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Pediatric Oral Health & Hygiene

Did you know that a child’s oral health is an integral part of his or her overall well-being? Common dental issues in children include tooth decay, early gum disease and thumb sucking. Tooth decay is even linked to poor performance and grade point average in school. As a parent or guardian, it is vital to set healthy standards. By establishing proper oral hygiene routines for your children, you can give them the best chance at keeping their teeth healthy for life.

Good oral hygiene can start as early as infancy. You can gently wipe a baby’s teeth and gums with a wet cloth after each feeding to limit contact with sugars from formula, milk and fruit juices. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars, which can cause tooth decay. Avoid putting babies to bed with a bottle filled with milk or juice.

Older children may develop tooth decay from consuming too many sugary snacks and drinks. Consider substituting other drinks with water and avoid giving your child too many sweets. Additionally, you can consult with your dentist about fluoride treatments, which support healthy tooth enamel.

Gingivitis, or gum disease, is caused by plaque accumulation. Symptoms include bleeding, swollen or puffy gums. Early gum disease is fairly common in children, but fortunately, improved brushing and regular cleanings by your dentist can solve the problem. Consider making teeth brushing fun by letting your children choose their favorite toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste flavor.

Establishing a proper, dental hygiene regimen ensures that your child’s teeth stay healthy and free of decay. To learn more about pediatric oral health, see the accompanying infographic.

Author bio: Teresa Tuttle is Marketing Director for Grove Dental Associates, a multi-specialty group dental practice in Chicago’s western suburbs. With more than 30 doctors and 50 years of practice experience, Grove Dental’s offices stay on the cutting edge of dentistry to better serve patients.