Kids dental health is always a big issue for me. As a parent myself, I know how much we want our kids to have good teeth! Dental health for children is so important. We don't want our own children to go through the discomfort of getting cavities, toothache, abscesses, and then injections, fillings and maybe having to get bad teeth pulled.
Can you imagine how devastated I was when I had to take out three front teeth on my 3 year old son?
To be fair, it wasn't my fault. He'd fallen and smashed his face, damaging the teeth beyond repair.
But it made me think. As a dentist, the ONE thing I thought I could give my son was GOOD TEETH. But before he'd reached 4 years of age, I felt I had failed already. It turned me into a "prevention nutcase"! I researched ALL the ways I could help his adult teeth.
Now he's 25, and he has great teeth!
Here is what I learned.
Dentists KNOW how to prevent tooth decay AND gum disease. A big study in the U.K. looked at the teeth of dentists' kids compared to all other kids. As you might expect, dentists' kids had MUCH better teeth than the others!
What were dentists doing with their own kids? The study asked that question, too. There are THREE things that dentists do to help prevent their kids from getting decay.
In my experience, if you get just TWO of them exactly right, you're pretty much home and dry.
The problem is, very few people can get two of these things exactly right. And when it comes to your kids, why take any short cuts, right? So I recommend trying to get ALL 3 THINGS right. That way, you're cutting yourself some slack. If you aren't getting one of them exactly correct, you're still being covered by the other 2.
So what are the three "magic bullets"?
Read about them at Dental Hygiene for Kids. It tells you about preventing cavities and child dental hygiene in general. Find out what you need to know by clicking on the link above!
One other thing that can help is getting your kid's back teeth sealed. We call them fissure sealants. This is usually done by a dental hygienist.
There's no need for any shots or drilling! She just paints a very thin layer of special sealant into the tiny fissures on the biting surfaces of the back teeth.
This coating stops plaque bacteria from getting down into the microscopic indentations in the enamel, where a cavity could start. Fissure sealants are best done when a tooth has only just come through the gum.
A lot of parents ask me about getting an electric toothbrush for their children. I recommend an electric brush that has been specifically designed with small children in mind, the Sonicare for Kids. All kids seem to love it, and it is suitable for age range 4 years to 10+ years.
When you're trying to do your best for your kids dental health, it helps a lot to get them interested, too. For the younger ones, some dental activities with a dental health theme can help.
If your kids like coloring and drawing, look for Dental Health Coloring pages. Here are some at StarSmilez.
If you're worried your child might have a cavity, take a look at the Symptoms of Tooth Decay.
And here you can find out how to make your kids first dentist visit a success!
I hope I've been able to give you some help in caring for your kids dental health. Prevention is definitely better than cure; when it comes to teeth, it's much cheaper and less painful, too!
If you are in the United Kingdom, you can read more useful information at the kid's section of the International Dental Health Foundation website.