Introducing the importance of dental health care to your children at a young age is an investment not only for their teeth but for their entire body. Children with poor dental health are, of course, more likely to have more dental problems, but they’re also more likely to have lower self-image and perform lower than their peers at school. As a parent, it is extremely important to model and help your children establish proper dental care so that their smiles can last a lifetime!
By developing good oral hygiene, your child is automatically more protected from common dental issues like plaque build-up, gum disease, and cavities. Dental decay is the most common form of chronic childhood disease, and when left untreated, it can lead to a multitude of problems such as pain and infection, issues with speaking and eating, and their overall health.
The great thing about common dental issues is that they are all almost completely preventable with regular check-ups and proper dental care at home. It is important that as parents, you help introduce healthy practices of dental care by encouraging your children to follow these habits:
- Oral health care starts as soon as your child’s baby teeth are visible. An easy way to start cleaning your child's teeth is to start by using a washcloth to gently clean your child’s teeth and gums.
- Teach your child to brush their teeth for a full two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, twice a day. You may have to brush your child's teeth for them until they are able to do so by themselves, but introducing the concept of brushing their teeth can help them incorporate it into their daily routine.
- Flossing is also an important practice to introduce. If your child has never flossed before, it could be painful and their gums may bleed, so be aware of that. Flossing at a young age can help your child avoid dental diseases like gingivitis and tooth decay. If your child is struggling with the typical string-like floss, try giving them a floss pick.
Now we are fully aware that introducing these habits to your children can be a bit of work. Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks to help make this a bit more fun. First, start out by letting your child pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. Many children’s toothbrushes are fun and colorful and might even have some of their favorite animated characters or superheroes on them. Putting on some type of video or song while your child brushes their teeth can be a great way to help pass the time, but make sure that they are actually brushing their teeth. This can also show them the proper amount of time to brush their teeth.
While brushing and flossing are important, it is also important to be aware of the foods that your children are consuming. Try to eliminate the number of sugary snacks and drinks they are consuming, especially between meals. Consuming foods or snacks like cookies, candies, dried fruit, soft drinks, and chips can combine with the plaque on the teeth and create acids. These types of acid attacks can lead to cavities, which can be expensive and painful. These acids can last up to 20 minutes after a meal or snack has been finished. If they are consuming them, try to get them to brush their teeth right after. This can help your child avoid any type of tooth decay.
Encouraging your child to drink a healthy amount of water can also help neutralize some of the acids that can cause cavities. It also helps remove any leftover food particles that may be left in your mouth.
Lastly, it’s important to establish a healthy relationship with your dentist, both as an adult and a child. Find a dentist that makes you feel comfortable and understands the ins and outs of pediatric dentistry. At Luxe Dental Spa, we are here for all your dental needs. We understand that healthy smiles come from the practices that we, as adults, show our children. If you have any questions or concerns about encouraging healthy dental habits, contact us today!