If you think dental problems are only for adults, think about it twice. Children may also suffer from problems such as inflammation of the gums and tooth decay. Learn why it's never too early to begin oral care.
Gingivitis is a chronic inflammation of the gums that produces redness, pain, and bleeding. Over time, gingivitis may progress to a more severe condition that may cause dental loss. Cavities occur when plaque (a sticky layer of bacteria) accumulates on the surface of teeth, eroding the enamel. If tooth enamel is weak, bacteria may easily cause tooth decay, and this is what's known as dental caries.
Prevent your children from developing these problems by having a proper dental care from an early age. This way, your children may reach adulthood without suffering from dental or gum disease. The American Dental Association (ADA) has provided the following recommendations for parents:
Regular visits to the dentist: The ADA recommends making a first visit to the dentist within 6 months after the apparition of the first tooth, but before the first year of life. The dentist will perform the first dental cleaning and apply the appropriate fluoride treatment. When children are older, dentists may place dental sealants to avoid bacterial damage from dental plaque.
Dental care started early in life: Clean your gums after each mealwith sterile gauze to remove any leftover milk. This will prevent the formation of plaque around the gums.
Avoid "baby bottle tooth decay: When kids take a bottle with milk, juice, or sugared water at bedtime, sugar accumulates in their gums, and this promotes the development of dental plaque.
Avoid using trainer cups: They allow more contact between sugared liquids and the child's teeth.
If you have an athlete at home, protect him/her: All children who are involved in sports activities, such as football, hockey, skating, or cycling should wear teeth protection. Consult your dentist about them.
Follow a balanced diet: Make sure to offer them healthy food choices.Teach them good eating habits by sending them a healthy lunchbox that's full of fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid sweets, chocolates, sodas, and high-sugar snacks.
Plan your child's dental care routine to assure an excellent oral health and a beautiful smile!
Source: Good Oral Health Practices Should Begin in Infancy, (2007) Advice from the American Dental Association during National Children´s Dental Health Month. Retrieved on December, 2008 from http://www.ada.org/
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