5 Mistakes Parents Make With Their Kid’s Dental Health

When it comes to children’s dental health, it’s important to have all your ducks lined up in a row. Unfortunately, many parents make crucial mistakes when it comes to dental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 42% of children between the ages of 2 to 11 have had cavities in their baby teeth. “By maintaining best oral health practices, you can set the standard for healthy habits for many years to come, says Sean Kennelly DDS, a dentist in Centennial, CO.

Ignoring Cavities

It’s not uncommon for parents to ignore cavities under the belief that it’s not a big deal. Although cavities may seem like an easy fix—and in some cases they are—waiting too long can further compound the issue. First and foremost, cavities that become infected will have a negative impact on the development of adult teeth. Untreated cavities may also have several other negative side effects, such as speech issues and poor sleep.

Not Participating in Teeth Brushing

It’s crucial that you help your children brush their teeth twice per day. On average, a child doesn’t have the proper motor skills and mindset to brush their teeth alone until they are eight years old. Supervising the cleaning session to ensure their teeth are clean, and to set a standard for what to expect when it comes to daily brushing routines.

Not Using Flouride

Children under the age of two should be using fluoride toothpaste, according to the American Dental Association. This tip is a bit tough for many parents, because fluoride use can be very controversial, but experts do agree that it can be instrumental in preventing cavities. However, dosage is what’s important. One of the biggest issues with fluoride is that too much is never a good thing. Children under the age of three should have a dose of fluoride no more than the size of a grain of rice. When they turn three, a pea-sized amount will do.

It’s important to keep in mind that fluoride is natural, and is found in many natural water sources—including in your tap water. Fluoridated water can actually protect, and is key to preventative dental health. Drinking water with fluoride can prevent cavities from occurring before they begin, and using toothpaste with trace amounts of fluoride can create added benefits.

Waiting Too Late for First Dental Appointment

Going to the dentist with your child for the first time can be intimidating and scary. But it’s important to get it done sooner than later, as one of the biggest mistakes parents make is going on that first appointment too late. Many parents falsely assume that the first visit to the dentist should take place when they have a full set of teeth.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), parents should take their child to the dentist within six months of seeing their first permanent tooth erupt. Typically, this is around when the child is one year old. Because so many parents take the stance of “my child doesn’t have enough teeth yet,” dentists often find themselves assisting children between the ages of two and three and needing general anesthesia.

Another added benefit of taking children to the dentist early on is that it can calm those dental jitters that many children face. The longer that you wait, the more anxious they are when the time comes.

Beware of Concentrated Sugars

Parents should be aware of concentrated sugars that their children consume—particularly in terms of healthy foods. Concentrated sugars create cavities because they are sticky and sit in the grooves of teeth. However, many parents don’t realize that healthy foods also have concentrated sugars and should be eaten with a bit more caution.

Honey, preserves, bananas, and other food items have loads of sugar that stick around long after you’ve eaten them. To combat this, integrate them into meals that create more saliva when eating. You should also help your children brush your teeth after.

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