As a parent, you're responsible for your children's wellness—and that includes their dental health. Dental health affects the overall well-being of your child because having poor oral hygiene can cause gum diseases and dental cavities, which are linked to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Follow the tips below to keep your child's teeth healthy:
Lessen Bottle Time
Giving your child a bottle of milk or juice to let them fall asleep might be convenient, but do you know that this habit can negatively impact their dental health? Baby bottle tooth decay is the severe decay of baby teeth among infants and young children caused by long-lasting feedings.
Baby bottle tooth decay happens for two reasons. First, natural sugars in milk and sweeteners in juices can cling to your child's teeth for long periods, causing decay. Second, bottle feeding decreases your child's saliva production during their sleep, increases chances of decay.
As you’re starting kids' dental care, opt to gradually remove the bottle during bedtime. You can do this by reducing the amount of milk or juice that you give your child by at least two ounces every two days. Once you reach the three-ounce mark, let your child drink milk or juice in a cup.
If your child reaches one year old, encourage them to drink water instead of milk or juice before bedtime. Aside from maintaining or improving your child's oral health, drinking water before bedtime may also induce sleepiness. And if they require dental care, you can consider Dental Implants in san diego.
Remove The Pacifier
Another thing that you need to remove from your child's routine is the use of pacifiers. Long-term or excessive use of pacifiers may cause crooked teeth, problems with bite and jaw alignment, and abnormal changes in the roof of the mouth.
You can do different approaches to help your child get rid of the pacifier. You can try the slow and steady approach or go cold turkey immediately. Both approaches are challenging as you have to stand your ground no matter how your child pleads, so make sure to remain determined and patient.
Start Brushing Early
Just because your child still doesn't have any pearly whites doesn't mean you should neglect their oral health. On the contrary, you should start brushing as early as possible to show them the importance of good oral hygiene.
Depending on the age of your child, you might have to use different brushing techniques:
- Before your child shows teeth: Use your finger or a damp cloth to clean your child's gums if they don't have any teeth yet. Ideally, you should do this immediately after feeding.
- The first tooth appears: The moment you see your child grow a tooth, teach them how to use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Start by using water and then slowly introduce toothpaste in small amounts (a rice size amount is a great start) to prevent your child from swallowing too much fluoride.
- Six to seven years old: During this time, your child can brush their teeth on their own, but it's still best to supervise them to ensure they're brushing correctly.
Introduce Flossing To Their Daily Routine
Brushing alone isn't enough to keep your child's teeth healthy as you should also teach them the importance of flossing. Flossing removes plaques from underneath the gums and between the teeth—something that a toothbrush can't do because of its size.
One of the easiest ways to teach your child how to floss is to do it together. Put on your child's favourite tunes, play around in front of the mirror, and start flossing. This will make flossing a fun activity rather than a boring chore. You can also give out rewards whenever your child flosses to encourage them to practice the habit daily.
Practice What You Preach
Your efforts in teaching your child the importance of good oral hygiene will be useless if you don't walk the talk. It'll be challenging for you to encourage your child to brush their teeth if they rarely see you do it.
If you want to keep your child's teeth healthy, be their role model and practice what you preach. This includes brushing your teeth every after meal for two minutes and flossing for at least ten minutes.
Work With The Pros
Aside from your efforts to keep your child's teeth healthy, seek professional advice from a pediatric dentist in your area. They have the skills, experience, and equipment to properly assess the oral health of your child and create appropriate courses of action.
Working with a pediatric dentist will make it easier for you to care for your child's oral health. Plus, introducing your child to a dentist early may also lessen their dental anxiety.
Keeping your child cavity-free should be one of your goals as a parent. By teaching them good dental habits early, your child can function better and do more every day.