Did you know that cavities and tooth decay are classified as a chronic illness and are 5 times more likely to occur than asthma and 4 times more likely than obesity in children? 300,000 children in the U.S. experience severe tooth decay while around 1.5 million children experience a less severe form of it. A more shocking statistic is that 50% of U.S. children have never seen a dentist. Good oral health is crucial for developing healthy teeth and preventing tooth decay and other more severe health issues later in life. Keep reading to learn about some dental tips for kids to maintain good dental hygiene.
1. Care Should Start With the First Tooth
Quality dental care and any healthcare should always be about prevention first. The best way to prevent cavities and other dental health problems is to start caring for your children’s teeth as soon as their first tooth starts coming out.
When your children are still babies, basic cleaning should just include gently wiping their teeth to maintain cleanliness. As children grow you can start showing them how to brush their teeth on their own, this will teach them the importance of taking care of their teeth early on.
2. Flossing Is Crucial
Good dental hygiene includes flossing and teaching your children how to do it properly is crucial to maintaining healthy teeth. You’ll want to model flossing for them at first so they can see firsthand how it should be done each night.
Practice with them and teach them to pass the floss through their teeth gently. It’s also a good idea to explain the importance of flossing and how it helps to get rid of all the bacteria that brushing doesn’t get rid of.
3. Create a Brushing Routine
Creating a routine in a child’s life is important in helping them remember to keep up with healthy oral hygiene habits. They might not understand the importance of brushing their teeth yet but creating a routine for them will help them remember it’s something they should do each day.
The best way for a kid to learn is by watching their parents. Make morning and night brushing time a time you spend together. Having this time together will show your child the proper way to brush their teeth.
Make the routine something your child looks forward to by getting them a toothbrush modeled after their favorite cartoon. Make brushing time into a fun game or create a dance number to make the routine more enjoyable for your child.
4. Dental Sealants as Preventative Care
Preventative measures are a great way to take care of your child’s dental health. You want to take the measures necessary as early as possible to prevent cavities or even more severe dental health issues.
Sealants are a great way to prevent tooth decay. Sealants are a thin coat that covers the grooves in the teeth to prevent the buildup of plaque and other bacteria.
When you take your child to a pediatric dentist, make sure to ask them about getting dental sealants for your child’s teeth.
5. Give Kids Healthy Meals
A well-balanced diet is important for the general health of every growing child. It’s also important for the health of their teeth.
Most of you have probably grown up hearing about how important it is to eat your fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy dairy. These foods will provide your children with the necessary nutrients to develop healthy teeth.
Try to avoid giving your child too much sugar or eliminate it altogether. These foods increase the buildup of bacteria in the mouth.
Carbonated drinks, like soda, have a lot of acids that can damage the enamel of the teeth. Candy tends to stick to the teeth and can also create more cavities.
6. Offer Incentives
The secret to healthy teeth is offering your kids some incentives for brushing their teeth properly each day. Rewarding them for following their routine can get them excited for brushing their teeth and soon enough, brushing and flossing will become second nature.
The rewards can be simple things like an extra 30 minutes of playtime or packing an extra snack in their school lunch. You can give them a prize at the end of the week for remembering to brush their teeth on their own for the entire week.
7. Manage the Use of Fluoride
Dentists recommend brushing with fluoride toothpaste as this helps protect the teeth’s enamel and can prevent cavities and tooth decay. Make sure you’re brushing your child’s teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
Dentists also suggest drinking fluoridated tap water to further protect tooth enamel. Talk to your dentist about the proper ways of using fluoride with your children.
8. Give Your Children Gum
While chewing gum might not seem like it falls on the list of healthy habits, it actually helps with your child’s dental health. Make sure that the gum you’re giving to your child is sugar-free. It’s also best to give them gum to chew after they’ve had their lunch or dinner.
Chewing gum produces more saliva. When there’s more saliva in the mouth, the amount of bacteria decreases. This will also decrease the acid that can lead to tooth decay.
9. Visit the Dentist
One of the most important tips for your kid is to visit a children’s dentist every six months. Taking your child to the dentist can help prevent tooth decay by allowing your dentist to tackle any issues before they get worse.
Visiting the dentist will also teach your children the importance of taking charge of their dental health when they enter adulthood.
The Best Dental Tips You Should Know
Helping your kids learn good dental hygiene early is key to maintaining healthy teeth. The dental tips listed above are some of the most important every parent and kid should know. Contact us with any additional questions you may have or to schedule your first appointment with Kids Stop Dental.