It’s an unfortunate fact, but Indiana simply isn’t known for its citizen’s great health. That problem often affects the most vulnerable in our population: the children. Recent studies of childhood dental health in Indiana have brought some startling numbers to our attention: over 50 percent of children in Indiana have cavities, and one third of the young population isn’t seeing the dentist as often as they should.
While we specialize in treating older patients with tooth replacement needs at New Albany Implants, we still want the younger people in our population to be healthy and happy. If you’re a parent you’re probably willing to do almost anything to give your child a healthy start in life, and today we’re going to help you by sharing some oral health tips for young patients.
How Cavities Form
Everyone’s mouth contains oral bacteria, and some of the strains are dangerous to your oral health. Those ones metabolize sugar in the foods you and your children eat, and the byproduct is what causes so much harm: acid. The acids produced by oral plaque bacteria erode the protective enamel on the surface of your teeth, eventually cutting deeper and deeper until a cavity forms.
Cavities become serious when it’s impossible to clean inside them. As they eat further into the tooth they can get incredibly large, and in many cases you won’t even realize it. Tiny dark pinholes on the surfaces of teeth can give way to massive pockets of decay that are practically invisible until suddenly they’re causing intense pain.
Why Cavities In Baby Teeth Are Serious
A lot of people assume that their child’s baby teeth aren’t that important – after all, they’re just going to fall out. But those baby teeth play an essential role for the permanent ones that come after them. They hold the space for the new tooth, keep your mouth properly aligned for later growth, and they have a significant effect on oral health later in life.
When a baby tooth is decayed it can fall out prematurely, and when that happens you end up with a serious dental emergency: the space that’s being held for that permanent tooth can completely vanish! When it tries to erupt the result can be pain for your child, crooked teeth, and other teeth being shoved out of the way too. To put it plain and simple, baby teeth need to be healthy!
Early Cavities In Permanent Teeth Are The Start Of Chronic Problems
Children, as we all know, don’t practice the best oral health habits without prompting. Once those adult teeth start coming in there’s a whole other realm of potential problems waiting to happen, and if they do it can lead to a fight against cavities and gum disease that lasts for life.
Children who have cavities at a young age, whether in baby or adult teeth, are far more likely to suffer from gum disease and cavities as they age. They’re also more likely to consider dental care as unimportant, which unfortunately only leads to more problems. Adults who don’t see the dentist every six months end up spending far more on their dental care because they have to treat serious problems instead of preventing them from ever occurring!
How To Keep Your Child’s Mouth Healthy
Oral care for children starts as soon as they’re born. Even before they have a single tooth you need to be wiping their gums off with your finger or a washcloth. This gets them used to having something in their mouths, and establishes oral care as a regular routine.
As soon as they get their first tooth you need to have them seen by a pediatric dentist. Early exams can help make their growth go more smoothly, and in many cases can prevent problems from ever happening. Make sure you add a toothbrush to their oral care routine, which you’ll need to continue to do for them.
Try to avoid giving them sugary drinks, like formula, milk, and juice, between meals. Too much sugar greatly increases the chance they’ll have cavities, and bottles can be especially destructive because of the concentrated flow of liquid.
Don’t Even Wait That Long
If you’re starting to plan a family you should also plan for regular dental care. Expectant mothers with poor oral health can pass bacteria on to the children, and also have higher rates of premature and underweight births. Making good decisions now could keep your child’s mouth healthy and help all of us in Indiana to prioritize good health from the earliest possible age!