Pediatric Dentistry, Creating a Lifelong Habit

Pediatric Dentistry, Creating a Lifelong Habit

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

Teaching children the value of good oral care can be an all or nothing affair. Children may be afraid of sitting in a dentist chair or hate the taste of certain brands of toothpaste. When it’s a struggle to wean your toddler off the binkie, it’s comforting to know a pediatric dentist has seen it all. In fact a dentist who specializes in pediatrics understands the uniqueness of a child’s mouth and is prepared to comfort the child making dental visits both fun and empowering.

What Pediatric Dentists Do

For children (and many adults!) dental offices can be a scary place. Some children may require special care or have unique or special needs that necessitate the skills of a pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist will look for signs of trouble – including signs of decay or habits formed early in life that can impact dental hygiene and structure. Pediatric dentists are adept at working with bite and jaw problems, and ensure cleanings are fun and gentle. A pediatric dentist should be able to help identify potential problems like the need for braces, or potential crowding or surgical measures the child might need. Most importantly for mom and dad, they can provide you with guidance and advice to ensure the dental habits your child develops early on are positive and easily sustained.

Start Now – Finish Strong

A pediatric dentist knows every trick to get your kids to take their dental care seriously – and have fun in the process! Some favorite tips to launch a lifetime of healthy dental habits include –

  • Seeking out kid-friendly toothpastes. Brushing every night with minty or bubble-gum flavored kid-friendly toothpastes takes the “zing” out of harsh adult toothpastes. Likewise, packaging makes a difference. Allowing your child to choose a favorite Disney princess or Avenger on the packaging makes brushing more empowering; just be sure that the toothpaste you choose has the American Dental Association’s seal of approval. (If you are concerned about fluoride, be sure to have that conversation with your dentist, too.)
  • Toothbrushes and games. A motorized toothbrush emblazoned with your child’s favorite character or superhero can lessen the burden of little hands missing hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. While you’re at it, make a game of brushing by having your child make faces or try to imitate a farm animal while brushing. Some parents track brushing time with sand hourglasses. The point is, have them brush – and ensure the brush itself is soft enough and small enough for tiny, sensitive teeth and gums.
  • Chart progress. Who doesn’t love a reward? Develop a rewards chart and corresponding goals for keeping with the program. Consider long-term goals vs. small ones; that gives your child something to work for. Be sure to share these goals with your dentist to reinforce progress and success – and never reward with sticky sweets .Rather, focus on family oriented rewards like going to the movies or staying up an extra hour. 
  • Other habits.  Does your child play sports? Get them into the habit of wearing a mouthguard if their teeth are at risk. If orthodontia is recommended, work with them to understand the importance of eating right and not breaking brackets. Keeping track of retainers and wearing rubber bands are all important for perfect orthodontic outcomes. Choosing the right tooth-friendly foods is another habit that can last a lifetime. Also, learning to floss – or investing in a hydroflosser and teaching kids to use it – can benefit a child into adulthood.

Family Dentistry in the Twin Cities

If you live in the Twin Cities area and need a dentist for your toddler or child, check out Hagerman Dental Care. We have experience in working with a child’s dental needs, including early orthodontic screening and intervention to keep small problems from turning into big problems. Make Hagerman Dental Care your family’s preferred provider by calling us today at (651) 646-2392 or requesting an appointment online.