Knowing that you need to take care of your children’s teeth seems simple, but knowing how is not as intuitive. With the U.S. having some of the worst dental problems in the world among developed nations, and children demonstrating a particularly high risk for things like cavities, tooth decay, and gingivitis it’s particularly important that we take care of our children’s teeth the right way and instill in them how to do it on their own.
With regular care and a little bit of extra work, most people can ensure that they keep their real teeth for most, if not all of their life. However, it’s easy to get off track with your dental care, and getting back can cost many thousands of dollars or years of more-highly-attentive care just to get back to a healthy baseline. With the tips below, you’ll be able to help set your child up with healthy dental habits and years of smooth sailing with their teeth.
5 Dental Care Tips for Children at a Young Age
By the time they reach adolescence, many kids in the U.S. already have cavities in at least one of their permanent teeth. They’re also more set in their ways than their younger peers. These are just a couple of reasons why waiting to install good dental hygiene habits, as well as the fact that there’s no clear time when permanent teeth start being affected. Assuming that children’s teeth will be ok because they have a new set coming in is faulty. With the tips below, you can start instilling good habits before they’re even a full-blown toddler.
1. Regular Brushing at an Early Age
One of the main questions new parents have about their baby’s oral health is, when is a good time to start brushing? The answer is now. However early it is, bacteria can start building up in your baby’s mouth and that bacteria can affect the health of their teeth, even if they haven’t come in yet. Using a soft, wet cloth or a soft finger brush will help knock down that bacteria and get your baby used to brushing.
2. Regular Trips to The Dentist
When to go to the dentist with a new baby is another question that most new parents don’t know the answer to and that you might get wildly different areas on, is when to bring a baby to the dentist. The answer is actually kind of conducive; it’s once they have teeth to be checked or by the time they’re a year old. Coming in within a few months of the first tooth is advisable and they should continue after that every six months, or as your dentist recommends.
3. Avoiding Sugary Drinks and Snacks
As we’ve probably all lamented at some point, sugar is unavoidable. However, there are things we can do to avoid it, especially when it’s so relevant to preventing tooth decay. Sugary foods can cause tooth decay by leaving excess sugar on the teeth that will eventually turn into an acid capable of breaking down tooth enamel. This makes soda and other sugary, carbonated beverages a double-whammy, as both the acids in the soda and the eventual acid from the sugar in the soda can wear down tooth enamel.
While cutting-out soda may be as simple as setting more discipline and pushing healthy drink options, sugary snacks aren’t as easy to avoid. Making sure children rinse after their snacks can help cut down the sugar on their teeth and the guilt you might have about letting them have it.
4. Rinsing After Meals
As alluded to in step three, rinsing after you eat is a good way to avoid unnecessary decay in the teeth. While it may seem unconventional, rinsing with just water will help reduce the build-up of plaque and tartar in your mouth and help take care of anything that might be in your teeth. Teaching children to do this at a young age can make it second nature, rather than something they have to learn to do as an adult.
5. Flossing When Teeth Start to Touch
Another daily exercise that will be much easier for children to pick up if they start young, is flossing. Something many of us are notoriously bad at, starting to floss your children’s teeth when they’re young will help teach it to them as a routine. As soon as two teeth start to touch, you can start to floss your children’s teeth. This will also help them avoid the shock of the pain that comes with flossing if they don’t do it regularly.
Clean Teeth Means Happy Children
As long as you take consistent care of your teeth, your dental care shouldn’t have to be the issue that it is for many Americans. By getting your children started early, you can be sure that oral health isn’t on their list of problems as an adult. Just follow these tips to prevent your child’s teeth and schedule their first cleaning with a local dentist when the time comes!