Taking great care of your child’s oral health will pay benefits for a lifetime. Brushing and flossing at an early age are habits that your child will likely continue if reinforced on a daily basis; coupled with regular cleanings and dental exams from a pediatric dentist beginning at the age of twelve months will provide a solid start for great dental health.
You are responsible to monitor what your child consumes as a baby, toddler, child, and teen. But as your child gets a little older, and starts spending more time away from home, it is important that great food habits have become ingrained so your child will make healthy choices on their own.
Infancy: Babies require nutrients to grow so this is a critical time to stick with formula, baby food, and water. If you are going to prepare your child’s food use vegetables, fruits, and grains as recommended by their pediatrician.
Never put your baby to bed for a nap or for the night with a bottle containing anything but water. The sugars in milk, formula, or juice can linger in their mouth as they sleep. Baby teeth are susceptible to decay if exposed to food and drink allowing plaque to build.
Toddler: As your child begins to grow and move around more freely, they will likely begin to eat the foods you regularly consume. Setting an example with fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy, proteins, and healthy grains as your basic diet will begin to establish a pattern for your child to emulate.
Child: You might begin to see a little resistance here as your child learns about “junk food” and snacking. Keep reinforcing fresh fruit instead of fruit juice, water in lieu of soda or sugary beverages and nutritious snacks like yogurt, cheese, and milk instead of chips, candy, cookies, or ice cream.
Teen Years: Hopefully you have instilled good eating and snacking habits by this time as your youngster is out and about and making food choices independently.
Dental fillings at any age are not fun … be proactive in teaching your child about maintaining a proper diet, brushing and flossing daily, and make sure they see their pediatric dentist every six months for a cleaning and dental exam. A lifetime of healthy teeth and gums is a worthy goal that your child will appreciate for their lifetime.
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