I had so many questions as a new mother—from how to keep the baby comfortable while feeding and putting it to sleep. Last on my mind was the baby’s oral health, since she didn’t have any teeth! For her first solid foods we gave our toddler vegetables and not sweets. So when we brought our 4 year old to to her first dentist appointment, we may have waited too long. The dentist told us she had 7 cavities!
What did we miss with her oral health already by the age of 4?
What are the most important things for early oral health? I’ve since spent time with professionals in the oral care community. Here’s what matters most for kids:
1) Brush teeth twice a day with flouride toothpaste as soon as they are able to spit it out.
2) Get sealants. Maybe you already know about them. If so, good! Sealants are so effective at cavity prevention that most insurances cover them completely. 50% of kids get medical insurance from CHIP and medicare. But only 30% of of these kids who do go to the dentist get sealants. Why aren’t dentists automatically giving sealants when they are such a help preventing cavities? There is no down side to them.
3. If your child does not drink floridated water, then a regular flouride treatment at the dentist once a year.
Next, I’ll be publishing 10 lessons on Caring for Kids Oral Health so you can learn from our mistakes. Here’s to healthy teeth, beautiful smiles, relieved parents!