One way to gauge the condition of a teenager’s oral health is to look at the education and emotional health of the mother, according to a Case Western Reserve University study. If the mom knows and cares little about oral health, she may negatively influence her children’s oral health. In this blog, your Ankeny family and children’s dentist, Dr. Erika Peddicord, discusses why mothers need to be educated and stay healthy, for the health of themselves and their children.
Childhood Oral Problems
Dental caries, the disease that causes cavities, is the singlemost common—and preventable—childhood disease, next to the flu. Cavities occur when sugar and starches ferment, which means bacteria consume them and secret enamel-destroying acids. Proper brushing twice a day, and flossing once a day, will remove sugars, starches, food particles, plaque, and some bacteria from the teeth, which helps deter tooth decay. However, many children do not brush and floss regularly or properly, and also eat a diet high in sugars. This is a dangerous combination.
One of the many jobs of parents is to ensure that their children have good health, and oral health is no exception. Some parents are unaware of the effect that poor daily dental habits can have on kids. Children as old as six may require a parent to perform daily brushing and flossing. Even after the child can manage brushing and flossing independently, he should be monitored to ensure that a thorough job is done. Parents also need to limit the amount of sugars their children take in, for the sake of good oral health and to prevent childhood obesity (a widespread problem in the USA). If parents are not vigilant about their children’s oral health, kids could face a lifetime of oral, and related overall, health concerns.
Oral Health and Overall Health
In dentistry, we see many oral health problems that begin or go untreated in the early years of life become big health concerns in the teen and adult years. Here are a few steps parents can take to ensure optimal oral health for their children:
- Brush twice a day from the time a child’s first tooth erupts. Until age one, use water and a soft-bristled baby toothbrush. At age two, begin using unfluoridated toothpaste, and teach your little one to spit and rinse during brushing. Once multiple teeth have erupted, add daily flossing to the dental routine. At age three, when a child understands that spitting and rinsing is important, you can graduate to a fluoridated toothpaste. Continue using a small, soft-bristled brush. Every brushing session should last about two minutes, or the length of the Alphabet Song.
- Do not put a baby to bed with a bottle filled with juice or milk. Only water should be in the bedtime bottle. Baby bottle decay is a serious, painful syndrome in which a child’s teeth literally rot away because of sugary liquids in their bedtime bottles.
- Kids who play sports must wear mouthguards to protect their teeth, gums, and lips.
- If you notice white spots, lesions, redness, swelling, or other abnormalities to the soft tissues of your child’s mouth, visit Dr. Peddicord.
- If your child has a loose tooth before he should; if he suffers an oral injury; or if he has a cavity, fracture, or toothache, visit Dr. Peddicord.
- By age one, your baby should visit Dr. Peddicord yearly. At age three, twice-a-year checkups are advised. Around age four or five, six-month cleanings will accompany checkups.
- Snoring, sleep apnea, teeth grinding, and facial pain may be treated by Dr. Peddicord.
Your Ankeny Family Dentist Can Treat All Ages
As a family and children’s dentist, Dr. Peddicord can provide expert care for every member of your family. Contact our 50021 dentist office by calling 515-964-1490. We are happy to serve patients from Ankeny, Cambridge, Sheldahl, Maxwell, Collins, and all surrounding communities.