Why Children’s Oral Health Needs To Be Taken Seriously?

In Australia, there is a high prevalence of tooth decay in children ages 5-11. And that’s just counting their primary (baby) teeth. In children ages 7-11, some 46% had cavities in permanent adult teeth. There are several reasons for this:

  • Unfluoridated drinking water: Some parts of Australia still don’t have fluoridated tap water. If that’s the case where you live, then fluoride toothpaste and preventive fluoride treatments from your dentist can protect against dental cavities.
  • Lower income: Unfortunately, households with a lower income don’t always access dental care, despite the availability of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule. The Schedule offers up to $1,027 over two years to cover dental checkups, x-rays, cleaning, fissure sealing, fillings, root canals, and extractions. However, some who live in remote areas may find it challenging to locate a dentist near them.
  • Sugary foods: Many children are given carte blanche when it comes to sugary foods and drinks, such as candy, lollies, sodas, and other sweets. When carbohydrate-rich foods come in contact with the teeth and the mouth isn’t properly cleaned, an ideal environment is created for cavities. Some parents allow a baby or toddler to sleep with a bottle. Whether the bottle holds formula, milk, or juice, the teeth are being marinated in a sugary mix all night, attracting bacteria.

Dental Care for Kids Prevents Disease

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to ensure your child’s teeth are cared for. That means brushing teeth twice a day, as well as preventive visits to a children’s dentist starting around the child’s first birthday. Even before an infant’s first tooth erupts, parents should gently clean the baby’s gums with a soft cloth after each feeding. As soon as your baby’s teeth begin to appear, brushing with a soft toothbrush should also include a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, preferably a child’s fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is proven to prevent tooth decay.

Flossing should be introduced as soon as your toddler has two teeth erupt next to each other. Floss picks are usually the easiest way to floss a young child’s teeth. The work is worthwhile; preventing decay and keeping gums clean create the foundation for a lifetime of good health.

Proper Oral Hygiene Supports Healthy Tooth Development

If a child has decay in their baby teeth, they need to be cared for by a dentist. Decayed baby teeth can lead to several problems, including dental abscesses, mouth pain, and issues with surrounding teeth. If a primary molar is lost because of decay, nearby teeth may become misaligned and create problems for when the adult tooth erupts. If your child is complaining of tooth pain, sensitivity to hot or cold, or a bad taste in their mouth, immediate dental treatment should be sought.

Gum disease is also a problem with children. About one in every five Australian children has early-stage gum disease or gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease, resulting in the loss of permanent teeth.

Healthy Teeth Save Money

Compared to the small amount of money spent on routine dental care, serious dental problems can be costly. Regular dental checkups are similar to routine vehicle maintenance; both prevent future expensive issues. Investing in your child’s oral health is an investment in their future health and happiness.

Healthy Smiles Lead to Happy Kids

If a child has poor oral health or missing permanent teeth, they may be made fun of or otherwise bullied. It may also be difficult for them to eat or speak properly. Or, they may suffer from chronic pain and general health issues. Poor oral health can also cause psychological problems such as poor self-image, insecurity, depression, and anxiety.

Children with good dental health are happier, healthier, and more active overall.

Children Thrive with Routines

You can easily set the tone for daily dental hygiene and regular dental care. Children thrive with routines, and you can make taking care of their teeth and gums fun.

  • Let them watch you brush and floss.
  • Set a timer to make sure they brush their teeth long enough.
  • Let your child choose their own toothbrush.
  • Sing a song as they brush their teeth. (You can find some great examples of toothbrushing songs on YouTube.)
  • Always encourage them to focus on their back teeth since molars often have nooks and crannies that can trap food debris.

The same goes with going to the dentist. By taking your child for their first dental checkup around their first birthday and following up routinely, you are ingraining a self-care routine into their life. This will also help your child not to develop dental anxiety later in life.

Why Children’s Oral Health Needs to be Taken Seriously

As a parent, you have many responsibilities. One of the biggest is the responsibility for your child’s oral health. By instilling good dental habits such as twice-daily brushing, flossing with fluoride toothpaste, limiting sugary foods and drinks, and regular checkups, you’re creating a foundation of good self-care.

Are you looking for a children’s dentist with a warm, welcoming environment? Look no farther than the friendly team at Lexington Dental in Belle Vista. Contact us today.

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