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Posts Tagged ‘pediatrics’

a child holding a toothbrush

Concerned about your child’s teeth? If so, you are not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases in the United States. Even kids who have had early intervention and brush well may be susceptible to oral health issues at some point. However, following these tips may significantly impact your child’s overall health and wellbeing.

Many parents wonder “what is the right age to take my child to the dentist”?  According to America’s Pediatric Dentists children should visit a dentist when their first tooth appears or no later than their first birthday. A routine visit should become part of your child’s wellness schedule just like going to the pediatrician.  Prior to the first visit parents can wipe their baby’s gums with a soft, clean cloth to prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria. To prevent baby bottle tooth decay, do not allow your child to sleep with a bottle of anything other than water.

Once your child’s teeth emerge, use an infant toothbrush which will have soft bristles and just a smear of fluoride toothpaste. After age 3, a pea-sized amount of toothpaste should be used when brushing. Talk to your dentist about the need for additional protection including fluoride treatments.

Children younger than age 8 should continue to be monitored while brushing to ensure they are reaching all teeth and not swallowing toothpaste. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing is a good start to fighting cavities (AKA dental caries). KidsHealth also suggests limiting sugary sticky foods like gummies which can cause bacteria buildup and erode enamel.

If your child has an accident that involves the mouth or teeth, call your dentist right away. Because injuries to the face and teeth are likely to increase each year from age 1 to 6, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital recommends taking the following precautions:

  • Always use a properly sized car seat for your child.
  • Child-proof sharp corners of tables and windowsills.
  • Place safety railings on beds and put gates in front of stairs.
  • Prevent injuries by moving furniture out of the way to make clear paths for walking. One of the most common areas for injury is a coffee table.
  • Make sure your child uses a mouth guard for sports such as in-line skating, bike riding, soccer, basketball, football and scooters.

It’s never too late to start caring for your child’s teeth. Regular dental visits and preventative care can help your child to have a healthy smile for a lifetime!

Writer: Heather Reister, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

Sources:

All about fluoride: Updated clinical report covers caries prevention in primary care, November 2020, American Academy of Pediatrics, https://publications.aap.org/aapnews/news/7429/All-about-fluoride-Updated-clinical-report-covers

Children’s Oral Health, April 2022, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/childrens-oral-health/index.html

Keeping Your Child’s Teeth Healthy, June 2018, Nemours KidsHealth, https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/healthy.html?ref=search

Why is Dental Health Important?, July 2021, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, https://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/d/dental-health

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