If you want to spare your child the pain and hassle of getting dental treatments such as fillings and root canals, it's important to take steps to keep their teeth and gums healthy. Here are three ways to do this:
Don't placate them with fruit juice
A lot of parents give their young children bottles of fruit juice when putting them down for a nap, or when they're irritable and are about to throw a temper tantrum. In these scenarios, a sweet drink can be an effective tool with which to distract and soothe an overtired or cranky little one.
However, in the long-run, this habit could do a substantial amount of damage to your child's teeth. Whilst fruit juice does contain some nutrients, it is also packed full of natural sugar that microbial plaque can use to produce harmful acids that erode tooth enamel. When the enamel is worn away, the teeth become much more susceptible to decay and cavities.
As such, if you have gotten into the habit of placating your child with bottles of fruit juice, it's important to replace this habit with one which will not affect their dental health. Instead of giving them a drink when they get cranky or tired, you might want to offer them their favourite stuffed toy, read them a story, or let them play a game on your smartphone or e-tablet.
Have their molars sealed
Molars are more susceptible to decay than other teeth. This is due to the fact that they are covered in numerous tiny grooves; because these grooves are so small, it can be very hard to extract decay-causing food particles and plaque from them with a toothbrush.
If you are concerned about the possibility of your child developing cavities in their molars, it might be worth asking your dentist about fitting sealants during your next trip to the dental clinic. Sealants are placed along the tops of the molars and act as a protective barrier which stops plaque and food debris from falling into the tooth's grooves. They are made from a non-toxic plastic and can last for several years before they need to be replaced.
Observe and correct their brushing technique
The manner in which your child brushes their teeth could have a significant impact on their long-term oral health. Overly aggressive brushing can lead to receding gums and enamel erosion, whilst careless brushing (i.e. when a child fails to thoroughly clean the entire surface of each tooth) may result in tooth decay and gum inflammation.
As such, it's a good idea to observe and, where necessary, correct their tooth-brushing technique. Make sure that they are only using a small amount of pressure and that they are brushing both the exterior and interior surface of every tooth. If they are naturally quite heavy-handed and you're concerned that their overly vigorous brushing might do damage, it may be worth purchasing a toothbrush with extra-soft bristles, to limit the amount of erosion that their technique will cause.
Contact a dental clinic in your area for more information and assistance.