Enjoying Better Dental Checkups

4 Things Your Dentist Wishes You Knew About Kids' Teeth

If you're a parent you no doubt worry about every aspect of your child's health. From their head to their toes, you want them to be completely healthy and happy. Parents often make a few mistakes when it comes to their children's teeth, and your child's dentist probably wishes you knew a little more about how to take great care of your kiddo's dental health. Read on, and you'll get some good ideas to implement right away.

Kids Need Dental Care Early

You might not think that pearly little nub of a tooth needs any special care, but it does. Actually, it needed care before it even emerged. Many dentists recommend wiping a baby's gums clean a couple times per day to keep bacteria from proliferating and to get them used to having you mess around in their mouth. They are less likely to fight you when you try to brush their teeth later on.  The American Dental Association recommends children have their first checkup performed by a dentist long before many parents think they should. Kids need to start seeing a dentist by the time they are 1 year old, or 6 months after their first tooth emerges, whichever comes first. Don't wait until you notice dental problems to start searching for a good dentist.

Kids Have Half the Enamel of Adults

The first teeth children develop were never meant to last a lifetime. They are smaller, and they have half the protective enamel that adult teeth have. That means that cavities become serious more quickly in a child's tooth than an adult's. Enamel is the coating on the outside of teeth that keeps bacteria from eating away at the sensitive pulp. When a cavity breaks its way through the enamel it can cause toothaches and infection. With half the enamel it is twice as important that children have great oral hygiene.

Some Kids Need To Be Referred for Orthodontic Care

The need for orthodontics is most often recognized by a general practice dentist. Many oral problems that can cause such difficulties as increased tooth decay, speech problems and uneven wear on tooth surfaces, can be corrected with braces and other orthodontic devices. Much of the time, problems like these that are caught early can be corrected without invasive procedures like pulling teeth, or having to wear braces for years. You won't know that your child needs such dental care unless you take them in for a checkup, though, which is one more reason to make sure you're scheduling those appointments regularly throughout your child's life.

Diet Matters

Many people hear the term "acid erosion" as it refers to dental health and automatically assume that acidic foods are to blame. They avoid foods like oranges and tomatoes because they think they're bad for their teeth, but the real culprit in acid erosion is carbohydrates, especially simple carbs like sugar and white flour. These create a feast for the bacteria that cause cavities. For all children, reducing the amount of simple carbohydrates in their diet is important for dental health. For babies it's important to know that breast milk contains chemicals known to protect teeth, but after solid foods are introduced the bacteria in the mouth change. When a baby starts eating solid foods the sugars in breast milk begin to feed the bacteria and create tooth decay, so it's time to be especially diligent about your baby's teeth after they start eating big people food.

Taking care of your child's teeth is an important part of being a parent. Now that you know a little more about what that means you can do an even better job.

Visit a local pediatric dentist for more information and to get your child's teeth checked out.