The American Dental Association recommends that a child’s first visit to a dental clinic should take place by their first birthday or approximately six months after the child’s first tooth becomes visible. Early childhood dental care is necessary once a child’s healthy feeding habits have been established. Parents are responsible for teaching their kids essential oral health habits so the children can continue to maintain healthy teeth throughout their adult life.
Brush Twice A Day
Just because a child’s primary teeth fall out does not mean they should be neglected. Parents need to begin brushing their child’s teeth as soon as the first milk tooth breaks through, usually around six months. A baby’s teeth can be wiped with a soft cloth or with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush dipped in just water. During the toddler years, you can add a pea-sized amount of low-fluoride toothpaste. Make brushing your child’s teeth a part of their daily routine, once after breakfast and again before bedtime.
Toss In A Floss
While teaching your child to floss is not as easy as getting them to brush, it is an equally important part of maintaining good oral hygiene. Inform your kids that where brushing cleans the front and backs of their teeth, regular flossing will ensure that all food particulars are removed from between the teeth, reducing the risk of plaque build-up. A family dentist will recommend that parents begin flossing their children’s teeth once they have two teeth that touch one another. As they grow older, take the time to teach your kids to floss independently and maybe reward them with a small toy or sticker for getting it right.
Encourage your kids to eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water from a young age, so it will not only prevent them from developing serious health conditions but will be beneficial in maintaining healthy teeth. Avoid giving them too many sugary snacks and beverages, which will wear down their teeth enamel and increase the risk of cavities. Instead, provide them with a well-balanced diet consisting of lean proteins, vegetables and fruits. This is not to say they can never enjoy a special treat, just be sure they brush their teeth immediately after.
Dental Visits Are A Must
Realizing that even babies can develop cavities on their teeth should encourage parents to bring them to a dentist early on. Regular dental visits will familiarize your child with the entire process of having their teeth checked to detect any problems. The visits will also ensure if your child’s home dental routine is working or if it requires any adjustments.
Skip the Chewing
One negative oral habit to watch for in kids is constant chewing. Chewing on hard substances can not only damage tooth enamel but increase the risk of teeth chipping or breaking entirely. Now kids love to chew on pacifiers as babies, suck on thumbs as toddlers and bite on pencils as they get older. Parents need to prevent chewing from becoming a habit which can lead to damaged or poorly spaced teeth, by constantly reminding kids to remove the items from their mouths.
Be A Good Leader
Kids want to do everything their parents do, so be sure to set a good example when it comes to practicing oral hygiene. Brush your teeth when your kids brush theirs so they can become aware of establishing healthy oral habits. Don’t eat or drink what you don’t want them to consume on a regular basis. Discuss healthy nutrition guidelines in a fun and educational manner. Accompany them to the dentist and allow them to see you getting your teeth and gums checked.
Good oral hygiene is extremely important to maintain overall health, regardless of how old a person is. Children look up to their parents for model behavior, so make it a point to deliver, especially when it comes to displaying good oral hygiene. Encourage your kids to take care of their teeth from an early age so they can avoid any serious dental conditions such as bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease.