Oral Hygiene for Your Children
From the day a child is born, a parent’s top concern is to make sure their child is healthy and safe. Making sure a child has a healthy diet with excellent nutrition is essential to their growth and development. What parents sometimes don’t realize, though, is a child’s oral hygiene is equally as important.
Many people think that since a child will lose their baby teeth the importance of oral health isn’t really that important until they get their permanent teeth. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. It is highly recommended that tooth brushing, regular visits to the dentist, and even flossing begin in infancy. Children should start seeing a dentist two times a year beginning no later than the age of one.
Oral Hygiene Taught Early
Teeth begin to come in around six months of age and dentists recommend that parents begin to brush their child’s teeth twice per day from the time their first tooth comes in. Baby teeth are considered place holders for a set of permanent teeth. Baby teeth are needed for chewing and are important in the development of speech so it is a smart choice to take care of those baby teeth early on.
It is also an excellent way to instill good habits in a child with regard to tooth brushing and oral hygiene. Children will also be much less resistant to brushing. A child does not become fully adept at brushing until around the age of 8 or 9. Giving a child independence to brush their teeth will help them to develop the technique (practice makes perfect) but a parent should continue to help to reach the posterior teeth, to ensure they are good and clean, until the child has mastered tooth brushing.
Oral hygiene and overall dental health has a direct impact on an individual’s physical health. Research studies have shown that there is a link between gum disease and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Other research has shown a correlation between poor oral health and Alzheimer’s. Parents need to realize that they are giving their child a chance at a healthier future if they begin teaching good oral hygiene right away.
If young children develop dental problems that go undetected, particularly if a child does not see a dentist, they can be at risk of serious health complications if the issue is left untreated. They can even be faced with root canals, extractions and even surgery. The sooner a child can learn to properly care for their teeth and gums the better prepared they will be to continue on with good oral hygiene right into adulthood.