A Comprehensive Dental Care Guide For The Whole Family

231

As a parent, you want your children to smile as beautifully and confidently as possible, but how will you do that? The answer is simple: encourage your youngling to have healthy teeth by practicing good oral hygiene.

Good oral hygiene not only protects the teeth of your family but also improves their overall wellbeing. There are other diseases and conditions linked to poor oral health, such as:

  • Endocarditis: This is an infection in the endocardium due to the bacteria that come from the mouth and other body parts.
  • Respiratory Diseases: Certain mouth pathogens may spread through your lungs, causing respiratory diseases like pneumonia.
  • Cardiovascular Disease: Sometimes, heart disease can be caused by mouth pathogens that can clog the arteries.
  • Birth Complications: Advanced gum disease or periodontitis may increase the likelihood of premature birth.

These are reasons why it’s important for the whole family to practice good oral and dental care, especially for children with frail immune systems compared to adults. Finding a dentist is the first step to healthy oral hygiene.

Dentists can help your family build healthy oral hygiene to achieve a beautiful smile and maintain a healthy body. If you want to know more about family dental care, this post may help.

Why Is Dental Care Important For The Whole Family

The main goal of family dental care is to keep the teeth of the family as healthy as possible by preventing plaque buildup, gum disease, and tooth decay (cavities). Beyond that, here are other reasons why family dental care is important:

  • Dental Care Affects Overall Health

Your mouth is one of the doorways bacteria and other germs use to infiltrate your body and cause various health conditions. These include cancer, sepsis, low birth weight, endocarditis, respiratory health problems, and pregnancy problems.

If you keep your mouth and teeth clean, your and your family can reduce the risks of developing health complications. Also, it’d be best to visit your dentist as regularly as possible (every six months) to ensure a healthy mouth and appropriate oral hygiene.

  • Dental Care May Help Detect Oral Diseases Early On

Visiting a family dentist regularly is a part of good dental care. Dentists examine mouth and teeth to detect oral diseases and other health complications caused by poor oral health as early as possible. Not doing so may worsen the condition, leading to bigger problems.

  • Dental Care Helps Prevent Tooth Loss

Tooth loss is a common occurrence in most children and adults. It’s often the result of poor oral hygiene, which promotes plaque formation. Plaque buildup may lead to gum diseases and tooth decay, increasing the likelihood of getting teeth being broken and extracted.

Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly is an effective way to prevent and reduce plaque buildup. However, this isn’t enough to ensure proper oral health. It’s best to visit your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleaning to ensure that all mouth areas are clean.

  • Dental Care Helps Families Have A Brighter Smile

Practicing good oral hygiene can help your family have a whiter set of teeth for a brighter and more confident smile. If your teeth aren’t as white as you want, visit your dentist for whitening treatments or professional cleaning. Once done, focus on keeping your mouth clean by brushing and flossing at least twice daily.

Dental Care For Infants And Toddlers

Keeping your baby’s mouth clean and healthy is crucial in their growth and development. Here’s why:

  • A healthy mouth allows infants and toddlers to process food properly;
  • A healthy mouth helps build children’s facial structure;
  • A healthy mouth helps children speak clearly;
  • A healthy mouth provides enough space for permanent teeth to develop; and so on.

Now that you understand why dental care is essential in infants and toddlers, it’s time to learn how to take care of their teeth.

Brushing is an effective way to keep the teeth and mouths of infants and toddlers as clean as possible. Dentists strongly recommend brushing your child’s teeth at least twice daily—in the morning and evening—to promote healthier and stronger teeth.

Nonetheless, brushing the teeth of an infant or toddler can be difficult since their teeth aren’t fully developed yet. If that’s the case, here’s how you can brush your child’s teeth properly:

  • For children aged two and below, dentists recommend applying a small amount of toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) when toothbrushing.
  • When there’s no tooth to clean yet, use a soft cotton cloth to wipe your child’s gums as gently as possible. Also, make sure the cloth is dampened with water.
  • Once your child’s teeth have emerged, it’s time to use a toothbrush. But make sure to look for one with softer bristles so as not to hurt their sensitive gums.
  • When toothbrushing little ones, keep the position of the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. This ensures that all parts of their mouth will be brushed thoroughly.
  • Start moving the toothbrush in a circular motion. Don’t brush in a back-and-forth manner to prevent damaging their teeth and gums.
  • Make sure to brush all the inner and outer areas of the teeth.
  • Do this for at least two minutes or until you’ve brushed their teeth properly. And don’t forget to scrub their tongue gently to get rid of all food particles.

Once your child has reached three years old, add more toothpaste until it becomes pea-sized. Plus, teach them how to spit, although leaving a small amount of toothpaste in their tiny mouth is nothing to worry about.

In addition, children should already know how to brush their teeth at the age of three. Yet you’d still need to watch them to ensure they’re brushing their teeth properly. And if their toothbrush starts to wear down, dispose of it and buy a new one right away. Otherwise, your child may not be able to clean their teeth and mouth and damage their gums properly.

Do Children Need To Use Floss

Floss is a thin strand of filaments used to remove food particles stuck between teeth (areas toothbrush can’t reach). With this, you can prevent plaque formation, which can lead to tooth decay and, eventually, tooth loss.

Dentists recommend flossing children as soon as their teeth start to come out side by side. This is important since your child’s gums are weak and prone to damage. By flossing their teeth, you can ensure that no dirt will be left behind in your tiny one’s little pearls.

Nonetheless, encouraging your child to floss daily can be a problem, considering their short attention span. In that case, consider using rewards to encourage them. For example, you may buy them toys or treats for a job well done.

Dental Care For Kindergarteners

Most milk teeth, or baby teeth, emerge once a child turns three. When they reach four, their facial structure will be more developed, leading to gaps and spaces between teeth. These gaps are where permanent teeth will come out.

At the age of four, children should already know the process of spitting toothpaste after toothbrushing. Now, it’s time to teach them how to use mouthwash, but make sure it is alcohol-free to preserve the good microorganisms that thrive in the mouth.

Here are some dental care tips for kindergarteners you need to know:

  • Look for an alcohol-free fluoride mouthwash made with gentle ingredients that are good for kids.
  • Before allowing your child to use a mouthwash, make sure to read the label for further instructions. That’s because some are used once daily, while others can be twice daily, depending on the manufacturer.
  • Keep the mouthwash in places kids can’t easily reach. Children may drink anything that catches the attention of their curious little eyes.
  • When your child uses mouthwash, watch them closely to ensure they spit it out after gargling.
  • Let your child gargle the mouthwash for at least one minute. Then, let them spit it out after.
  • Prevent your child from eating anything at least 30 minutes after they use a mouthwash.

In addition, your child is old enough to visit a dentist and sit in the dentist’s chair alone. All you need to do is sit in the lobby and wait for your child to complete their dental appointments.

Furthermore, don’t forget to remind your kids to brush their teeth twice daily (morning and evening) and floss them after eating. And lastly, observe them to ensure they’re cleaning their teeth and mouth properly.

Dental Care For Elementary Children

A child is considered elementary when they reach six years old. At this age, their baby teeth will begin to fall out one by one for permanent ones. The first ones will be the incisors (the four front teeth) followed by the pre-molars down to the molars (innermost set of teeth).

Here are some tips for managing the discomfort your child may experience when losing a tooth:

  • Create a saltwater solution by adding a pinch of salt to a glass of warm water. Mix the solution until all the salt crystals are completely dissolved. Then, let your kids rinse their mouths with a saltwater solution to help their gums heal.
  • If your child’s gums are bleeding, apply a gauze pad to the affected socket to promote blood clotting and faster healing.
  • Ask your child to avoid spitting or using straws, as these can induce bleeding and delay the healing process.
  • When the bleeding stops, apply a cold compress to the affected socket to relieve pain, discomfort, and swelling.

When your child reaches 12, most baby teeth have been replaced by permanent ones. This may sound a bit early, but it’d be best to schedule your child’s first orthodontic evaluation. With this, you can determine underlying issues that may worsen when left untreated.

If there are dental concerns found, make sure your child receives the right dental treatment as soon as possible. There’s nothing to worry about because the dentist will ensure only the best care your child deserves.

Dental Care For Middle Schoolers And Beyond

Children aged 13 years old and above are considered middle schoolers. At this age, you should congratulate them as their teeth have become permanent.

In addition, you’ll need to schedule them for regular dental visits and orthodontic assessments, especially if their teeth aren’t aligned properly. If that’s the case, your child’s dentist or orthodontist may recommend the following cosmetic dental procedures, such as:

  • Traditional braces;
  • Clear aligners;
  • Clear retainers;
  • Rubber bands and other elastics;
  • Archwires; and others.

When your child turns 18, the last set of molars will emerge: the wisdom tooth or the third molar. Usually, wisdom teeth don’t emerge properly, resulting in an awkward position and getting stuck between gaps and second molars. This condition is called impacted wisdom teeth.

Impacted wisdom teeth can be extremely painful to the point of having problems performing day-to-day tasks. Here are some remedies you can do at home to ease the pain and discomfort brought by impacted wisdom tooth:

  • Use a cold compress to reduce the pain and swelling of the wisdom tooth.
  • Gargle with a saltwater solution to kill off bacteria that may infect broken gums.
  • Chew onions to reduce inflammation and spit it out.

But home remedies can only reduce pain to an extent. It’d be best to visit a dentist and have the impacted wisdom tooth removed. This is the best way to deal with the problem.

What Are Some Dental Care Tips You Can Follow

Below are some dental care tips for a healthier set of teeth for the whole family:

  • Don’t go to bed without brushing and flossing your teeth.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and drink fluoridated water.
  • Brush twice daily.
  • Avoid smoking. If you do, it’s time to quit it.
  • Drink moderately.
  • Limit the intake of sugary and acidic foods to prevent tooth decay.
  • Avoid medications that may cause dry mouth. If you’re currently taking some, ask your doctor to replace them.
  • If there are sudden changes regarding your sense of smell and taste, visit your doctor or dentist immediately.
  • Don’t forget to brush your tongue.

Follow these simple dental care tips to help reduce plaque buildup and minimize the chances of tooth loss.

Final Words

Practicing good dental care is crucial to the overall health of the family. It keeps harmful microorganisms away and reduces the chances of developing health complications and conditions, such as respiratory problems. If you need help with your teeth and mouth, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist for healthy teeth and mouth.