Top 10 Tips for Keeping Your Kids’ Teeth Healthy
Every parent has heard the horror stories of kids who have daily tantrums about brushing their teeth, but you also realize how important it is to instill healthy dental habits in your kids at a young age. Dental health is linked to overall health and well-being, and the steps taken while kids are young can have life-long impacts. Here are 10 helpful tips for keeping your kids’ teeth healthy (and maintaining your sanity as a parent).
1. Encourage healthy eating habits.
What you eat affects the health of your teeth as much as how well you care for them. Avoid sugary foods and sticky, gummy treats that may stick to teeth. Instead, encourage kids to eat healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water, and limit snacking between brushing.
2. Make brushing fun.
Not all kids enjoy brushing their teeth, let alone flossing. Buy kid-friendly floss picks, toothpaste, and tooth brushes to make brushing fun.
3. Make sure they brush twice per day.
Kids who don’t yet have their adult teeth should brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water or kid-friendly toothpaste. If you have a baby who has not yet broken teeth, wipe her gums using an infant gum massager to promote healthy teeth and gums.
4. Help your kids brush their teeth.
Some kids are able to master the art of brushing their teeth thoroughly at a young age, while others will require help for several more years. Help your kids brush their teeth twice daily until you’re certain that they’re effectively brushing all areas.
5. Use fluoride toothpaste.
Experts suggest that parents begin using a fluoride toothpaste with children at age three. Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and be sure that your child spits it out rather than swallowing it.
6. Visit a dentist regularly.
It’s a good idea to schedule your child’s first dental visit by the age of one, but all children should see a dentist by age three. The sooner you begin regular dentist visits, the more comfortable your child will feel with your dental provider.
7. Encourage your kids to drink water frequently.
When your kids begin to attend school, it’s not always possible to brush after every meal or snack. However, plain water can help to flush away food particles and debris from around the teeth between brushing, which can help to ward off potential decay. Encourage your children to rinse their mouths with plain water throughout the day.
8. Talk to your dentist about sealants.
If your children are prone to cavities, they may benefit from sealants, a coating applied by dentists that can help to protect cavity-prone areas. Kids with some hereditary conditions, such as amelogenesis imperfecta (a condition that causes porous enamel), may benefit from sealants.
9. Embrace flossing.
For kids who don’t like brushing, flossing is even more frightening, but flossing is one of the most important things you can do for healthy teeth and gums. Fortunately, kid-friendly floss picks make the task much simpler for children. Have your dentist or hygienist show your children how to floss properly and make sure you know the proper technique so that you can guide them at home.
10. Use both manual and electric toothbrushes.
Kids often get excited by fancy electric toothbrushes, especially those that play music or perform other interesting tricks. While electric toothbrushes are a good way to get your kids interested in brushing, you should alternate between these and regular, manual brushes to be sure that your children learn the proper brushing technique.
As a parent, you worry about many aspects of your children’s health. By implementing these 10 tips, you can have confidence that you’re doing everything possible to protect that bright, healthy smile that brings you so much joy.
Katybeth Dee was inspired to co-create SelfExam.org after her sister was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 23. She hopes to use the site to spread awareness on preventing illness, as well as lend support to those currently facing their own medical battles. She lives in California with her golden retriever, Luna.
Image 1 via Pixabay by wjgomes.
Image 2 via Traci Burke Photography.