When you think about it, as parents we commit so much time, energy, and focus to ensuring that our children have healthy, happy lives. From the time we see that pink line on a pregnancy test or receive the call that the child we’ve prayed for is here, we change our habits to benefit these kids we barely even know yet. As these kids grow, so do their habits – both good and bad. Good dental care should fall into the good and healthy habits you instill in your child at a young age. In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, I’ve compiled a few tips you can use to keep your children’s teeth healthy. Remember, healthy adult teeth start with healthy kids teeth!
- BRUSHING. This is an obvious one to most people but the details behind this tip may surprise some of you. Did you know that you should start brushing your children’s teeth at the sight of the first tooth? Even babies can develop tooth decay if their mouths aren’t properly cleaned and taken care of. Before they know how to spit instead of swallow the toothpaste, make sure you put a drop of toothpaste on their toothbrush that’s the size of a grain of rice. Once they’ve mastered how to spit, you can put toothpaste that’s the size of a pea. A lot of kids are reluctant to brush their teeth and may put up a bit of a fight at first. But like anything else, the more consistent they are, the more it ends up just coming natural to them and a part of their routine.
- DENTAL APPOINTMENTS. Children can go to the dentist as early as 6 months after their first tooth comes in or 6 months after their first birthday, whichever comes first. You should then typically take your children for dental appointments every six months, just like you do for yourself. This will help to get them into a routine of going and although the first few visits may be scary and they may be hesitant, the more you take them, the more comfortable they’ll become with going which will help later on down the road.
- NO FOOD OR DRINKS BEFORE BED. It’s so important to avoid food and especially milk and juice before bed. As a rule of thumb, once your child has brushed their teeth at night, there should be no more food or drink with the exception of water. Milk and juice that are left on teeth overnight are cause for cavities which should be avoided at all costs.
- USE FLUORIDE. I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of a water snob. I can drink water nonstop, all day, every day. Along with that comes the fact that I can’t stand tap water and I definitely need water from a water bottle. Which means that I get zero fluoride from my water intake. And I bet I’m not the only one. Fluoride is important to keep teeth healthy because it strengthens tooth enamel and helps repair early damage to teeth. Make sure you pick a toothpaste for your children which contains fluoride so that they’re getting this daily for stronger, healthier teeth.
- BE A ROLE MODEL. We are our kid’s biggest role models. Whether it’s good or bad habits that they pick up from us, they are constantly watching what we do and how we do it and our reactions to every situation life throws at us. Then they incorporate all of those habits into their own lives. Instead of telling your kids how or when to brush and floss their teeth, do it with them. Turn it into a family routine instead of another boring chore for them to be told to do. They’re watching you at every turn so you might as well have them mimic some good, healthy habits that will benefit them.
Ultimately, these things should be taught early on to achieve maximum results in your family with your kids. Developing good habits at an early age will transform into good habits as adults too. Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month by giving us a call today to schedule your child’s next (or first!) appointment: Charmoy Dental Associates – (973)584-0008.