For many parents, incorporating good dental habits into their child’s routine is a daily battle. The parental concern for oral health is common because it is nearly always met with resistance. All of the steps that go along with taking care of your teeth can be very scary for little ones, so it’s important to introduce healthy habits in a fun way. Here are a few easy steps to make the experience a positive one:
- Incorporating dentist visits into fun family days.
- Reading fun picture books about oral health.
- Kids love to pretend, so encourage your child to play “dentist” with their toys.
The most important thing is to instill positivity into your child’s dental experience. If they feel secure about the basics of oral hygiene, they will be much more likely to continue practicing those habits into adulthood.
So what are the most important aspects of dental health to focus on when your children are young?
Regular dentist visits
Visiting the dentist twice a year from the time your child is 3-4 years old will help to prevent any issues from becoming serious in the future. If you neglect these bi-annual appointments, plaque that could have been easily removed will turn into tartar and cause a whole host of problems in adulthood. Most kids are scared of the dentist, but a parents can ease these fears by making it a fun experience and talking to their kids about what it will be like and why it’s important.
Brushing and flossing
It’s easy to neglect flossing in particular when your children are young, but these two simple habits will have major payoff both in childhood and their older years. Establishing a consistent regimen of brushing twice daily and flossing once is perhaps the most important thing you can do as a parent to set your child up for a lifetime of oral health success. These steps combined are the main way that plaque is removed and gums stay healthy.
Sugar tends to be a common component in a typical child’s diet, but this is one of ways to set a young one up for serious dental issues in the future. Not only will they have to deal with easily preventable tooth decay and gum inflammation in adulthood, but they will most likely have to get cavities filled or even a tooth pulled if the decay becomes severe in childhood. Cut the juice and excess sugar now, and instead fill their diets with wholesome foods that are full of vitamins and minerals that will fortify their teeth as opposed to breaking them down.
Cutting a sucking habit
Most kids have given up on sucking their thumb or a pacifier by the age of four, but if your child has not, chances are it will be a difficult process to kick the habit. Permanent teeth start to come in around the age of six for most kids, and sucking can cause serious damage to tooth alignment. If your child is four years old or older and is still using their thumb or pacifier for soothing, now is the time to begin cutting the habit.
Creating a solid dental regimen for your child by incorporating just a few steps into their daily routine and maintaining their dentist appointments every six months will set them up for a lifetime of success. Call us today to schedule an appointment for your little ones! We love our young patients and will take every measure to ensure they can enjoy a healthy mouth into adulthood.