Parental knowledge critical for children’s dental health

The lack of reliable knowledge of a child’s dental health is a large part of the crisis that poor oral health in children has become. A research study on the state of the dental health of 3-year-old children in the UK shows that 10.7 per cent suffer from dental decay (with at least 3 teeth affected).

Much of the problem has to do with outdated and erroneous beliefs parents have about children’s dental health and how to care for teeth. Some of the areas of dental care in which parents fall short of, are: not knowing when exactly a child’s first visit to the dentist Navan should be, how milk teeth should be looked after and the importance of a tooth-friendly diet. Aside from the pain and discomfort linked to dental decay, other adverse consequences that impact a child’s quality of life include:

  • Difficulty eating
  • Difficulty talking
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Absence from school

Tips to help parents take better care of their child’s oral health

Dental visits

At the top of the list is knowing when a child’s first dental appointment should be. Many parents are surprised to learn that this important appointment should take place as early as the appearance of the child’s first tooth or when he or she turns a year old as advised by The Oral Health Foundation. The purpose of the appointment is to ensure that all is well and there are no worrying symptoms that threaten the development of teeth and jawbone.

Supervised hygiene routine

As important as it is for adults to brush their teeth twice a day, so too is brushing mandatory for children. Milk teeth being more vulnerable than adult teeth are also at the mercy of bad bacteria and plaque. And, like adult teeth, brushing can be instrumental in keeping a check on the formation of cavities.

Teeth brushing must be carried out with a parent or childminder present. This ensures that the child meets all the requirements for adequate brushing: using a child-appropriate toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste and brushing for a minimum of two minutes. To avoid the stress some parents find this routine to be, they can inject a bit of fun into the routine like making it a game, offering incentives or turning the process into a song and dance. 

Cutbacks on sugar

There are two main concerns when it comes to a pro-dental diet. The first is to lower the amount of daily sugar consumption and the second is to reduce the frequency of sweet treats (including sugar-laden beverages) that a child consumes. The more the teeth are exposed to high levels of sugars and acids, the greater the risk of cavities.

Implemented at an early age, an established oral care routine at home can set one up for life with a healthy smile. Children with better oral health are more likely to enjoy their well-being and confidence in all spheres of their lives. As the mouth is a part of the body, oral health should be as much a priority as that of other parts of the body.