By Vishant Nath DMD
You may think that your child’s oral health depends mainly on how they take care of their teeth. However, a parent’s oral hygiene can have a great effect on a child’s oral hygiene. There are several things that can contribute to this effect. This article will explain how important it is to take great care of your teeth, at any age.
The first contributing factor to a child’s oral health is the oral health of the mother. Even before birth, an expectant mother’s oral hygiene can have a big impact on her unborn child. Aside from affecting her unborn child’s oral health, things such as periodontal disease can actually increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. So it’s important for pregnant women to not ignore their oral health care during their pregnancy. In addition, mothers with poor oral health can be at a greater risk of passing along to their child the bacteria which causes cavities.
In the first several years of life, it’s solely the parents’ responsibility to make sure that their child’s gums and teeth are cleaned and cared for. This includes wiping the gums and teeth before putting an infant to bed with a clean, wet cloth. Avoiding putting an infant to bed with a bottle of milk or formula will go a long way to preventing what’s known as baby bottle tooth decay, or decay to the primary teeth. If a bottle must be used to put a child to sleep, water should be the only thing given.
As a child grows older and more independent, there are a number of responses to tooth brushing. Some children insist on doing it only by themselves, while others may refuse to even allow a toothbrush near their mouth. In either case, the parents must make sure that the brushing and flossing are done correctly and consistently.
From a very young age, children learn by watching and observing. This is the part where a parent’s oral hygiene can have a great impact on a child. Practice what you preach. Make sure that you are taking great care of your teeth and gums. Always brush and floss every morning and at night before going to bed. And let your child see you doing this! This can have a greater impact on your child than you telling them they must brush and floss regularly. Make it a daily habit for yourself and watch to see what leading by example can do for your child.