About a decade ago or more, asthma and hay fever cases in children were higher than dental diseases. Today, dental diseases are more prevalent than both of these ailments in young children. Why is that you ask? The answer is simple: parental neglect is to blame. More specifically, a lot of parents do not enforce strict dental routines for their children to protect their young teeth.
One reason commonly given is that the teeth will fall off in their early years and make way for permanent teeth later on which will require strict maintenance hence there is no need to put in a lot effort to maintain the first set. This is flawed thinking.
By not taking care of your toddler’s oral health and ensuring his/her teeth are always in tip top shape you’re increasing his/her chances of contracting cardiovascular diseases. Heart attacks, congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease, endocarditis and arrhythmia are just a few examples of heart diseases that your child may be prone to.
These diseases can form when plaque forming bacteria in the mouth enter the blood stream through cavities, punctured gums or blood vessels, make their way into major arteries that supply the heart with oxygen and other nutrients and cause random clotting to occur. They can also form plaque in the blood stream that can disrupt the normal dispensation of nutrients and oxygen and this can bring about heart complications.
With that in mind, here are 4 steps you can take to protect your toddler from dental related heart diseases.
1. Schedule Dental Appointments Early
As soon as your child stops breast feeding and starts consuming solid food he or she is ready to start visiting the dentist.
Early dental visits are encouraged to spot any potential teeth and gum problems before they fester.
Taking your child to the dentist early also has financial benefits. Parents of children who receive dental care as early as age one to five spend less in their pre-teen years on dental procedures than other children who started receiving dental care much later in life. These parents spend less because very little of their money goes to curative procedures e.g. teeth whitening, fillings, crowns e.t.c for their children.
2. Enforce the Brushing and Flossing Habit
Brushing doesn’t have to start when the child has teeth. Even before milk teeth form parents can start brushing their toddler’s gums with special brushes designed for toddlers. As the child grows and the teeth increase in number parents can start teaching the child how to brush and keep monitoring how they go about the cleaning. Parents should however not leave the task of dental cleaning to their children fully until they can write in cursive or tie their own shoe laces. It is assumed by this time the child is old enough to manage this responsibility.
Flossing can begin as soon as two teeth touch each other.
To avoid the accumulation of plaque forming bacteria in the mouth, set a teeth cleaning schedule for the child and honor it daily. If the child is old enough, make sure he or she sticks to the routine.
Food and drink should be banned after brushing at night except for water. This way, no particles are left in the mouth to facilitate the formation of plaque.
3. Be Vigilant of Mouth Unfriendly Foods & Drugs
Don’t offer sugary manufactured snacks, juices and confectionary to appease your toddler or to make him calm or silent. Parents have been known to do this in gatherings where their kids are noisy and rowdy. These foods stick to the gums and the enamel of the teeth and increase the risk of cavities. One good way to avoid these foods is to train your child from an early age to only consume healthy alternatives such as home blended fruit drinks and fruits low in sugar that do not harm the enamel and subsequently increase the risk of cardiovascular illnesses.
Also worth pointing out is if your child already suffers from a chronic disease keep a look out for drugs that might affect his oral health and well-being negatively. Most of the drugs that treat chronic disorders are flavored with sugar to make toddlers ingest them more easily. When taken at night just before bed they provide bacteria in the mouth with material to form plaque that is detrimental to enamel, gums and the body. In such cases ensure the teeth or gums are brushed before bed to avoid future complications.
4. Emphasize the importance of good oral health
All your efforts to protect your child’s dental health may be in vain if your child doesn’t pick up and continue with the habits. As the child grows he or she is exposed to foods and dietary habits and rituals from other children that might not necessarily boost his or her oral health. For this reason parents need to emphasize the importance of sticking to and maintaining good oral health at all times and the possible repercussions of poor dental hygiene.
Stressing this from an early age will help the child stick to healthy routines even in adulthood.
Author Bio: Eric Ogero is a professional freelance writer, blogger and web consultant. He loves learning and sharing information on health and wellness with others to help them live their best life and avoid health related catastrophes. His content has been published on various health and wellness blogs across the internet. To read more of his articles check out his blog.