Dental problems such as bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay are very common in adults and children. Many dental procedures can be used to solve these problems but as with most health issues, the best way to deal with them is through prevention. Dental problems can be avoided by practicing good dental hygiene, especially if it the practice begins in early childhood. Dental experts recommend the regular cleaning of a baby's gums and tongue even before teeth start to grow. This dental health practice helps prevent the growth of bacteria in the mouth, which can cause all sorts of oral health problems.
As soon as your child is capable of brushing his own teeth, he should do so after every meal. It is best if you buy your child a soft-bristled toothbrush that is made for young gums and teeth. During the first few weeks or months, you will need to supervise your child during brushing to ensure he is properly cleaning his teeth. Eventually, your child will develop the habit and will be more than capable of brushing on his own.
You also need to teach your child the proper way of flossing as early as possible. This dental health practice can save your child's teeth from decay and tartar buildup. However, it may be some time before your child will be able to floss on his own so you should do this for him while his hands are not yet dexterous enough.
An important dental health habit that parents should instill in their children is to visit the dentist regularly. Ideally, children (and adults) should see a dentist twice a year for a routine cleaning and checkup. These visits will reveal any cavities or gum problems while they are still in the early stages.
Many children exhibit a fear of going to the dentist. But contrary to what a lot of parents think, this fear is actually acquired or developed and does not occur naturally in children They may have had negative experiences with the dentist before, or they may have seen their parents manifesting the same kind of fear. That is usually why children fear the dentist even before they have entered the dentist's office for the first time.
If your child is to develop proper dental health habits, you need to teach him that dentists are not to be feared; dentists are simply there to help take care of his teeth. Before each dental appointment, casually discuss with your child what is going to happen during the checkup so he has an idea of what to expect.
Unless there is a need for a tooth extraction or a dental filling, a regular dental visit consists only of professional cleaning, x-rays and a routine checkup that will reveal any problems before they get any worse. The cleaning, x-rays and the checkup are completely painless and should not be traumatic at all for a young child.
A child who develops proper dental hygiene while he is still very young is more likely to keep dental health habits all the way into adulthood. He will also have stronger and healthier teeth and gums, and will be less likely to suffer from common oral problems such as tooth decay, gingivitis, and bad breath.