Why Kids Dental Checkups are Important

Why Kids Dental Checkups Are Important

Why are dental checkups for kids important? Because as soon as your kid has teeth, they can get cavities. That’s why regular checkups in early childhood—in addition to good dental hygiene habits taught at home—help ensure that your kids will stay healthy throughout their lives.

Early checkups prevent tooth decay and dental pain, which can lead to trouble concentrating and medical issues later in life. Research suggests that kids with healthy teeth are happier overall, perform better in school and have higher self-esteem.

 

When should your child first visit the dentist?

The American Dental Association recommends that parents bring their child to the dentist by their first birthday, or as soon as the first tooth appears. This visit will reinforce the dental habits you’re teaching them at home and help your kid be more confident for future dental visits. At your child’s first visit, the dentist will make sure their teeth and jaw are developing the way they should, as well as look for cavities, mouth injuries or other issues.

Parents can help kids prepare for their first visit by explaining what will happen and staying positive. Have your child practice opening their mouth for when the dentist checks their teeth. If you’re a first-time patient, you can print out new patient forms to fill out before your visit.

 

What are the benefits of early dental visits?

Lots of parents wait too long to schedule a dental visit for young children, which can have negative consequences on a child’s dental and overall health. Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children in the United States despite being mostly preventable with good habits and regular checkups. The CDC reports that 19.5% of children ages 2-5 have untreated cavities.

It’s also very important to keep “baby teeth,” or primary teeth, in place until they are lost naturally. Children with healthy primary teeth generally have an easier time with speech development, chewing food and retaining nutrients. If the pediatric dentist finds that your child has a cavity, sealants and fluoride applications can protect teeth from additional decay.

 

About Kid’s Dentistree

Kid’s Dentistree is a kid-focused dental practice rooted in establishing healthy dental habits and trusting patient-dentist relationships for children at a young age. Our practices feature games, toys, movies and dental equipment all made especially for kids. And in most cases—as long as it is in the best interest of the patient—we encourage parents to come back to the treatment room with their children.

Visit one of our locations in Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia or Texas today!

Group of children having packed lunches

Teeth-Friendly School Lunchbox Ideas

With so much to do before kids head back to school, one of the most common details parents forget is packing a healthy lunch. A nutritious meal at lunchtime plays an important role in your child’s energy and focus at school, and could make a big difference on their report card.

Packing a teeth-friendly school lunchbox doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming as long as you plan ahead, get used to a little nightly chopping action, and try to make it fun. We’ve assembled the 5 friendliest food groups for your kids’ teeth and lots of tips for packing fun and teeth-friendly ideas into their school lunchbox.
 

Veggies

Fresh vegetables in colorful bowls isolated on white. Healthy party snacks. Asparagus, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce leaves and cherry tomatoes.

Crunchy vegetables—like carrots, cucumbers, celery, green peppers, lettuce and broccoli—are probably the best snack for your teeth, period. The high water content of vegetables not only rehydrates our bodies, but also dilutes natural sugars and washes away food particles while we eat.

The easiest way to liven up raw veggies is to include a dip like hummus, cream cheese or fresh salsa. But if you want to get a little fancier, try a dill cucumber dip or one of these delicious summer slaw salad recipes.

If your children aren’t very fond of vegetables in the first place, getting them to eat healthier can be a challenge. Just remember to set a good example for them with your own eating habits, introduce new foods slowly, invite your kids to cook with you, and allow them to have “sometimes” foods like sugary cereals or the occasional Happy Meal as a reward.
 

Cheese

Cheeses, White Background, Clipping path

Cheese is high in calcium and phosphorus, two minerals that help keep tooth enamel strong. Cheese increases saliva in your mouth, which acts as a natural defense against cavities and gum disease.

Cutting cheese into bite-sized cubes or squares is recommended to help your kids digest better. If you’d like to make a tasty cheese sandwich for your kids, try this cucumber, tomato and cheddar sandwich recipe we found.

Just remember if you’re packing a sandwich to use “whole grain” or “whole wheat” bread instead of white, because these contain more natural vitamins, minerals and fiber.
 

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts in the glass jar , collection, clipping path

Nuts and seeds are arguably the healthiest protein source. They’re an excellent source of healthy fats, vitamin D, calcium, fiber and folic acid. Folic acid plays a major role in preserving gum tissues and preventing periodontal disease.

Despite being rich in Vitamin E, the shape and texture of almonds put damaging stress on teeth when kids bite down. So if your kids love almonds, try to find almond slivers next time you’re at the grocery.
 

Fruits

5 varieties of apples: Granny smith, Golden delicious, Gala, Macintosh and Red delicious. Larger files include clipping path.

Fibrous fruits—or fruits high in fiber—act almost like a natural toothbrush while you bite and chew. Apples, bananas and strawberries are all a healthy substitution for dessert in addition to being relatively cheap, easy to prepare, and very fulfilling.

If your kids aren’t too keen on fruits yet, make fruits more enjoyable with a healthy yogurt fruit dip or try cutting apples into fun shapes.

However, be careful your children aren’t eating too many fruits – especially dried fruit or fruit juice, which contain lots of artificial sugars. And try to stay away from most “fruit-flavored” beverages and snacks.
 

Water

Bottles of water various sizes 1.5L, 1L, 500ml, 300ml. With clipping paths.

Growing up, we all probably drank way more juice than we should have because our parents thought it was a healthy alternative to soda. But the science is out – fruit juice is just as bad for you as soda.

Encourage your children to drink the recommended amount of water daily. Depending on their age, they should be having 5-10 glasses of water each day.

Water not only energizes rehydrates your organs and muscles, it also helps create more saliva in your mouth. More saliva means less tooth decay and stronger tooth enamel.
 

Putting it all together

We know every parent would love to feed their children healthy foods for every meal, but we also know that budgeting is a very real concern. So even if you can only afford apple slices, cherry tomatoes, a handful of nuts, cheese sandwich and tap water, you’re really helping your kids build a foundation for healthier futures.

A school-provided lunch of mystery meat, instant mashed potatoes, applesauce and chocolate milk is unfortunately just not a healthy alternative to homemade lunch. And though school lunches are often provided at a discount, packing your own is possible for only $2-$3/day.

Good luck! And if you ever have more questions about teeth-healthy foods or lunchbox ideas, let us know when you’re back for your child’s 6-month checkup. Happy eating!

Healthy lunch boxes with sandwich and fresh vegetables, bottle of water, nuts and fruits on rustic wooden background. top view

A multi-ethnic group of elementary age children are sitting at their desks and are eating their healthy lunches.

Apples: Dental Hygiene Facts

We’ve all heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But apples may keep the dentist away too. Apples are a naturally sweet, low-calorie alternative to cavity-causing, sugary snacks like candy and fruit juice – plus they clean your teeth while you eat them! The next time your child is craving something sweet, try replacing soda or juice with some fresh apple slices!

Benefits of Apples

  • Apples make gums healthier. Apples contain about 15% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C, which helps keep your gums healthy. Without this vitamin, your gums become more vulnerable to infection, bleeding and gum disease. If you have periodontal disease, a lack of vitamin C increases bleeding and swelling.
  • Apples are nature’s toothbrush.  Chewing the fibrous texture of the fruit and its skin can stimulate your gums, reduce cavity-causing bacteria and increase saliva flow. Like other crisp, raw vegetables and fruits, apples can also gently remove plaque trapped between teeth.
  • Apples strengthen your bones. Apples have potassium. Potassium improves bone mineral density. Your teeth are made from bone. ‘Nuff said.
  • Apples help regulate weight. Loaded with soluble fiber, apples can help lower your cholesterol and improve your blood sugar regulation.
  • Apples fight heart disease. Although the research hasn’t proven it yet, there’s an apparent link between gum health and heart health. Periodontitis and heart disease share risk factors such as smoking, age and diabetes, and both contribute to inflammation in the body. Apples contain antioxidants that lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke.

It’s never too early to talk to your children about their health. By helping them learn about nutrition, you are preparing them to make healthier decisions throughout their lives!

Is the acidity in apples bad for my child’s teeth?

According to a study published in the Journal of Dentistry, apples may be even more acidic than soda. But the negative effects of acidity in any foods you eat, like processed meats and coffee, can easily be prevented if you follow these tips:

  • Eat apples with another snack. Consider serving your child apple slices with a small serving of cheese, a glass of milk or crackers. Whatever you choose, other foods will help neutralize the acid in the apple – especially if they’re high in calcium.
  • Rinse with a glass of water. In general, it’s just a good idea to drink a glass of water or rinse after eating. Water helps rinse away acid and food particles that have collected between your teeth.
  • Wait to brush. Brushing immediately after eating any sugary food is not a good idea. The sugar will act like sandpaper and damage your tooth enamel. Have your kids wait at least 30 minutes after sugary snacks to brush.
Girl at the dentist holding and x-ray and looking at the camera smiling

5 Big Reasons To Choose a Children’s Dentist

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, a great time to focus on kids!

Getting kids off to a good start with their oral health is what pediatric dentistry is all about. “A child’s attitudes and habits about caring for their teeth are established very early,” says Dr. Kim Hansford, a board-certified pediatric dentist. “A good experience with the dentist when they’re young can influence the way they take care of their oral health throughout their lives. The dental care they receive while they’re young can also prevent problems down the road, and set them up for healthy smiles for life.”

5 Big Reasons To Choose a Children’s Dentist for Your Little Ones

1. In addition to completing dental school, pediatric dentists must complete an advanced residency program in their specialty. The program is usually two to three years in length, and provides an in-depth education in the unique dental needs of babies, children and adolescents.

2. Training in pediatric dentistry also covers child psychology, growth and development, and caring for special needs patients. Kids’ dentists are well prepared to help anxious or frightened children feel at ease, and to provide a positive experience for them.

3. Children’s dentists know the importance of providing a fun and welcoming atmosphere for kids. As Dr. Kim explained, “Toys and videos can keep children occupied before their appointments and take their minds off anything that might be worrying them. Being around other children can bring kids an additional level of comfort. And we always send them home with a little reward, such as a toy or stickers.”

4. A children’s dental office will usually feature smaller chairs and dental equipment sized to fit little mouths. That can make a big difference to a child’s comfort. In addition, “During a child’s treatment,” said Dr. Kim, “we explain what the different tools do in an age-appropriate way. It helps ward off fears they may have.”

5. With a strong focus on preventive care, a children’s dentist can help ensure a lifetime of good dental health for your child. You can count on the dentist to stay up to date on preventive treatments that are especially important to kids, such as fluoride treatments and sealants. And, a kids’ dentist is an excellent source of advice and answers to questions about your child’s dental needs.

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