As a parent, you want to keep your child safe -- which is no small task! When it comes to dental safety alone, there are plenty of potential hazards to avoid. A dental emergency can range from a broken tooth to a knocked-out tooth or a toothache, each of which can be caused by a number of things depending on your child's age and activities. The good news is that there is a lot you can do along the way to protect your child's mouth, teeth and gums from harm. Here is an overview of what you can do to ensure your child's dental safety at every age.
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. Their small size means they have unique needs and are at risk for dangers older kids aren't. 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, for that matter) 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.
- Choose a fluoride-free toothpaste to prevent dental fluorosis. Little kids often swallow toothpaste and too much fluoride can discolor children's permanent teeth.
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. Kids should also be wearing a mouthguard (plus pads and a helmet) when rollerblading, skateboarding, scootering and bicycling.
- Consider dental sealants for added protection against dental cavities. The procedure is quick and usually pain-free.
- Don't yank loose baby teeth. It could cause unnecessary pain, an infection or bleeding. 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.
- Prevent unnecessary toothaches by visiting the dentist every six months. Ask the dentist for age-appropriate ways to assure your child's dental safety.