Keeping Your Child’s Teeth Functional with a Dental Discount Plan
Our teeth serve many purposes — eating, speaking, and creating beautiful smiles. But we must maintain their health, so they can do the job they are meant to do; this involves good home care and regular visits to the dentist. Unfortunately, the high cost of dentistry and not fully understanding the important role of baby teeth prevents many parents from taking their young children to the dentist. However, a dental discount plan may be the best option to help you afford the regular dental checkups that are so critical to your child’s long-term dental health.
Importance of Baby Teeth
By the time a child is age 2, he or she has a total of 20 primary (baby) teeth. And believe it or not, it’s just as crucial to keep these baby teeth healthy as our permanent teeth, and here’s why.
Baby teeth help children chew, so that they get the adequate nutrition for proper growth and development, they facilitate learning to speak correctly, and baby teeth provide shape and contour to your child’s face. But another vital task is holding space for the permanent teeth. When baby teeth are lost prematurely, due to dental disease, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty spaces, causing crowding or overlapping that may require orthodontic treatment later.
Caring for Your Child’s Teeth
Here are the key components necessary to guarantee that your child’s baby teeth are healthy and saving space for the permanent teeth.
- Start home care early — As soon as your baby comes home from the hospital, begin cleaning his or her gums with a wet washcloth or gauze after feedings.
- Brushing and Flossing — When the first little tooth arrives (around 6 months) either clean it with wet gauze or begin using a small, soft baby toothbrush. As more teeth erupt and are touching each other, you can start to floss your child’s teeth. Keep in mind that children don’t have the dexterity to brush and floss on their own until they are at least 8 or 9 years old.
- Fluoride Free Toothpaste — Fluoride is a developmental neurotoxin and although it is endorsed by most dentists, it’s best to cut down on it whenever possible to prevent dental fluorosis, as well as other side effects of its overexposure.
- Nutrition — To prevent “baby bottle” decay, never put your baby to bed with a bottle of formula or put sugary drinks in the bottle. Children need a nutrient rich diet, especially high in calcium and phosphorus to build strong bones and teeth, and to help prevent tooth decay — limit sugary foods.
- Regular Dental Visits — Children should see a dentist no later than their first birthday; this allows dentists to monitor growth and development, and it is an opportunity for your child to become familiar with routine dental visits. Most dentists like to see children twice a year for checkups and cleanings, so that when little problems occur, they can be taken care of right away.
Dental Discount Plans
If lack of dental insurance has been stopping you from taking your child to the dentist, a dental discount plan may be an affordable alternative to help with the expense of checks ups, cleanings, and any dental work that your child may need. When your child sees a dentist that participates in the plan, you can expect the fees to be discounted from 5 to 50 percent.
Not having dental insurance should never get in the way of your child’s dental health. Click on the link to the right to find a Confident® dental discount plan from Careington® and a list of dentists who will ensure that your child has a healthy mouth and beautiful smile for a long time to come.