Tips For Helping Your Child Develop Good Dental Health Habits
Good dental health is important for a number of reasons. Research indicates that people with healthy teeth are generally healthier overall, have better relationships, are happier and have fewer mental health problems. Who doesn’t want those things for their children, right? In order to help your child maintain good oral health, it is important to start as early as possible. Your children’s future dental health very much depends on the oral health habits that they develop when they are young.
Dental Care Should Start From Your Child’s First Tooth
Once your child gets their first tooth they are at risk of tooth decay. In order to prevent tooth decay you need to make sure that your child’s teeth get properly cleaned and that they aren’t consuming any sugary foods. Certain milk formula powders for bottle feeding contain large amounts of sugar (or worse, high fructose corn syrup), which should be avoided at all cost. These types of milk formula powders have been shown to cause obesity in small children and can also lead to serious tooth decay.
Before your child gets their first tooth, you just need to gently wash their gums with a wet cloth after feeding. Once they sprout their first tooth, start brushing it with a small toothbrush and just water. After your child has turned two years old (if they can spit), you can start using a tiny bit of toothpaste to brush their teeth. You should see a dentist soon after your child gets their first tooth for a first checkup. Your dentist can advise you on when exactly to start using toothpaste and what type of toothpaste would be best.
Teach Proper Dental Health Routing and Healthy Eating Early On
You need to continue brushing your child’s teeth until they are old enough to learn how to brush on their own. Once your child has two teeth next to each other you should start flossing. Once you feel they’re old enough to start brushing themselves, teach them proper brushing technique and keep watching and guiding them for the first few weeks/months. You probably want to wait on teaching flossing for a little while longer because it tends to be a bit harder to learn for children. Make sure to schedule a dentist visit every 6 months for your child. This will help detect any dental health problems early on. If your child develops dental problems or struggles with learning brushing and flossing on their own, you may want to start seeing a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists have a lot of experience with treating children’s teeth and dealing with children who have difficulty learning brushing and flossing.
Make sure your child is eating healthy foods and teach them about which foods are bad for their teeth so they can learn to make teeth-healthy food choices on their own. Avoid giving them any foods high in sugar or acid, such as soft drinks and candy.
Preventing dental problems for your child early on can help them maintain good oral health later on in life. If you have any questions regarding your child’s oral health, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist.
Zane Schwarzlose is a writer at the Lakeway Center for Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, an Austin dental office. Zane thinks that teaching his future kids how to take care of their teeth will be fun.