We’ve been seeing a lot of kids at the office lately. The time when school starts back in the fall tends to be full of kids at the dental office. Everyone’s coming back from vacation, getting their ducklings in a row and ready for school to start back, and trying to take care of those necessary appointments before too may classes are missed. We love seeing our little friends grow and we enjoy hearing about their exciting summers and new teachers. We get to take the time to remind kids how they should be taking care of their smiles. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a lot of kids with cavities lately, which is what we’d like to prevent. We always talk to the kids about what they need to be doing so they don’t get more cavities, but instead of getting frustrated with the kids we really need to be talking to the parents.
These tips brought to you by Chattanooga Dental Studio.
That’s right. Listen up, Mom and Dad. We love your kids and we want them to be as healthy as possible, but we only get to see them about twice a year…maybe a time or two more if they need to have some cavities filled. That’s not very much. You, however, are with them every day. So, here are five very important things for you to know about your child’s oral healthcare.
- Getting cavities is not “normal.” Getting cavities is not something that is just part of being a kid! Most people drink fluoridated water which is a great preventative measure to remaining cavity-free. A healthy diet and learning good habits added to that prevents tooth decay. Most of the time, when kids get cavities it’s because of poor diets often the “sweet tooth” or inadequate hygiene. Clean teeth don’t get cavities.
- Even healthy snacks can cause tooth decay. We don’t disagree with giving your kids granola bars or dried fruit over candy, but even those healthier options can still cause cavities. Cavities aren’t just from eating too much sugar. Foods that stick to your teeth feed the germs that cause cavities, and saliva doesn’t easily wash away those sticky snacks. If you’re going let your kids have those snacks occasionally that’s okay, but always try to reinforce brushing after snacks or at least rinsing with water—also, water is ALWAYS the best choice over juices, sports drinks, or sodas.
- If your kid develops cavities, they are more likely to have cavities as adults. Parents are the role models. If you accept cavities as the standard, then why should your child be bothered by them? Do not let tooth decay be acceptable in your house.
- Each cavity will cost more than $2000 over a lifetime. Setting good habits early and making those habits a priority will pay off HUGE dividends in the future. With 20 baby teeth and 32 permanent teeth, taking care of your teeth and gums is a great investment!
- You should brush your kids’ teeth until they can tie their shoes. You should supervise them even after that. Kids don’t have the manual dexterity to brush their own teeth until they can tie their shoes without struggling, but even after that, they need help to make sure they are doing a thorough job. Once your boys start caring about the cute girls in class they tend to do a better job with personal hygiene, but there are some iffy periods before then. Not that we’re picking on the boy moms, girls need just as much help as the boys do! We see plenty of 15-year-olds (and adults for that matter) who cannot or simply will not clean their teeth as well as they should. Should we expect a 7-year old to do any better? The difference is your responsibility as a parent to take care of the 7-year old.
Our kids rely on us as parents for making sure they are taken care of. With more than 50 million school hours lost each year due to tooth pain, keeping their teeth healthy is a very important part of their success. Regular dental visits help maintain their healthy smiles, but a huge part of the equation is what happens at home. Your child’s diet and oral hygiene are choices you make as a parent every day. Stay diligent parents–your kids are counting on you!
If you have any questions about your or your child’s dental health or you are looking for a dental home, feel free to give us a call at 423-899-9530. We are happy to help in any way.