When did you first start brushing your teeth? What about flossing? It is likely the case that you got started on your oral health journey before you can even remember. And that is because you had an adult telling you what to do. As a parent, you have a lot of responsibilities. One of these is that you keep your child’s mouth clean so that they do not contract any problems, such as cavities. But you may not be sure of the best way to go about getting them into a routine.
Many parents struggle with encouraging their kids to invest time in their smiles. After all, there are so many more fun things they could be doing than picking up good dental habits! However, with National Children’s Dental Health Month right around the corner, it’s time for you to take charge of your little one’s oral health. Let’s dig into the top dental hygiene advice for children, courtesy of an oral surgeon in the Greater Austin area.
It is never too early to get your child into the regular routine of visiting a pediatric dentist. The American Dental Association actually recommends that children go to the dentist by their first birthday. By this point, they will already have teeth breaking through. The majority of babies develop teeth from anywhere between six to twelve months. And with those newly-erupted teeth comes the necessity of taking care of them. During your first dentist visit, you will learn how to properly brush and floss your baby’s teeth. Be willing to ask questions and bring up your concerns.
Listen to your child when they express discomfort in their mouth. While it may not be anything serious, oral surgeons in Austin will tell you that there is always the potential for a mouth infection or cavities. Luckily, if you are keeping up with your regular appointments, your dentist should be able to catch potential problems early on. Even if your baby has not grown all of their teeth in yet, your pediatric dentist can apply topical fluoride to harden the tooth enamel. Ultimately, make sure that you are actively protecting tiny teeth because they should last your child a good eight to ten years.
When your child first starts growing teeth, you can brush them with an infant toothbrush. As they grow older, you will be able to switch out this toothbrush to one that they can use on their own. (And you can even allow them to choose what color and style they want to make the experience more enjoyable!) Oral surgeons in Austin suggest then changing out your child’s toothbrush every three to six months. This is a good rule of thumb for you as an adult, as well. The reason is because, around this time, the bristles begin to break down, making it a less effective cleaning tool.
Fluoride is known to reduce cavities and strengthen teeth, making it important to your child’s oral health. Although there is fluoride in your water supply, there may not be a lot of it. Oral surgeons in Austin will encourage you and your kids to get your intake in the form of fluoride toothpaste. Your little one only needs a pea-sized amount each time they brush their teeth. Just remember to not let them swallow the toothpaste! And know that your dentist can also administer fluoride treatments two to four times per year, depending on your child’s needs. These treatments can start once their first tooth erupts.
Sealants are thin, plastic coatings that are painted on your teeth. They essentially provide a protective shield over each tooth’s enamel by sealing out plaque. Children are candidates for sealants because of their high likelihood of developing tooth decay. This can happen in the depressions and grooves of their premolars and molars. Once cavities form, if left unchecked, they can become so severe that fillings will not repair them. Extensive tooth decay could result in a need for oral surgery. So, make use of sealants today! They can protect your child’s teeth for several years, if well-maintained.
Braces have changed a lot through the years. Today, some people do not even need to have metal wires and brackets. They can invest in corrective appliances like Invisalign to straighten their teeth. As your child gets older, it is not just the straightness of their teeth that you need to be concerned about, but also their bite. An orthodontist is able to manipulate their teeth to prevent the need for major treatment later in life. If your child’s bite continues to worsen into adulthood, this could mean a need for corrective jaw surgery from an oral surgeon in Austin. Their job will be to treat underbites, overbites, and open bites by properly aligning the jaws.
We all love to consume sugary foods and drinks every now and again. But that is the key—only having them every now and again. Certain foods, like sticky gummy candy and sweetened sports drinks, can erode enamel and cause cavities. Whenever your children eat sweet treats, make sure that they brush and rinse their mouths after consumption to remove food particles. For the most part, though, you should focus on cooking foods that are rich in calcium and have leafy greens. And, of course, eat these foods with your kid! As the parent, you are a dental hygiene role model. You have likely heard the saying that children’s brains are like sponges. They absorb everything that is going on around them. If they see you enjoying healthy food options, they might feel more inclined to give them a try.
Dental professionals are highly educated on how to take care of your teeth, gums, and tongue. Oral surgeons in the Greater Austin area, in particular, know exactly what it takes to keep from needing surgical intervention. Still, as you grow older, this surgical intervention may be needed. Bastrop Oral Surgery and Lake Travis Oral Surgery see teenagers who require their wisdom teeth removed and their jaws corrected to fix their bites. When it comes time for you or your child to need an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, make sure you have your dental hygiene routine down. Then, come have a chat with us about what your oral surgery needs are.