We all want the best for our children. This is especially true when it comes to their health. We go to great lengths to make sure they eat the right foods and get the nutrition they need.
However, many parents do not show enough concern for the dental care of their children. They think the baby teeth are just temporary and that you don’t need to do as much to take care of them. While this might sound reasonable, it is far from the truth.
The dental care a child receives when they are young can do a lot to affect their teeth as adults. You also need to help your child establish good oral hygiene habits while they are young. This post will cover some of the things you can do to help your children care for their teeth.
1. It Starts with Brushing
Whether you are a child or an adult, good oral hygiene starts with brushing your teeth. Parents should brush an infant’s teeth as soon as they appear. As they get older, you need to teach your kids to brush. You should also make sure to supervise young children when they brush.
Beyond just teaching the steps of brushing teeth, you should talk to your children about brushing. Tell them to do it twice a day and make sure they know it is important. Talk about the consequences of poor oral hygiene and how they can benefit from brushing. It might even help to reinforce the behavior with the occasional reward.
2. Avoid Sweets
A balanced diet will go a long way toward helping your child live a healthy life. Parents should limit or avoid sugary foods and drinks. Manage how often they eat candies and cakes. Try not to allow juices with added sugar or soda pop. It isn’t that kids can never have any sweets. It’s just that they should not be a daily part of their diet.
3. Beyond Brushing
A child’s daily oral health routine should go beyond brushing. One step that can help a lot is flossing once a day. It is good for removing food that might get stuck between teeth. It can also help remove plaque from the gum line. Most dentists will tell you that parents should start flossing a child’s teeth around the age of two or three.
Mouthwash can also be beneficial for older children. It can reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth, and remove stuff that may have been left behind after brushing. With that said, you want to use children’s mouthwash. The general rule is that you should wait until a child is at least six to start using mouthwash unless recommended by a dentist.
4. Start Checkups Early
Start taking your kids to the dentist while they are young. It will make it seem like a routine part of life. Along with that, regular checkups and cleanings can be vital for maintaining the health of your child’s teeth. Some children will encounter oral health issues at a young age, so it is important to catch those issues early. Dentists can also offer treatments that can reduce the risk of cavities in young children.
5. Get More Fluoride
Many people fail to recognize the importance of fluoride. Whether it is for your teeth or the teeth of your children, it can do so much to improve dental health. That means you should make sure you have fluoride toothpaste for kids to use. If your tap water has fluoride, it will help. A fluoride rinse for older kids might also be beneficial.
According to a Castro Valley dentist, “Fluoride is vital for healthy teeth. It helps to harden the enamel and this makes it harder for acids to penetrate the teeth. By using toothpaste with fluoride and getting fluoride treatments, you can do a lot to prevent cavities in children.”
6. Encourage Openness
You need your children to tell you if they have a problem with their teeth. Some kids might not think a little pain is a big deal. Others might hide it because they don’t want to get treatment. You need to impress upon children the importance of telling you about issues they might have with their teeth. Tell them that treatment is important and that issues will only get worse if they don’t see a dentist.
Another reason why children aren’t open with their parents is that they fear they would get scolded for being responsible for the tartar. So, they keep hiding it. The solution for this is to smile before children once you discover they have got some issues and made them understand that the dentist would remove the pain within a few minutes without getting her/him in pain.
7. Maintain the Routine
Oral hygiene works when you maintain the routine every day. If your child tries to skip days or doesn’t always want to do every step, they won’t get the full benefit. You need to be consistent about brushing, flossing and other elements of dental care. If it is part of the everyday routine without exception, your child will just see it as another thing you do without questioning it.
Another point is to keep it going during vacation. Some people might let kids slack when they are out of town for a few days. However, you need to care for your teeth on vacation. It might be even more important because you might allow your child more sweets and treats while you are away.
As a final tip, set an example. Your kids will be more likely to accept oral hygiene if they see you doing it as well. You could even consider brushing and flossing together while your children are young.