One of the first things parents with young children start to worry about is how to teach them proper oral hygiene. Teaching good dental habits at an early age helps prevent tooth decay and establishes oral health habits that will last a lifetime. Learning how to protect their teeth at a very young age gives children a good foundation to build on as they grow.
Establish Good Dental Habits With Children
Good dental habits include brushing, flossing, eating a healthy diet, and visiting the dentist regularly. Below we discuss how to help your child establish these healthy behaviors.
Proper Brushing and Flossing Techniques
Your dentist will show you and your child the proper way to brush and floss their teeth. Make sure you pay close attention so you can help the child practice when they begin to brush their teeth at home. The dentist will offer advice on the type of toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste that’s best for your child.
Related article: Are You Flossing Your Teeth the Right Way?
Eating the Right Foods
It’s also important to teach your child what foods are good for their teeth and what ones should be avoided. Staying away from sugary drinks is only part of the equation. Good dental habits also include eating calcium-rich foods that help to strengthen tooth enamel and gums. Proper nutrition helps keep teeth healthy and strong so they are better able to resist cavities and decay.
Learn more about good nutrition for healthy teeth here.
The Importance of Regular Dental Visits for Children
In order to prevent dental problems and detect oral health issues early, a check-up is recommended every six months once a child’s baby teeth begin growing in. However, your child’s dentist can give you an idea of when and how often your child needs dental checkups. (Source: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry)
Starting between the ages of 4 to 6, your child’s regular dental visits will include x-rays to check for cavities. Once your child’s permanent teeth grow in, around age 7 to 9, your dentist may suggest a dental sealant which is a resin that is painted on the tooth to prevent decay.
Related article: Dental Sealants – Pros and Cons
Finding Dental Health Problems Early
Oral health problems often go unnoticed until they become serious enough to cause pain or discomfort. If you notice any changes in your child’s mouth or teeth, make an appointment with your dentist. He or she might recommend an x-ray of the teeth to check for cavities or gum disease.
Getting to Know the Dentist
One of the most important habits to establish with children is visiting the dentist on a regular basis. Children should be introduced to the family dentist around their first birthday. The dentist will evaluate their teeth and gums and offer suggestions on how to properly care for their teeth. Establishing this relationship early will prevent the child from being afraid of the dentist later.
Good dental habits start at a young age. Parents can start to show children how to care for their teeth as soon as they are able to hold a toothbrush. Taking the time to teach proper brushing and flossing techniques means fewer cavities and brighter, whiter smiles. Talk to your dentist to find out how you can help your child establish positive dental habits that will last them a lifetime.
Ultimate Smile Design, located in Palm Bay, FL, is proud to be a kid-friendly dental practice. We’d love to help you establish good dental habits with your children. Contact us today for an appointment. We look forward to providing dental care for your entire family.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in August 2017 and has been updated with fresh content.