Teaching your children about the importance of oral hygiene will not only promote good dental health while they are young, but it will also help them carry these habits into adulthood. Having good dental health as children will also greatly reduce the risk that the dentist becomes associated with something negative. Many children go on to avoid the dentist as adults because of a negative experience in childhood. With that in mind, here are the best oral hygiene practices to ensure your children have the best possible dental health.
- Brush Teeth Twice Each Day
Begin brushing your children’s teeth every day once your children’s teeth appear. Children who are two-years-old and older need to have their teeth brushed twice per day. Ensure that your toothpaste of choice contains fluoride; this will help to remove the plaque from your child’s teeth, which is a primary cause of cavities. Using a soft-bristled brush, brush back and forth; pay special attention to the inside of your children’s teeth because this area tends to collect plaque quickly. Brush the outer teeth by angling the toothbrush on the gum line. Remember that children should be supervised while brushing their teeth until they are six years of age.
- Floss Every Day
This will remove any plaque from your children’s teeth before it develops into tartar. Keep in mind that you cannot remove tartar by yourself—only your dentist can do this. You should do the flossing for your children once they turn four. Most children should be able floss on their own once they reach the age of eight.
- Eat a Healthy Diet
Reduce sugary and starchy foods in your children’s diet and instead feed them foods that promote dental health, such as celery and crunchy fruits like apples. Crunchy foods are ideal because they produce a lot of saliva, which helps to clean teeth and reduce the negative effects of acid, which causes cavities.
When preparing snacks for your children, ensure that they are low in carbs. Carbs turn into sugar, which produces acid, which eats away at tooth enamel and causes tooth decay (cavities). If children are snacking on these foods all day long, that means that they are constantly having acid eat away at their teeth. Carbs should be eaten with main meals so that the additional saliva will help offset this.
Children should also drink fluoridated water. Fluoride is a mineral that helps protect against cavities. Contact your local water district to see if there is fluoride in your drinking water. If there isn’t, consider having your children take fluoride supplements instead.
- Schedule Regular Dental Checkups and Cleanings
Going to the dentist twice a year (or every six months) will allow your children to get more comfortable with being at the dentist, while promoting good dental health at the same time. Children should see a dentist once their first tooth becomes visible and at least before your child’s first birthday.
Dawson Dental loves kids. If your child is in need of a dental checkup, contact our team of professionals today. We offer tailored services for children, including a trip to the treasure chest.