Good oral hygiene starts during childhood years. The earlier you can help your children establish and maintain a strong oral hygiene routine, the better. Getting this regiment in place at a young age minimizes dental issues and increases the likelihood that your kids will stick with their oral hygiene routines as they grow older.
Just a few things that you can be doing as a parent to help protect your kids' teeth:
- Consistency at home: Kids should be brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing once a day. It is easy to assume that because your children are brushing and flossing independently that they're doing a good job. Until kids reach age 11 or 12, you should be overseeing these routines and offering tips to help them improve their technique as needed.
- Limited sugary drinks and snacks: Make water a readily available option at home and on the go by keeping a full pitcher of purified water in the refrigerator and water bottles in the car. Offer healthy, delicious snacks including fruit, vegetables, cheese, whole wheat crackers, and rice cakes. Soda should be an occasional treat. When your children do drink soda, encourage them to use straws and rinse their mouths out with water afterward. Educate them about these foods and drinks, so that they know why they should be making choices that are good for their teeth.
- Regular dental checkups: A child can start visiting the dentist within six months of cutting his first tooth or around his first birthday. Establish a solid relationship with a dentist who works well with children to help your kids feel comfortable at the dentist. Then schedule regular six-month checkups so that the dentist can detect problems early including cavities and the need for orthodontics.
Here are some commonly asked questions about oral health in children:
Why Is Brushing Essential for Children?
Brushing a child’s teeth is essential for several reasons, including:
- Baby teeth support in maintaining the proper alignment of your child’s jaw, retain the space for adult teeth, and play a crucial role in how children adapt to chewing, smiling, and talking.
- Keeping your child's teeth healthy will also help to boost their confidence and participation in their social life
- Setting up good oral health habits early on in your child will help encourage lifelong habits.
What Dental Problems Can Arise in Kids?
If you are at risk of tooth decay or gum disease, your child might be more vulnerable to these problems. Therefore, sometimes even the right brushing and flossing routine may not be enough to prevent a cavity. Make sure to visit your family dentist if your child develops tooth pain, which could indicate a cavity that needs treatment.
When to Start the Right Oral Hygiene for Children
Many parents are curious to know about the right age to introduce brushing and flossing in their children. Usually, it is recommended to introduce flossing at a stage when the child's teeth are in contact with each other, mostly around the age of two to three years. At this stage, food particles can get trapped between the teeth and encourage the growth of bacteria and plaque. You should seek advice from your family dentist about the right age for your child to start flossing.
How to Brush You Baby's Teeth
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents wipe their baby’s gums after each feeding, using a gentle washcloth or a baby toothbrush without applying any toothpaste on it. You can also use a dentist-prescribed cleanser. When a child’s initial tooth becomes visible, parents should brush it for two minutes twice daily with a child-sized, soft-bristled, cushioned head toothbrush and a pea-sized bit of non-fluoridated toothpaste.
How Can You Prevent Cavities in Children?
Cavities develop when bacteria and food left on the teeth after eating are not eliminated through brushing. Acid collects on the teeth, softening the enamel until a hole or cavity is formed. Here's how to brush cavities away:
- Start good oral habits early
- Use enough fluoride
- Limit or avoid certain foods
- Have regular dental checkups
Contact Des Moines dentist Plaza Dental Group to know more about dental services such as a routine dental checkup, dental implants, sleep apnea, cosmetic dentistry, Invisalign, Six Month Smiles, etc.