Now a days parents are more aware of their children’s oral health. This brings more children to dental practices. I as a general dentist am very happy about this awareness. It is extremely important to take care of the primary (baby) teeth and I will let you know some of the important reasons.
- Kids eat better when they have healthy teeth. When children have decay (cavities) they will have pain when eating cold and sweet foods. If the decay is very extensive, they might avoid eating at some point because of the discomfort.
- Kids will be happier when they have good oral health. Even very young children can see if they have decay on their teeth that doesn’t look good. They might ask their parents about the brown spot on their teeth.
- When children have decay and pain, they will be in a bad mood and many times, parents won’t know why the child is acting differently.
- Kids several painful decay might have digestive problems. This will be due to not chewing the food properly or not eating proper food. For instance, they might not be able to chew harder foods, which is a really important part of a healthy digestion.
- Baby teeth work as space maintainers. They keep the space available for the permanent teeth to come in place. Losing a baby tooth will slow down the permanent tooth coming out on time, because now they don’t have a guidance. Delay in the tooth coming out might cause space closure (adjacent teeth will move into the space) and crowding. Then, it becomes possible to trap the permanent tooth.
- Children who have dental decays and lose their teeth earlier than expected are more likely in need of orthodontic treatments.
What can parents do:
- It is recommended that parents start their child’s dental check ups since the first tooth comes out. Your dentist will give you oral hygiene instructions to keep the teeth healthy.
- Always be aware of the number of times your child is eating sweet foods. Lower the number of times teeth are attacked by sweet foods to a maximum of twice daily.
- Make sure your child will get to the habit of brushing every night before going to bed. The best way to create this habit is to do it as a whole family.
- Take your child for recall exams every six months. In case there is a decay (cavity) it will be taken care of before it is too late.
Some healthy snacks for your kids:
- Vegetables and fruits.
- Nuts if your child is not allergic.
- Cheese, mostly children like cheese string or baby bell cheese.
- Home made juice is ok but I do not recommend any juice bought. I have seen the worst dental decays on kids who regularly drink juice.
Foods to avoid as much as possible:
- Juice that you buy.
- Candies and cookies or any other sweets.
- Pop, pops have sugar and acid. They are worse than juice.
Dr. Roushanak Shafaghi