As parents, we want what’s best for our kids. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in making sure they are in the right schools and participating in the right activities that we may neglect their oral health, but cavities aren’t that big of a deal, right? Actually, it has recently been discovered that tooth decay can do more than damage young teeth—it can actually stunt their growth.
A study conducted on children aged 6 to 8 in Saudi Arabia discovered that there was a direct link between poor oral health and height deficiencies. Children with a greater number of cavities were significantly shorter than children who didn’t. Even when other factors such as economic status and social values were added, the link still existed between numerous cavities and stunted growth. In addition, children with excessive tooth decay our at a higher risk for gum disease and need to be evaluated by a pediatric periodontist.
Your child is never too young to have a good oral hygiene routine at home. Even before any baby teeth have erupted, it is a good idea to get in the habit of wiping your baby’s gums with a soft wet cloth each time they take a bath. Once their teeth start coming in, you can begin using a small toothbrush with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush twice a day. Once teeth begin to touch each other, you should add flossing to this routine also.
Once your children are old enough to brush their own teeth, usually around 6 years old, it is important to verify that they are not only doing it properly but also often enough. Never assume it’s not that important since their baby teeth are going to fall out anyway. Good oral hygiene now protects their adult smile and sets up their brushing habits for the rest of their life.
In addition to a daily routine at home, it is important that all of the members of your family schedule regular dental exams that include professional cleanings. If it’s been awhile since your teeth have seen a dentist or you suspect your child’s smile needs to be evaluated by a pediatric periodontist, it’s time to schedule an appointment with Anthem Periodontics and Dental Implants right away for a comprehensive oral health exam.