You’ll do anything to protect your child and keep them healthy. No parent wants to make emergency room visits, especially with a young child. Unfortunately, these visits are increasingly common for a myriad of reasons. Some of these aren’t preventable – yet many others can easily be stopped if you make the right health choices for your child.
For example, did you know that 52% of children under the age of 4 first come into contact with dentists in the ER? That’s a shockingly high number, showing that tooth decay and oral health problems are incredibly common among kids. Thousands of children are in hospitals up and down the country because of tooth decay and it is so preventable!
Without wanting to sound too harsh, parents are the problem. Kids eat what you give them – so it’s on us to ensure they’re not damaging their poor little teeth. Dental problems when you’re young can so easily lead to a lifetime of oral health concerns. Set your children down the right path with great oral hygiene habits – and you’ll see a few straightforward tips below.
Take regular trips to the dentist
Your child should have their first trip to the dentist within 6 months of their tooth coming in. So, if yours is beyond this point and still hasn’t seen a pediatric dentist, you need to get a move on! Regular trips every 6 to 12 months will be needed from thereon out. This helps the dentist check your child’s teeth and ensure everything is perfect.
It’s the only way to spot the early warning signs of issues like decay or something worse. Also, for teething kids, it helps to see if all their teeth are coming through okay. If you’re seeing a dentist at least once a year, there should be no need for your kids to ever go to the ER for oral health issues.
Teach your child how to brush their teeth
Before they can do this themselves, you should do it for them. Brush your baby’s teeth with a soft baby toothbrush the moment you see them start to emerge. When they’re old enough to hold a toothbrush and move it around, you should teach them what to do.
Installing this habit in your child from a young age will ensure they never forget to brush their teeth as they grow up. Also, spending time with them every morning and night as you teach them how to brush is a great excuse to bond. Make sure they know to brush for 2 minutes, twice a day, preferably once before bedtime.
Avoid giving them too much sugar
Generally, sugar and kids don’t mix! It makes them very hyper, but from an oral health perspective, it also leads to tooth decay. Most children in the ER with dental issues are only there because they eat too much sugar.
Do away with the sugary treats and snacks, so your child learns to look after their teeth. Avoid sugary drinks as well – soda and fruit juices should be treats; give your kids water, squash, or milk instead.
Following these three steps will help you protect your child from one of the leading causes of hospitalizations in the US. Don’t let their first interaction with a dentist be in the emergency room!