Start Your Children Off With Good Dental Habits

Kid Friendly Dentist Palm Bay FL

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 early helps prevent tooth decay and establishes oral health habits that will last a lifetime. Learning 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

Practicing good dental hygiene habits such as regular brushing and flossing can effectively remove plaque from our teeth and prevent its harmful consequences. Establishing an oral hygiene routine, including proper oral care, eating a healthy diet, and visiting the dentist regularly to maintain healthy teeth and gums throughout our lifetime, is essential. Taking these preventive measures helps avoid painful dental issues and keeps teeth strong.

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 how to properly 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 advise 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

Tooth decay is a prevalent issue among children, with more than 4 in 10 kids experiencing decay in their baby teeth. This statistic highlights the importance of understanding whether your child is at risk for tooth decay. One significant factor that increases the risk is consuming excessive amounts of sugary foods and drinks. 

It’s important to teach your child what foods are good for their teeth and what they should avoid. Avoiding sugary drinks before bed minimizes the potential harm caused by sugary and acidic foods and beverages such as fruit juice. The decreased saliva production during sleep makes our teeth more susceptible to high sugar and acid content damage. 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 can better resist cavities and decay.

Learn more about good nutrition for healthy teeth here.

Wear a Mouthguard When Playing Sports

There are potential hazards for children who participate in sports. Occasionally, elbows fly, and children use sports equipment incorrectly. Your child may damage a tooth during an accidental collision or fall, leading to broken or knocked-out teeth. To protect your children’s healthy smiles, make sure they wear a mouthguard. Mouthguards act as shock absorbers, cushioning blows that could harm the teeth and gums.

The Importance of Regular Dental Visits for Children

Part of establishing healthy habits includes regular trips to the dentist. We recommend a check-up every six months once baby teeth begin growing to prevent dental problems and detect oral health issues early. However, your child’s dentist can tell you when and how often your child needs dental checkups. (Source: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry)

Between the ages of 4 and 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, a resin 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 severe enough to cause pain or discomfort. If you notice any changes in your child’s mouth or teeth, make an appointment with your dentist. They 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 regularly. Children should be introduced to the family dentist around their first birthday. The dentist will evaluate their teeth and gums and offer suggestions on properly caring for their teeth. Establishing this relationship early in youth will prevent the child from being afraid of the dentist later.

Good dental habits start at a young age. Parents can show children how to care for their teeth when they can 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.

Download our Brushing and Flossing Chart for a fun way to teach your children good daily routines!

Make Dental Habits Fun! Website Download Chart

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in August 2017 and has been updated with fresh content.