Keeping your children’s oral health on track is not a complicated process but it does take consistency. The reward of being consistent about your children’s oral care is that you will set them up for a lifetime of good oral health. There are four actions you can take that can help you get and keep your children’s oral health on track: develop the habit of brushing early on, make flossing a normal part of the routine, establish a good relationship with the dentist, and provide a diet high in nutritious foods.
Develop the habit of brushing early on
Brushing is a cornerstone habit for good oral health. Throughout the day your children eat and drink things that leave particles on their teeth. Bacteria also regularly build up in your child’s mouth. Brushing removes many of the particles and bacteria that accumulate. It is important to help your child brush regularly because a buildup of food particles and bacteria can lead to painful decay and gum disease. Helping your children develop the habit of brushing early on is an important part of keeping their oral health on track.
Make flossing a normal part of the routine
Flossing is an oral hygiene task that many adults struggle to do consistently. It can seem less important than brushing because it doesn’t have an immediate impact on the way your teeth look. The reality is that flossing is extremely important. It removes food particles and bacteria that brushing simply cannot reach. Over time, skipping out on flossing can lead to decay and gum disease. You can help your children establish the important habit of flossing by making it just as essential to the daily routine as brushing. You may even want to have your child floss twice per day along with brushing as a way to really establish the habit. One tip to make flossing more fun is to purchase colorful individual flossers. Some companies make flossers that have fun designs and interesting flavors. Something as simple as a flosser shaped like a giraffe can make a big difference in how willing your child is to floss every day.
Establish a good relationship with the dentist
Going to the dentist is something your children will need to do throughout life. If you can help them establish a good relationship with the dentist now it can help set the tone for future interactions with the dentist. Ultimately, you want to make sure that going to the dentist for routine care is an overall positive experience. The dentist you choose for your kids will have a big impact on how they feel about the process. Find a dentist who works with children regularly to ensure that the environment and experience is kid-friendly.
Provide a diet high in nutritious foods
A high-quality diet can have a direct impact on the health of your children’s teeth. Nutritious food provides the vitamins and nutrients that are necessary for healthy teeth. A low-quality diet can make issues such as decay and gum disease more likely for you children. Feeding your children a diet that includes mostly nutritious foods can help protect the health of their teeth and establish a lifelong habit of eating well.
Keeping your children’s oral health on track with consistent effort is much easier than dealing with the consequences of subpar oral care. The effort you put in now to help your kids establish good oral care habits will benefit them throughout their lives. If you are looking for a dentist who regularly works with kids in St. Augustine and surrounding areas, check out Dr. Singh at Dental Remedies.
Getting dental care for your kids is an important part of setting them up for a lifetime of oral health. In order to ensure that you get the proper type of dental care for your kids it is important to understand what they need. Some of the care kids need is the same as adults but there are elements of dental care that are unique to kids who are growing and changing.
Routine dental cleanings are an important part of proper oral care for kids. These cleanings should happen at least twice per year – the same as with adults. During routine cleanings any plaque, tartar, or other buildup on your child’s teeth will be removed. This will help protect against decay and gum problems. Your child will also learn about properly cleaning and caring for his or her teeth during routine dental visits. Another benefit of these visits is that your child will get in the habit of going to the dentist twice per year. Starting early with this important habit can impact your child’s oral health throughout life.
Treatment for cavities
It is not uncommon for children to get cavities. Part of getting your kids the dental care they need is making sure they get treatment for any cavities that develop. Routine dental visits will allow your child’s dentist to notice signs of cavities before the decay can do too much damage to the tooth. Decay is a progressive issue that will not go away on its own. The only way to protect your child’s teeth from the damage of decay is to get prompt treatment for cavities.
Monitoring of changes
Another important part of getting your kids the dental care they need is monitoring for changes. Things can change quickly inside the mouth of a growing child. As your child has teeth grow in it is important to have them looked at by the dentist relatively quickly. This is important when your child has baby teeth and when the permanent teeth start to grow in. The dentist will look for signs of issues that may need further attention. Examples of issues that can be caught early are problems with bite and crooked teeth. If your child needs specialized help your dentist can make a recommendation so you can get intervention early on.
Getting your kids to the dentist regularly will help prevent issues related to plaque and tartar buildup. Routine cleanings are an important part of protecting your child’s oral health and developing good habits. They will also allow you to get them treatment for cavities and referrals to specialists when needed. All of these elements work together to provide your kids with the dental care they need.
Kids can learn in a number of different ways. If you want your kids to learn about good oral hygiene you can give them information to read or listen to from experts on the topic. You can also ask their dentist to emphasize the important of good oral hygiene during appointments. But, as a parent, the most effective way you can teach your kids about good oral hygiene is by modeling it for them. Your kids will see your actions in relation to oral hygiene and (hopefully) learn some good habits.
Talk about how the foods you eat impact your teeth
As an adult, you know that there are certain foods and substances that can have a negative impact on your teeth. Some foods make decay more likely while others can damage enamel when consumed in excess. And, there are foods that can provide important nutrients for teeth. Talk about these things around your kids. If you are having a piece of candy, mention the fact that you will brush extra well before bed to get rid of the sugar on your teeth. When you pile veggies on you plate point out how vitamin-rich foods are good for the health of your teeth. Making these connections between diet and oral health is a way to model good food choices to your kids.
Enforce the routine of brushing and flossing for your kids
Every family has those nights or mornings when everyone is exhausted and it is tempting to skip the routine of brushing and flossing in favor of heading straight to bed or out the door. This is especially tempting when kids are in a stage where they fuss about having to brush and floss. These difficult nights give you the opportunity to model the true importance of consistent oral care. If you enforce the routine of brushing and flossing for your kids – even on the tough nights or mornings – it can help them develop the habit of proper oral care in all situations.
Let your kids see you brush and floss
In order to model good oral hygiene to your kids you need to let them see you brush and floss from time to time. It is not practical to make this happen every evening when you go to bed later than the kids. But you can likely make it happen from time to time. There is a time during childhood when kids want to do everything like the adults in their lives – take advantage of that when it comes to proper oral care! Let your kids see your process, share your toothpaste, or get matching toothbrushes. Little things like this can model good oral hygiene to your kids.
Make the dentist a family affair
Going to the dentist regularly is an important part of proper oral care. You can share this fact with your kids by making the dentist a family affair. Find a dentist who can provide care to your whole family. You can schedule appointments in such a way that your kids see you making them a priority in your own life.
It takes time for a habit to really become established for a child. Modeling good oral hygiene is something you will need to do for several years for the habits to stick for your children. It is not a complicated process but it does require consistency.
There are some lessons that you will have to teach your children over and over before they sink in. And sometimes you have to let kids learn a lesson the hard way before they truly understand the benefits of listening to your advice. One area where you should not let your kids learn the hard way is with oral health. The reality is that permanent teeth show up pretty early in a child’s life – the first baby teeth start to fall out around kindergarten for most kids. If you do not start teaching your kids early and consistently about good oral health it could have life-long consequences. For example, decay in a permanent tooth during childhood can weaken the tooth and lead to a lifetime of trouble with it. Make it a priority in your life to keep your child’s oral health on track. Eventually (hopefully) your child will internalize the lessons you teach and create a habit of practicing good oral hygiene.
It is never too early to start taking care of your child’s oral health. Babies do not start out with teeth but you can still begin teaching proper oral care. Make brushing teeth (gums) a part of the nightly routine. As your child grows, brushing will simply be part of what you do each night to get ready for bed.
Set a good example
Little kids love to imitate adults. You can use this to your advantage when it comes to keeping your child’s oral health on track. Set an example for oral care that you want your child to imitate. In order to do this, you need to make sure your kids see you caring for your oral health. Let them observe you brushing, flossing, and going to routine dental visits.
Be consistent in your efforts
Some kids resist your efforts to take care of their oral health. You may have a child who fights you on brushing, flossing, and going to the dentist. It is tempting to give in from time to time just to get a break from the battle. When it comes to oral hygiene, however, you simply cannot give up. It is worth the effort it takes to protect the oral health of your child. There are a few tactics you can try to make oral care more fun.
Take your child to the store to pick out a toothbrush featuring a favorite character.
Play a song your child loves while brushing to help with timing.
Add brushing to the chore chart and tie it to your child’s allowance.
These are just three ideas that you can try to help your child develop the habit of good oral care – and hopefully end the battle.
Starting early, setting a good example, and being consistent in your efforts will all help you keep your child’s oral health on track. Another important step in this process is to develop a good relationship with the dentist. At Dental Remedies, we regularly work with young patients and would love to help your child start to develop life-long habits that lead to good oral health.