So much of what you do as a parent involves teaching. That can sometimes mean actively showing your children behaviors or indirectly teaching them traits by the way you and other adults in their lives behave.
Our goal is always to raise all of our children into responsible and independent humans, so that they may have a fantastic, successful life. As much as you might not want to accept it now, your kids do grow eventually grow up!
Reinforcing healthy habits to your children and their lifestyle is critical to making sure their lives are prosperous. Proper dental health should never be forgotten in that mission. We will look into many details on our blog section about the importance and best dental practices for your kids and examine the way maintaining healthy teeth and mouth is critical to their overall quality of life.
Joseph F. DeSantis and Associated Family Dentistry in Glen Mills, PA and Chadds Ford, PA knows that strong habits form at an early age as a child’s mind is constantly absorbing new information. Creating healthy kids dental care habits has a lasting effect for the rest of their lives. Here are five tremendous behaviors we suggest you instill and enforce to your children in order to aid the reinforcement of great, healthy dental care every single day!
Regular Dental Visits
Frequent and regular visits to your kid’s dentist is a must! Everything else you do to encourage your kid’s healthy oral habits are great ways to increase your kid’s odds at fantastic-looking, healthy teeth, but routine professional visits ensure they receive the attention they require.
A trip to the dentist is in order as soon as your child’s first tooth appears — or at the very least by the first year. Do not wait for an emergency! A dentist will look over your child’s teeth, mouth and keep an eye on their development.
Your dentist should clean the child’s teeth and provide any other advice necessary for the future. At the dentist, your child is inspected for cavities and any other issues, so ask them about concerns or further kids dental care needs. A fabulous dentist will appreciate your kid’s dental care and make an effort to form a bond with your child in an effort to see them grow into healthy adults! You are also allowing your kid to develop comfort in a dental office in the process!
Keep these tips in mind whenever your kid visits the dentist:
- Take them in the morning when they are rested and cooperative.
- Bribing your kid into a dental visit is not the correct approach, ever. Instead, discuss with your child about what to expect and why this is an important (and fun) trip — and make it enjoyable by nature!
- Don’t share anxieties or concerns you have or feel with your kid because kids pick up on your emotions and copy them, so highlight the positive aspects, which there should be plenty of!
- Refrain from treating, or threatening, a visit to their dentist as a form of punishment.
Always Brush Your Teeth
One of the most crucial habits for ensuring and maintaining healthy teeth and a clean mouth is brushing your teeth regularly. Make sure your kid understand why brushing is important to kids dental care as it will remain so for the rest of their life. You remove the burden of brushing when your kid is a baby by cleaning their teeth until they are old enough to do so on their own, in which case it would be in your best interest that they can effectively do so on their own!
As a guiding principle, your child should brush their teeth for two minutes in the morning after breakfast and at two minutes at night following dinner, which is recommended by the American Dental Association. Forming this habit into your child’s everyday routine will create strong kids dental care and make brushing no more than an expected daily task!
When your little one is capable of brushing their teeth independently, we suggest buying them an appropriate-sized toothbrush and underscore with them a healthy habit of brushing twice daily (at a minimum!). When two or more teeth start touching, show them how to floss properly in order to clean those spaces between their teeth to prevent plaque buildup.
Some helpful tips to remember include:
- Just a pea-sized drop of toothpaste is needed (use fluoride toothpaste when old enough)
- Watch over your kids as they brush and floss to enforce proper technique and efficiency and show them the correct techniques until they can do so independently.
- Make sure kids use appropriate-sized toothbrushes designed for them.
- Ensure your child starts flossing as soon as two or more teeth are touching.
- Underscore to your kids that brushing their teeth should be done at least twice a day, but certainly after each meal would be the best!
Eat and Drink Healthy
It can be easy to forget how eating and drinking in a healthy way significantly improve your kid’s dental care. What we place in our mouths each day directly impacts the quality of both the teeth and overall oral health, so we want to underline to our children (and ourselves) how proper dental care correlates with what they are eating and drinking.
Sugary drinks and foods receive the brunt of poor dental health blame — as well they should! But other substances that are hard such as ice and hard candy and so are other drinks like citric juices and coffee. These foods and drinks are best indulged with moderation and followed by proper cleanings — both at home and professionally. Keep healthier foods and drinks stored in your pantry or refrigerator so that your children are less likely to consume high-sugar, unhealthy foods. Some great alternatives are water and dairy products, fruits and vegetables, nuts and lean proteins are all fantastic options for food!
Some common items that can damage your teeth include:
- Sticky and crunchy foods
- Chewing ice
- Sports drinks
- Hard candy
Ensure Pacifiers Are Clean
Most youngsters seek comfort in oral aids like their thumbs or pacifiers. There is obviously no sure method of maintaining clean fingers, however, kids using pacifiers should particularly only put them in their mouths after they are cleaned to avoid tooth decay (which is the destruction of your tooth’s enamel) and other terrible diseases of the mouth.
Placing pacifiers in juice, sugar, honey or any other sweetened substance can contribute to tooth decay as well and should never be done as it could accelerate and exacerbate tooth-decay problems. Baby teeth are susceptible to tooth decay as soon as they appear, so just because they will eventually come out does not mean tooth decay is an issue that can, or should, be taken lightly in kids dental care.
Proper Care When Teething
Let’s start at the beginning. Babies begin forming visible teeth around six months old, this being a process that will see all 20 baby teeth push through the gums, usually by the time your child is 3 years old.
Teething does create discomfort for your kid as the teeth come forth from the gums, resulting in little ones becoming fussy, irritable and having a hard time sleeping. They drool and can develop other complications like diarrhea and rashes.
Because your baby is clearly unable to take care of their own teeth, it becomes critical for you to properly maintain their teeth until your baby is the right age and ability level to do so on their own. Rubbing their gums with a clean finger or teethers made with infant-friendly rubber is a soothing sensation for them, so opt for that instead of sweetened pacifiers. Refrain from using any kind of numbing gels, oral drugs or tablets as recommended by the Food and Drug Administration.
Signs indicating your baby is teething could be:
- Drooling more than usual
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble sleeping
Joseph F. DeSantis and Associates Family Dentistry in Chadds Ford, PA and Glen Mills, PA understands what you should look for in kids’ dental care and would love a chance to be your kids’ dentist. Schedule your appointment today!