What Steps Should I Take Now That My Child Has All Their Adult Teeth?
Good dental health during a child's developing years can yield benefits for life.
It is important to take care of your kid's teeth at every age. But, when your child's permanent adult teeth come in, keeping them clean and healthy becomes an even higher priority.
Your Child's Permanent Teeth
Children have 20 primary teeth (also known as baby teeth) that they start losing at around age six. By the time your child is about 12, he or she will most likely have lost his or her last primary molars, which are replaced by permanent adult teeth. Get your child off to a good start by ensuring that your child has regular dental care and good dental habits at home.
Encouraging Good Dental Hygiene Habits
The examples that you set for your child will last a lifetime. Good oral care starts at home with all of the following:
- Remind your child to brush morning, night, and between meals.
- Teach your child how to floss and make sure that he or she flosses daily. If he or she has trouble using regular floss, try using flossers instead.
- Provide healthy snacks that are low in sugar. Carrots, celery sticks, apples, and cheese are all good tooth-healthy choices.
- Remind your child not to engage in habits that can damage teeth, such as biting hard candies or chewing on ice.
- Instead of sugary sodas, offer water or milk. In addition to excess sugar, sodas contain acids that can damage enamel.
- Instead of sugar-sweetened gum, look for gum sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol can protect against cavities, while sugar promotes them.
- Make sure your child is using the right toothbrush. Children's brushes have softer bristles. These ensure that your child's enamel is not damaged.
When to See the Dentist
Your child should continue to have two dental check-ups each year. At these appointments, your child will get regular cleanings and exams to ensure that problems like cavities or gum disease are not brewing. Your dentist or hygienist may recommend periodic x-rays to detect tooth decay. If you or your child finds a possible cavity in between check-ups, make an appointment to see the dentist as soon as possible. The earlier problems are detected, the easier it is to fully repair any damage.
Good habits start early. A diet low in fat and sugar, good daily dental hygiene, and regular check-ups can help your child develop a healthy mouth that will contribute to his wellness for a lifetime. Is your child due for a check-up? Make your appointment today.