What Parents Should Know about Children's Oral Health Care

childrens oral health care sm 1490

Like many areas of the body, a person’s mouth is teeming with bacteria, most of them harmless. Normally the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease.

As a parent it is up to you to take your child’s oral health seriously. Here’s the truth behind some common myths about children’s dental hygiene,.

It’s okay to share utensils and cups with your children while eating. Parents should always use a separate utensil or cup when eating with their child. Recent studies have shown that young children can get cavities from Streptococcus mutans, a bacteria that passes from person to person through the transfer of saliva, such as sharing utensils and cups. A 2008 study in Pediatric Dentistry pointed to mothers as the primary source of the bacterial colonization of their children.


Blowing on food is the best way to cool down your child’s meal. This is one way Streptococcus mutans bacteria is transferred to children’s mouths.

Sugar eats tooth enamel, causing cavities. The true culprit is the acid produced by bacteria in the mouth, which converts sugar into enamel-eroding acid. Tooth enamel does not grow back, and once destroyed exposes sensitive dentine to decay. Cutting back on sugary foods provides less fuel for bacteria, and brushing and flossing regularly are vital to keep bacteria and cavity counts low.


You don’t need to worry about cavities in baby teeth. Baby teeth hold the space for permanent teeth. Tooth decay in baby teeth can result in damage to the developing crowns of the permanent teeth growing below them. If baby teeth are lost prematurely, the permanent teeth may erupt mal-positioned and require orthodontics later on. Untreated cavities in baby teeth can cause serious pain and develop into abscesses. Occasionally the infection can spread to other areas of the body, and in rare occasions can even result in death.


----------------
Anita Duhl Glicken, MSW, is the president/CEO of the nccPA Health Foundation and is project leader of the National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health (NIIOH) Physician Assistant Initiative, which is leading the oral health charge among primary care providers, such as certified physician assistants who are often on the frontlines of oral health emergencies, education and prevention.

Published: October 2013

Little Kids in Weddings: Tips for ring bearers and flower girls

Little Kids in Weddings: Tips for ring bearers and flower girls

My first memory: I’m 3, wearing the prettiest, fluffiest dress in the whole world. I’m holding hands with a yucky boy and carrying a wicker basket full of flowers. I’m beaming with anxious joy . . .

Read more

Tips to Foster a Child's Love of Reading

Tips to Foster a Child's Love of Reading

Get your child involved in books and foster a lifelong love of reading. Here are tips from PBS Kids:  Visit the local library often. Get kids their own library card. Attend storytimes a . . .

Read more

Silly Songs to Get Chores Done

Silly Songs to Get Chores Done

Sing it Clean: 8 Silly Songs to Get Chores DoneMotivating a preschooler to clean up can be as frustrating as herding cats. Instead of sending your toddler into a tailspin when playtime is over, enco . . .

Read more

Teach Math and Science to Preschoolers

Teach Math and Science to Preschoolers

What is the right age to start learning about math and science? You may be surprised to learn that your preschooler is ready to be introduced to more than rote counting and discussing the . . .

Read more

7 Tips for Dealing with Picky Eaters

7 Tips for Dealing with Picky Eaters

I don’t like Brussels spouts. Why does broccoli look like trees? Vegetables make me throw up. Why can’t we just order McDonald’s?We’ve all heard these phrases or something similar uttered by . . .

Read more

What Parents Should Know about Children's Oral Health Care

What Parents Should Know about Children's Oral Health Care

Like many areas of the body, a person’s mouth is teeming with bacteria, most of them harmless. Normally the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing . . .

Read more

How to Make the Most of the First Day of Preschool

How to Make the Most of the First Day of Preschool

My husband and I tried to prep our 3-year-old son Dylan, the best we could for his first day of preschool. We told him he’d be meeting all sorts of new people and making a bunch of new friends. “W . . .

Read more

Toys Your Child Can Learn and Play With

Toys Your Child Can Learn and Play With

Every parent knows that children learn most by playing. Through play, children learn how to explore their lives, peers and surroundings, how things work and the difference between success and failur . . .

Read more

10 Ideas to Help Children Read Outside of the Classroom

10 Ideas to Help Children Read Outside of the Classroom

“Learning how to read should not be confined to the classroom,” said Amy Jo Dowd, Ph.D., education research advisor for Save the Children.  “There are many fun ways that parents, communit . . .

Read more

How to Fund Your Child's Education

How to Fund Your Child's Education

While most of us realize that we will need to save money for our children’s college educations, we may need to figure out how to start funding our children’s education quite a few years earlier . . .

Read more

Make Play a Priority

Make Play a Priority

You’ve heard it time and time again, “The first five years of a child’s life are the most critical to their development.” This idea is not anything new, but recent research shows just how much . . .

Read more

8 Questions to Ask Yourself When Purchasing Holiday Toys

8 Questions to Ask Yourself When Purchasing Holiday Toys

Pediatric occupational therapists say items that focus on motor skill development, cognitive learning provide best value when it comes to kids The holiday season provides the opportunity to unabashed . . .

Read more

Asthma Medicines Increase the Risk of Cavities

Asthma Medicines Increase the Risk of Cavities

Did you know that your child’s asthma medicine can weaken healthy enamel, making teeth vulnerable to dental disease? “Caries” is the term that dentists use to describe dental disease. You an . . .

Read more

How to Make Reading Irresisitable to Boys

How to Make Reading Irresisitable to Boys

I want my son to love books, so I began reading to him when he was tiny. Despair descended when, at 6 months old, he was more interested in eating books than reading them. But I wiped off the drool . . .

Read more

How to Help Your Kindergartener Make a Smooth Transition into School

How to Help Your Kindergartener Make a Smooth Transition into School

Help your kindergartener score a smoother transition into school. Kicking Off Kindergarten For many parents, kindergarten signals a major milestone from the all-consuming baby and toddler years. . . .

Read more

The Privileges System for Children

The Privileges System for Children

It is possible to raise kind, well-mannered children with no yelling, no spanking, and no time-outs. When I created the Privileges System three years ago, my daughter needed boundaries… fast. I al . . .

Read more

Dental Drama

Dental Drama

Each night at my house there’s a show after dinner. I call it the dental drama. As I approach my son’s mouth with the toothbrush, he closes it tight. I ply him with sparkly, watermelon-flavored . . .

Read more

Traveling with Food Allergies

Traveling with Food Allergies

Traveling can be extremely stressful for the 12 million Americans with food allergies and 3 million with celiac disease. In fact, most people with food allergies and sensitivities list traveling and . . .

Read more

8 Tips On Encouraging Your Kids To Be Close

8 Tips On Encouraging Your Kids To Be Close

Friendly Siblings–what’s the secret? We’ve all dreamed of them. Many of us have actually seen them. But how do we actually raise them? I’m talking about siblings who get along, those myster . . .

Read more

Feeling Sick at Night

Feeling Sick at Night

Do symptoms get worse for kids at night? Why is it that your 5-year-old’s fever, congestion, and pain suddenly worsen at nightfall when the pediatrician’s office is closed? Is it simply a matt . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!