When it comes to kids’ dental care, building healthy habits at home is the most important thing a parent can do in addition to bringing their child to semi-annual check ups and a kids’ dental cleaning. In this article we will discuss how to incorporate oral hygiene into a young child’s daily life. It’s important to remember that children have no experience in taking care of their own oral health until you teach them.
Develop Good Brushing and Flossing Techniques
By making healthy dental habits a part of the daily routine, parents can establish responsibility in even the very youngest of children so that they can take charge and keep their mouths and bodies healthy as they grow older. At Smile Zone in Yuba City we care about our patients as a whole and want to make sure we provide these children with every resource available to maintain their oral health over the course of their entire lives.
Technique and Timing
Make sure your child knows proper brushing technique and brushes their teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. Using a timer or playing a song that lasts approximately two minutes will help kids keep track of how long they have been brushing while making it fun as well.
Teaching them to brush in a circular motion will help to prevent gum damage and remove more plaque off of their teeth than up-and-down motion will. Instilling these habits at a young age will allow for your child to continue with good brushing technique without giving it much thought as they get older.
Children should also learn how to floss their teeth to remove food and plaque that gets stuck between them. Parents who floss set excellent examples for making that an important part of their children’s daily hygiene ritual.
Choosing the Right Toothpaste
Make sure your children are using toothpaste that includes fluoride. Most kids’ toothpastes already contain fluoride, but there are exceptions. Fluoride helps to prevent cavities by re-mineralizing the teeth. This is especially important to preserve the more delicate enamel on children’s baby teeth.
Diet Makes a Difference
Helping your child choose healthy foods is an integral part of maintaining their oral health. Children should try to avoid hard foods that can crack their teeth such as peanut brittle, sticky candy, and popcorn. Children’s tooth enamel is much weaker than that of adults, so they have to be extra careful when eating crunchy foods or sticky treats that can damage their delicate enamel and cause further problems like tooth decay and pain.
Avoiding sugary foods and drinks will also help prevent cavities, gum disease and further complications that can come with tooth decay. When your children do indulge in desserts, make sure they brush their teeth afterward to avoid sugar sitting on the tooth surface longer than it needs to.
Busting Bad Habits
Both children and adults can develop poor oral habits that can damage their teeth, but breaking these habits early will lead to a higher success rate and fewer dental problems down the road. Sucking on one’s thumb, chewing on fingernails or pen caps, or chomping on crunchy ice cubes can wear down teeth quickly and be detrimental to their overall oral health.
Help your children develop alternative, healthy habits such as squeezing a stress ball instead of biting their fingernails. This will not only save them from dental disasters, but will also help them to become more aware of how to channel their anxiety or focus their energy without causing damage to their body.
Clean and Replace that Toothbrush!
Many children have a favorite toothbrush complete with bright colors and cute cartoon characters, and it is critical to clean that toothbrush regularly and replace it when it gets old. A clean mouth is a healthy mouth, and by keeping the toothbrush clean and away from other toothbrushes and unsanitary items, you help prevent viruses and bacteria from living in the bristles. This can help children’s immune systems stay strong and avoid illnesses that come with putting viruses and bacteria directly into their mouths.
Keeping the toothbrush upright in a toothbrush holder and letting it dry is important for deterring the growth of bacteria, and replacing the toothbrush when it gets old assures it is always working effectively to remove plaque from children’s teeth.
Semi-Annual Dental Checkups
If your child has developed all of these practices, he or she is more likely to maintain good oral health habits for life and we need less work done when they do visit the dentist.
Make sure that even when oral health is managed properly at home, you are bringing your child into Smile Zone at least twice a year for a cleaning and checkup. At that time we can do x-rays, scrape plaque off of teeth with a thorough cleaning, and encourage your child to maintain their great, healthy dental habits!
At Smile Zone we are proud to help children everywhere enjoy the bright, healthy smiles they deserve. Our focus is early dental care, making kids’ dental cleanings fun, and creating a safe, comfortable environment for families. Give us a call at (530) 230-0081 to schedule a cleaning and let us know if you have any questions. We are happy to help!