Proper dental hygiene begins early on. Without it, cavities, infections, and diseases may trouble your children for the rest of their lives.
But, let’s face it, children are unpredictable. Getting them to brush their teeth the right way might seem like an overly difficult task that just isn’t worth it. After all, their baby teeth will just fall out, right?
Well, not exactly. Starting your child off with the right oral hygiene practices will ensure they’re able to take care of their teeth and prevent serious dental health problems long after they leave home.
Luckily, we’ve assembled these tips to help ensure your child is set up for dental health success.
1. Brush Teeth at Least Twice a Day
Before your child even starts teething, it’s important to run a wet washcloth over their gums after feeding. This prevents bacteria from building up on the gums.
As soon as you notice the first tooth sprouting up out of your baby’s gums, it’s time to start brushing. Regular brushing is the easiest way to protect your child from serious oral health problems.
Until your child can brush on their own, you’ll need to help them out. Brush their teeth at least twice a day.
It’s best to have a regular brushing routine. Not only will that protect your child’s teeth, but it will also help them get into the habit of brushing regularly when they start to handle the task on their own.
Make sure you’re using the proper brushing technique, too. You should brush every tooth with gentle, but firm circular motions. Be careful not to apply too much pressure to the sensitive gum line.
2. Use the Right Toothpaste
Babies and kids are sensitive. Because of this, you should make sure you’re using the right toothpaste when it comes time to start brushing.
Opt for a baby or child-specific toothpaste that features fluoride. You should also only use about a rice-sized amount of toothpaste on an infant toothbrush when brushing a baby’s teeth.
The toothpaste used should also carry the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of approval. Be sure to prevent any swallowing while brushing your child’s teeth, even if the toothpaste has a “swallow safe” label.
3. Add Flossing to Your Dental Hygiene Routine
As soon as your child’s teeth are touching, it’s time to add flossing into your routine. You won’t need to do this when your child is a baby and teeth spacing is sporadic. But, when those gaps begin to close, you need to be flossing at least once a day.
We recommend flossing in the evening when your child’s mouth is full of food and gunk. Getting your child used to the process of flossing is essential for creating great oral health habits that will carry over into their teenage and adult years.
Flossing is also the number one way to prevent cavities, which can save you and your child a lot of pain and money.
4. Keep Track of Your Child’s Diet
Diet is more important to our dental health than you might realize. This is especially true for children, who have more of a taste for sweet things.
It’s a well-known fact that over-consumption of sugar and carbohydrates can lead to cavities. Acidic foods such as citrus may also lead to cavities and gum disease, so it’s best to consume these in moderation.
Drinking milk or eating yogurt may help strengthen the bones of growing teeth, so adding these to your child’s diet is always a bonus.
5. Visit Your Dentist
Your child should become familiar with the dentist office early on. Going to the dentist regularly is an important part of monitoring your child’s health.
Finding the right dentist in Nolensville doesn’t have to be difficult, either. Look for someone who makes a trip to the dentist as fun and painless as possible.
We recommend seeing your child’s dentist at least every 6-months for a check-up. This is especially important for infants and those who are just growing their teeth. This way, you can deal with dental concerns before they can get worse.
6. Monitor for Signs of Complications
During brushing, take a little time to inspect your child’s mouth for any potential concerns. You can look for cracks, holes, swelling, or dark spots on teeth that could be a sign of a potential complication.
You should also see the dentist right away if it seems your child is experiencing any pain. Crying, refusing to eat, and pawing at their face may all be signs that your child is experiencing a toothache.
7. Make Oral Hygiene Fun
Once your child starts brushing on their own, they may still need a helping hand. Monitor their early brushing to ensure they’re using the proper technique. To motivate them further, brush alongside them to turn brushing (and flossing) into a fun activity for the whole family.
If your child is struggling to stick to their dental health routine, turn it into a game. Use a sticker chart and reward system to keep them motivated to brush. You can also turn it into a competition that the whole family can participate in.
For example, if you brush and floss, give yourself a sticker. Same for your child. Whoever has the most stickers at the end of the week gets a reward, such as a fun eraser or cool poster!
Try to stay away from food-based rewards, as these can often be damaging to your child’s dental and physical health.
Set Your Child Up for a Lifetime of Success
Dental hygiene is a skill learned early on in life. Set your child up for a lifetime of healthy, beautiful teeth by following these simple tips. Together, you can make sure your child’s smile sparkles for the rest of their life.
Request an appointment with our office to check in on your child’s dental health. Our team is fun, gentle, and knowledgeable. Our goal is the same as yours: to set your child up for a healthy life.