite songs while they brush — if they can brush their way through a two-minute bop, everybody wins! Finally, consider using a daily chart and setting up a small reward system for consistent brushing and flossing. These monthly charts from the ADA are great. And they double as coloring pages!
Children and Adolescents
Typically all permanent teeth come in by age 13, with wisdom teeth erupting by age 21. As children enter adolescence, their dental care needs change. And adolescents experience significant physical and neurological changes from childhood to adulthood.
At Bass Dentistry, we keep an eye on jaw development as it is closely related to the development of healthy permanent teeth. We also screen for potential problems that cause mouth breathing, like enlarged tonsils and blocked noses. Mouth breathing both increases cavity risk and affects the jaw’s growth pattern over time. Addressing these issues early means your child can likely avoid more extensive care later.
The dental care habits your child builds during these pivotal years are likely to continue throughout their life, so it’s critical to reinforce the importance of oral health. In addition to their growing bodies, adolescents start making choices that may directly affect their oral health, like participating in sports, smoking, or receiving orthodontic care. Encourage your teen to keep up their daily brushing and flossing habits and maintain their annual dental check-up schedule.
Your kids’ dental care needs will grow and change right along with them. As a family dental practice, we’re ready to help children and adults get the delightful, age-appropriate care they need. And your kids will love our post-appointment trips to the treasure chest and visits with our resident therapy dog, Fender. From first-tooth check-ups to routine cleanings, cavity prevention, fluoride treatments, and more, our warm, friendly staff will ensure your teeth are healthy for life. Give us a call, and we’ll help your whole family smile brighter.
If dental health is important to you and your family, take steps to know how to keep your gums healthy. Gum health is essential to maintaining healthy teeth and overall good dental hygiene. Brush and floss multiple times per day, avoid tobacco products, and use a therapeutic mouthwash.
If you want to know more about maintaining a healthy smile, book an appointment today with Bass Dentistry.