As a parent, you want to keep your child safe -- which is no small task! The good news is that there is a lot you can do to protect your child's mouth, teeth and gums from harm.
Infants and Toddlers
Little ones fall a lot as they learn to navigate their way in the world, putting them at risk for a broken tooth or a cut or bitten tongue, lip or cheek. To guard your child's dental safety:
- Child-proof your home. Do not let your child walk around carrying a bottle or sippy cup; unsteady walkers could injure their teeth or gums during a fall.
- Keep any mouthwash (and all other fluids) out of the reach of children. The alcohol content in most mouthwashes can be toxic to small children.
- Pick an age-appropriate toothbrush that is the right size for your child's mouth. Do not share your child's toothbrush with anyone else.
School Age Kids
Accidents from sports and outdoor activities such as skateboarding are common for this age group, as are cavities. To keep your child's dental safety in check:
- Make sure your child wears a mouthguard while playing sports.
- Consider dental sealants for added protection against dental cavities.
- Don't yank loose baby teeth. If a tooth is extremely loose, use a clean damp gauze pad to firmly tug on the tooth. If it doesn't come out right away, leave it alone.
Good nutrition and oral hygiene tend to fall by the wayside during the teen years To safeguard your teen's dental safety, talk to your child about the need to:
- Use caution with teeth whitening products. Before using any over-the-counter dental products, talk to your dentist to see if whiteners are appropriate for your teen.
- Cut back on soda. The sugar in soda can cause dental cavities and the phosphoric acid blocks the absorption of calcium, weakening teeth.
Remember, the most effective ways to protect your children’s dental health is to make sure they brush and floss regularly and see a dentist twice a year.