Out of American children ages 2-11, 42% of them had a cavity.
Cavities and other dental problems are prevalent are common among young children, simply because they don’t know how to brush, they don’t floss, or they just simply don’t have good hygiene practices.
But that doesn’t have to be your child.
Getting your kids on the right track for oral care at an early age is important. Check out these dental tips for healthy teeth to instill good oral health.
Dental Tips for Kids
Sometimes it’s hard enough to convince an adult that they need to floss every day or that they need to go to the dentist every two years.
It can be even harder for kids to realize that, but with these tips it can make it a little bit easier.
1. Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally found in all water sources. It helps harden parts of your tooth where the enamel gets eaten away by harsh acids which helps protect you from cavities.
A lot of parents think that fluoride isn’t safe for their children or that they are consuming too much of it, so they don’t buy them toothpaste with fluoride in it.
However, the American Dental Association (ADA), the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), and the American Academy of Family Physicians disagree. They recommend that you buy toothpaste with fluoride in it early on, as early as when your child gets their first tooth.
So stop buying the toothpaste that is safe to swallow and doesn’t contain fluoride and opt for the better protection against tooth cavities.
If you live somewhere where the tap water doesn’t contain fluoride, you can talk to your child’s dentist or pediatrician to see if your child should take a fluoride supplement.
2. Go to the Dentist Frequently
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the AAPD recommend taking your child before they turn one and then twice a year after that.
They will conduct an oral exam and also ask about the family’s dental history to assess if your child may be at any increased risks.
If you can, try and go to the same dentist so that they become familiar with it. Finding and researching a good dentist, like Mantis Dentistry & Implant Center, can help make your kids less likely of forming a fear to the dentist.
Talking with your children about what to expect and what’s going on during the appointment can also help combat potential fears of going to the dentist.
3. Brush Teeth Early and Often
Brushing is also an important habit that you should form.
Even if your children don’t have teeth, you should still be “brushing” their gums. All you have to do is just wipe them down to make sure there is no excess food, dirt, or bacteria that can cause future cavities.
4. Brush With Good Technique
You want to make sure that while you are brushing your children’s teeth, you are doing it the right way.
Whether you’re brushing their teeth or teaching them, you want to make sure that you’re not brushing aggressively or harshly because the bristles could damage your child’s teeth or gums.
Instead, tilt the bristles, and brush in tiny little circles gently. The recommended time for brushing teeth is two minutes (30 seconds in four sections of the mouth) but if your child only has two teeth, you don’t have to brush for that long.
When it comes to brushing, the quality of the brushing is more important than how long you’re brushing for.
5. Floss Every Day
This is one dental tip that even adults don’t follow. But if you start early with your child, they are more likely to keep up with the habit when they’re older.
You should start flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they start touching each other. It doesn’t matter if they’re baby or permanent teeth; you should be flossing to get rid of extra food and stop plaque buildup.
6. Eat Healthy Foods and Limit Sugar
This seems like an obvious one, but some people don’t think about it.
Sugar is a strong acid, and when it just sits on your tooth all day, it can start to wear down that enamel and leave your tooth susceptible to cavities.
You should avoid or limit sugar when it comes to your child’s diet. This will help with their overall health but can also help to prevent future cavities.
7. Make Dental Hygiene Fun
Kids can be stubborn, and a trip to the dentist and flossing their teeth aren’t exactly super fun, but it’s essential if they want a healthy smile later in life.
To motivate your kids to keep up with dental hygiene, you have to think of ways to make it appealing to them.
For example, let your child pick out their first toothbrush.
Think about using positive reinforcement like creating a goal chart. Each time they brush or floss their teeth or something, they can get a star and if they get so many stars, they can get to pick out a toy or a prize of some sort.
8. Be an Example
Children are always watching us, picking up on our behaviors and learning from us.
So if they see us brush our teeth twice a day, floss every night, and go to the dentist twice a year, they will want to do the same.
Yes, that means you won’t have to lie to your dentist when they ask you if you floss.
9. Consider Sealing
Dentists sometimes recommending sealing your child’s teeth to help strengthen the enamel and fight against cavities. Normally a dentist seals these children’s molars because they can be hard to reach and brush.
If there are any grooves or pits that occur on the teeth, the sealing will just smooth that out so it doesn’t provide a nice home for a cavity to form.
This method won’t make your child immune to cavities, but it can help prevent it.
Make a Dentist Appointment for Your Child
While not as many kids are getting cavities as they used to be, it’s still important to practice good dental hygiene and it’s easier when these habits are formed early in life.
Use these dental tips to make sure that your children will have a healthy smile when they’re older. While they may fight you on flossing and brushing now, they will thank you later on.
To prevent future cavities, make your child’s dentist appointment today.