The last thing that any parent wants is for their children to suffer from dental problems. For one thing, dental issues cause a lot of pain, as well as potentially serious health problems. While some consider dental care to be purely cosmetic, in fact ignoring it can have several detrimental consequences.

Children can suffer from bite issues if they don’t receive proper orthodontic care, resulting in eventual issues with chewing and swallowing as well as jaw pain, potentially. If cavities are neglected, teeth can rot from within, resulting in expensive fixes down the road as well as serious tooth pain in the process.

Of course, more serious issues can even lead to long-term effects on a child’s overall health, extending far beyond the teeth themselves. With that being said, parents also need to consider the fact that if dental care is put off, even due to financial reasons, the repairs that will be necessary down the road will be even more costly, as well as traumatic for the child.

Fortunately, there are steps that parents can take to ensure that their child stays up to date on their dental care. Below are five of the most important tips that parents should keep in mind when considering the dental care of their children.

1. Listen To Dentists Regarding Wisdom Teeth

While a lot of preventative dental care is really up to the parents’ discretion, one place in which parents should pay close attention to the dentists’ counsel is the wisdom teeth.

While it was once more common for children to have their wisdom teeth removed on a preventative level, some parents in more recent years have chosen to forego this practice, both due to the expense of the surgery and the fact that it’s seen as somewhat traumatic for children and teens.

However, if a child’s dentist advises that the removal of their wisdom teeth would be a good idea, parents should take this advice seriously. Every child has different teeth, as well as specific dental issues.

While some may not need to have their wisdom teeth removed preventatively, others may find that it’s not only necessarily but seriously effective in terms of preventing certain real problems. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause the development of abscesses, which ultimately can lead to serious infections. Therefore, if the surgical removal of the wisdom teeth is advised, parents must give it at the very minimum serious thought.

2. Cut Down On Sugar

Although this may seem like an obvious fact at first, a lot of parents don’t realize exactly how extensively a child’s dental care starts at home. While children need to brush their teeth and floss regularly, a lot of this is not as effective if it’s not handled in conjunction with a good diet. It’s not enough to cut down on dessert.

Sugar doesn’t come only in the form of candy and ice cream. Research has revealed that energy drinks like Rockstar, Monster, and Red Bull created twice as much enamel loss compared to sports drinks like Powerade, Gatorade, and Propel. This means that while both types of drinks should probably only be offered sparingly, even making a more informed decision can help prevent the wear and tear on that children’s teeth can sometimes experience due to sugary drinks and snacks.

3. Utilize Braces While Seeking Out Multiple Options

Understandably, young children are often intimidated by the idea of wearing braces, for several reasons. For one thing, braces are often associated with soreness and the pain that can come with their initial application. This is fleeting.

However, the awkwardness and embarrassment that can come with braces last much longer. Really, as long as the person wears the braces they may feel anxiety about them, which is why a lot of children struggle with the idea of the months-long commitment that comes with braces.

Sometimes, braces must be worn for longer; and in some cases, adults have to wear braces because they didn’t wear them when they were children. Braces can be especially embarrassing when you wear them as an adult! Of course, they can’t be ignored, no matter how embarrassing they are. Ultimately, the braces offer too many advantages for parents to ignore.

However, a compromise can be reached when children or adults wear braces like Invisalign, which don’t necessarily look like ordinary braces. They’re almost imperceptible to the human eye when worn, taking away much of the stigma associated with traditional metal braces. It’s no wonder that 47% of Invisalign teen users report that they experience a boost of self-esteem, as opposed to just 22% of teens that wear traditional metal braces.

4. Choose A Dentist Your Child Feels Comfortable With

It’s natural for kids to feel uncomfortable about visiting the doctor’s office, and they can be even more anxious about visiting the dentist. Lots of kids have innate fears regarding the dentist, which is why it’s important to take your child’s relationship with their dentist into account when choosing which dentist to work with.

Consider it something like a business partnership. Of course, about 70% of all business partnerships fail; but if you prioritize your child’s relationship with their dentist above your own as a parent, you’ll be likely to create a more long-term bond.

5. Create A Strong Routine

It can be difficult for kids to learn how to take care of their teeth properly. But if they do not brush their teeth and floss regularly, they can easily end up suffering long-term consequences. Parents should use positive reinforcement to establish good habits within their children, rewarding them when they brush their teeth or floss regularly without being asked. This type of routine-building is crucial to ensuring the health of their teeth.

While it can be difficult to convince children that their teeth should come first in the beginning, regular visits to the dentist as well as positive reinforcement will create an environment in which your kids recognize the true value of their teeth.