Here are the 4 best tips to prevent dental and health problems for your preschooler.
Believe it or not, it is not just about teeth anymore. We are learning that certain oral bacteria are now being linked to obesity, heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, inflammation in other parts of the
body and ultimately, overall health and wellness. And this applies as much to a developing preschooler as to an older person.
So the key is to have a thorough dental oral evaluation by a dentist who treats children by the age of 3. This way any signs and symptoms of developing disease can be addressed early on and hopefully, keep your child on the path to wellness.
The bacteria in the mouth need to be removed at least once every 24 hours and the best time is right before you go to sleep. And remember, a child does not have the manual dexterity to brush their own teeth effectively until around the age of 7, so you, the parents need to assist them every night.
Help your preschooler remove oral bacteria
Flossing inbetween the teeth is also very important as this is where 85% if tooth decay begins. A toothbrush cannot get in the tight spaces between teeth and so this small piece of string is so effective at removing these hidden bacteria.
This is a great time to spend alone time with your children and teach them wellness lessons, which will be with them for a lifetime. Because if they leave decay causing bacteria, which produce strong acids, on their teeth at night when the saliva flow slows down considerably, the chance of high acidity in the mouth increases and this is what leads to tooth decay.
Another area which is being now studied by dental and medical professionals is evaluating how preschoolers breathe at night while they sleep. If you notice your child snoring or breathing heavily it may be because of enlarged tonsils which are closing off the airway in the back of the throat. Poor breathing and allowing adequate oxygen to go to the brain at night has been closely linked to ADD and ADHD as well as concentration and learning disabilities.
Once the tonsils are removed the ADD, ADHD and concentrating concerns are no longer a problem. I have been working with parents in this area for over 3 years and the amount of children with enlarged tonsils which are causing airway concerns is quite large. My recommendation is to have your pediatrician and/or children’s dentist do an exam for enlarged tonsils.
Teeth are very susceptible to being dissolved by some to the foods we commonly eat. Of course, refined sugars are not only bad for the oral environment but for us systemically and is one reason for the rapid increase in obesity and diabetes in children.
Remember, sugars and refined carbohydrates cause the strep bacteria in the mouth to create acids which will dissolve the enamel and lead to tooth decay. If your child does eat sugars or refined carbs and cannot brush, the next best thing is to swish with plain water which will decrease the acids by up to half. It is that easy!
So in summary the BIG FOUR are get a good dental exam by age 3; brush and floss daily; check your child for any sleep disorders early; and teach good nutritional habits early. Your bonus will be a happy and healthy preschooler to love and enjoy!
Read more about the importance of a dental exam
Matthew Steinberg, DDS FAGD has been a recognized leader and educator in the Oral – Systemic Wellness dental medicine area for over 30 years. He has taught at the prestigious Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, Florida and has lectured to dentists, hygienists and assistants about developing a relationship based wellness practice. He shares the 4 Best Tips to Prevent Dental and Health Problems for Your Preschooler with parents and dental professionals.