February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. To observe this important event, we’d like to offer the following tips from a dentist in North Central San Antonio. Use this information to make smart decisions for your family’s well-being, both now and throughout the year.
The Link between Healthy Teeth and Healthy Kids
Childhood should be a time of learning, fun, and exploration. For too many children, however, it’s also a time for cavities and toothaches. Here are some of the dental issues that kids are likely to face:
- Persistent pain or discomfort caused by poor diet or lack of dental hygiene.
- Added risk for dental infections or abscesses.
- Nutritional deficiencies, partly as a result of being unable to chew food.
- Smile-related emotional challenges such as depression, worry, and reduced self-esteem.
The good news is that most of these problems can be prevented by following basic tips like these:
- Brushing teeth after every meal. Like adults, kids should use a soft bristle toothbrush and a toothpaste with the ADA seal of acceptance on the packaging. Unsure of which brand to choose? Ask your dentist to recommend a choice for younger people.
- Flossing at least once per day. Floss strings come in a variety of widths and with wax coatings for comfort. You’ll even find brands enhanced with yummy sugar-free flavorings.
- Limiting sugar consumption. Sweets are fine as occasional treats. But over-indulging can set children up for a lifetime of cavities. Encourage your kids to enjoy fresh fruit or sugar-free versions of their favorite snacks.
- Drink plenty of water. Tap water is better for teeth and gums, since it contains added fluoride.
- Eat plenty of healthy foods. Lean protein, reduced fat dairy products, whole grains, and raw fruits and vegetables are all good choices.
Diligent self-care is essential for sound teeth and gums. But, by itself, it’s only half the equation. It’s also important for your children to visit the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. Here’s how to help them get the most benefit from their dental appointments.
How to Make Your Child’s Dental Care a Positive Experience for All
It’s only natural for children to experience a little trepidation when it comes to seeing the dentist. Here’s some ideas for easing their concerns:
- Never belittle your child for their anxieties. Instead, act as a caring, empathetic supporter of their health and well-being.
- Bring your child to the office ahead of time to meet the dentist and staff. Being familiar with the environment will go a long way to reassuring them.
- Reward your child afterward. For example, you may promise them a trip to the zoo, a movie, or a favorite sugar-free treat in exchange for being on their best behavior during the appointment.
- Choose a family dentist. Knowing that you’ve chosen a professional with the skills to treat all of your loved ones will give both you and your kids valuable peace of mind.
National Children’s Dental Health Month is the perfect time for your family to focus on tooth care. The seeds you plant now will turn into a harvest of healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime.
About the Author
Dr. Joseph Sage is not only a skilled dentist, he’s also a husband and father. With a DDS degree from the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry, Dr. Sage has the knowledge and expertise needed to treat all members of your family. You can reach his office online or by calling (210) 361-8905.