As a parent, we know you want your child to be happy and healthy all the time. This includes their dental health! We want that too.
Knowing how to properly care for your children’s teeth, even if they are still baby teeth, is vitally important. It will affect their smiles for the rest of their lives!
As a reminder for how to best promote your child’s dental health, we have put together this quick list of must-dos for caring for your child’s teeth:
1. Brush Properly
There is a difference between brushing teeth and brushing teeth properly.
In order to get the best results, short and long term, your child’s teeth should be brushed at least twice a day. At the bare minimum, once after breakfast and once before bed.
How long should you brush? 2-3 minutes.
2. Clean Between Their Teeth
It can be easy to skip flossing when it comes to your kids. We know it’s hard enough to keep their teeth brushed some days, but flossing should be developed as a habit early on.
If your child’s teeth have little or no spaces between them, it is especially important to keep in between teeth cleaned so there is no plaque buildup and far less chance of cavities.
3. Replace Toothbrushes Regularly
Not only do toothbrushes simply wear out and become less effective as they do so, they can also get germ build-up over time, which could lead to infection.
For this reason, you should be replacing your child’s toothbrush every 3 months.
4. Monitor Foods and Drinks
Again, we know your child’s health is important to you, and what your child is eating and drinking is a huge part of that. This is not only true for the rest of their bodies, but also for their teeth.
Plaque thrives on the sugary residue left on the teeth after your child eats or drinks something unhealthy. Cavities are sneaky and stubborn, so you want to do whatever you can to keep them away, including limiting your child’s intake of sugary foods and drink.
5. Don’t Forget About the Gums
Dental health involves your gums as much as it does your teeth. Practicing all these good habits with your child will ascertain that both their teeth and their gums are healthy.
Healthy gums should be firm and a healthy pink rather than puffy and reddened. If you noticed that your child’s gums look unhealthy, it is definitely time for a trip to the dentist.
We’ve seen it all too many times: Parents think that dental health is not extremely important in young children because their baby teeth have not yet fallen out. This is not true.
Poor dental health doesn’t just affect the teeth that they will one day lose; it also affects the gums. And you don’t want to create long term gum problems due to the assumption that only permanent teeth need to be preserved.
6. Teach Your Child to Practice Good Dental Health
Maintaining good oral health should be carried through childhood and into adulthood, which is why it is important that you teach your children to build healthy habits like the ones we’ve just mentioned.
You do these things for your children for their health, yes; but also to teach them how to do it themselves. By teaching them how to practice oral hygiene on their own as they get old enough (and practicing it yourself!), you are setting them up for happy and healthy smiles for the rest of their lives.
Don’t just tell. Show!
7. Go to the Dentist!
Building those healthy oral habits at home is absolutely necessary, but if we’re honest, there are just some things you cannot do at home that your child needs, such as professional grade cleaning, caps, fillings, etc.
A good rule of thumb is to take your child to the dentist at least twice a year.
As much as possible, only speak positively about the dentist! The worst thing you can do is put a fear of the dentist in your child’s mind. It makes the experience far more unpleasant for your child as well as making the dentist’s job (and yours as a parent) more difficult.
Talk about the dentist as if it were an adventure for your kid!
If you are looking for a child-friendly, compassionate dentist for you and your family–one that cares about individual needs and positive experiences–contact us at Southern Dental Associates. We have four wonderful facilities in four locations, and we are prepared to serve every member of your family, no matter the age.