February is National Children’s Dental Health month, making it the perfect opportunity to become more cognizant of your children’s dental habits. There are plenty of responsibilities that come with being a parent, and promoting the health benefits of strong oral hygiene is definitely one of them.
You need to help your children develop the proper routines that will protect them from tooth decay and other dental health problems. Below are five habits to instill among your children (or do for them) to promote good dental care.
Water is a part of life and directly affects the health your teeth. Make sure your children are drinking plenty of water and not overdoing it on sugary drinks like pop. Better yet, fluoride water can make the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay and promotes remineralization, which aids in repairing early decay before damage is visible. The theme of this year’s National Children’s Dental Health month is “Choose Tap Water for a Sparkling Smile.”
It’s strongly encouraged to send your kids off to school with a packed lunch and snacks. By packing their lunch you can better control what they are consuming and hopefully you make sure it’s healthy! Pack them foods like yogurt and cheese to help build strong teeth and crunchy food like apples and carrots to help remove plaque. Furthermore, to make sure they aren’t frequently hitting the vending machines for ice cream, candy, and chips, steer them toward healthier snack options like string cheese and nuts.
For those with new little ones, don’t let them fall asleep with a baby bottle in their mouth. The extended exposure to its contents can increase tooth decay. Also related here is if your child is still sucking his or her thumb once permanent teeth begin to come in, get them to stop. It can cause the teeth to become crooked.
When your child turns three it’s a good time to start teaching them how to brush their own teeth. Early on, you may need to follow-up their efforts by gently brushing their teeth again. But don’t solely teach and demonstrate proper brushing techniques – once your kids have mastered the routine, make sure you’re checking in now and then that they are sustaining the proper process. By the age of six, they should have the hang of it, and that’s a good time to introduce them to flossing.
Let’s be frank: a dentist’s office can be a frightening one for the little ones. Finding the right dentist, and then maintaining checkups at that dentist, is critical for your child’s oral health. Around the time they turn one is a good occasion to have your child start seeing a dentist every six months or so. At that frequency, cavities can be dealt with easily before something worse develops. Establishing a strong relationship with your family dentist is also beneficial, as he or she can communicate and guide you on your child’s oral health journey.
And if you’re looking for a family dentist, we are a family friendly office and even offer family dental plans. Come in for a no-obligation tour and meet our staff!