As adults, we have years of experience of dental care and have all been told off by our dentists at some point. Sharing this experience with our kids can help them develop excellent dental hygiene at an early stage and get accustomed to looking after their own teeth.
But, it is sometimes hard to know where to start with so much information available on the Internet. For experienced parents, some tried and true approaches will work with their younger children while others won’t. For new parents, the whole experience will be unique. Getting your kids into the habit of looking after their teeth can be a chore, but it can also be a fun experience as they get a little older. Here are a few tips for healthy teeth in kids to get you started.
You should start helping your baby look after their teeth from the moment their first milk tooth breaks through. At this stage, obviously, you will have to do the brushing — and to make sure this is being done correctly over time, you may have to continue helping them until they are older, sometimes as old as six or seven. Help them as much as it takes, and be patient. Habits take time to form, and consistency over time is the key to reinforcing good dental hygiene in your children.
At first, you need to apply a small amount of low-strength fluoride toothpaste to the baby’s teeth (“infant toothpaste” is, not surprisingly, made with just the right amount). As your kid gets older, you can start using a brush, and once you feel they are ready, begin to supervise them brushing their own teeth.
These days, we are surrounded by lots of food and drinks high in sugar, starch, and carbohydrates, all of which are not good for your little one’s teeth. Eating an unhealthy diet can cause tooth decay, which can lead to problems such as toothaches and sensitivity and will make your child (and you, in turn) miserable.
Here are some tips you can follow to reduce this problem:
- You might already know that a healthy and balanced diet is great for the teeth and overall health of your child. Well it’s true! Try and introduce a wide range of foods containing vitamins A, C, and D, and sources of calcium such as eggs, nuts, fish, green vegetables, beans, and poultry.
- Avoid sugary snacks and drinks between mealtimes.
- If you do give your child some candy as a treat, make sure they brush their teeth afterward.
- Give your child lots of fluids, but be careful of juices and sodas, as they contain large amounts of sugar. Water is excellent, as it helps produce saliva, which helps neutralize the acid in the mouth. Milk also does an excellent job of fighting bacteria and making sure the teeth are healthy.
When you first start out down the road of good dental hygiene with your child, it might seem like an inconvenience for you or your little one. The sooner they get into the habit, however, the better for everyone. There are simple things you can do to get them off and running such as:
- Let them choose the color of the toothbrush. They even have toothbrushes with blinking handles — you can use the blinking as a timer to make sure the child is spending the proper amount of time brushing.
- Turn the daily ritual into a game by doing it with them. Encourage them, laugh with them, make funny faces — but don’t berate them if they are not in the mood. It is an excellent opportunity to spend a little time with them as well, so make it as fun as you can!
- Choose a dentist that specializes in kids or family dentistry, as they will try to make the experience as painless (and fun) as possible.
If you have questions about your child’s dental health or don’t know where to go, contact your local dentist or your local Cape Coral pediatrician at MacKoul for assistance.
MacKoul Pediatrics is an amazing local pediatrics office in Cape Coral, FL where caring, compassionate doctors and nurses work with you to keep your children as healthy as possible. MacKoul cares for children from birth to college age, from Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples, and beyond.
April 20, 2018