As a parent, you want the best for your child. One of the most important parts of a long and healthy life is great dental care. Maintaining strong teeth well into adulthood means taking care of them every day! But dental care for kids can be challenge – especially if they find it uncomfortable or boring. But there are ways to stay involved that can help you keep your child on the right path for a lifetime of smiles.
Why It’s Important to Educate Kids on Dental Care
For parents, there are two major reasons why you should take dental care for your kids seriously:
Baby Teeth Affect Permanent Teeth
While it’s true that baby teeth are destined to fall out, that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. A child’s primary teeth set the stage for the growth of their permanent teeth. Some issues may go away when a damaged tooth is lost, but only if these losses occur when the permanent tooth is ready to erupt.
If your child experiences severe cavities or damage to their teeth resulting in a lost tooth too early, the permanent teeth may not be ready to fill in the gap. That means their remaining teeth will slowly shift to adjust to the new space. When their permanent teeth are then ready to come in, they can experience issues with overcrowding or being impacted!
Likewise, cavities affect their teeth but they don’t end there. Dental decay typically extends to the gums, where it can cause issues with swelling and inflammation or even infection! For developing mouths, these early problems can lead to lifelong effects on how their permanent teeth appear.
Dental Habits Start Early
The other reason you shouldn’t see baby teeth as “disposable” is because they’re the best opportunity for helping your child develop the habits they need for a lifetime of healthy teeth. Like any habit in life, the earlier it’s started, the more ingrained it will become. Children who start off as good brushers are more likely to avoid frequent cavities as young adults and into their adulthood.
Nearly half of children are found to have had at least one cavity by the time they reach kindergarten age. One of the major contributions is the excessive amount of sugar in foods directed at children; fruit juices and snacks are often packed full of sugar!
By starting your children off with good habits, you can prevent issues with their primary teeth leading into their permanent teeth. Then, when they’re fully transitioned into their permanent teeth, they can continue to keep them clean and healthy for decades to come!
How to Start Teaching Dental Care for Kids
The most important part of brushing is just getting started. For some, brushing can be intuitive – but other children may need some time to adjust and practice! The most important parts of brushing techniques include:
Angle the Brush – Try to keep the brush slightly angled to help clean all of the tooth in each stroke
Quick Strokes – Brushing should be done in rapid, quick back-and-forth strokes. Keep an eye on them to prevent them from brushing too fast to be thorough, or too slow to be properly cleaning away bacteria
Teach them Timing – It’s important to brush your teeth for a full two minutes. Research has shown that brushing less than this can leave your teeth with remnants of bacteria, while brushing longer can actually start to wear away enamel with no benefit to the cleanliness of your teeth!
Ensure They Clean Their Entire Mouths – Brushing is more than cleaning the fronts of your teeth, even though these are the most noticeable! Bacteria hides on the top and back of your teeth too, along with the gums!
Promoting Good Brushing Habits
Without encouragement and support, most children wouldn’t remember or choose to brush their teeth twice a day as recommended. That’s why it’s important for you to be involved in dental care for your kids! Here are some tips to help keep your child on the right track for their oral health:
Brush With Them
Leading by example is important in all aspects of parenting. Your kids will always gravitate towards what you do, not just what you say. So when it comes to teaching them dental care habits, you can help get them into the pattern of daily brushing by brushing together!
Make morning and evening brushing a family activity. Not only does this help show them that brushing is something you also take seriously, but it lets you know that they’re brushing every day. You can keep an eye on their brushing technique to guarantee their healthy smile!
Listen to Music
If your child loves to listen to music, try to find a song they like that’s close to two minutes long. You can use the song as a timer while making the experience more fun for both of you. If you need a little help picking the right song, you can look on the Apple or Google Play stores for brushing apps. Many of them have musical timers designed exactly for this purpose!
Don’t Forget About Flossing
Flossing is just as critical to dental health as brushing. While a toothbrush gets most of the surface area of your teeth cleaned, you need floss to clean bacteria and food particles out of the tight areas between your teeth. If your child isn’t flossing, they’ll eventually develop cavities no matter how well they brush.
Some tools can make flossing easier for children who may struggle with the dexterity or technique required. Flossing picks reduce the challenge of holding string floss. Water flossers are another option too! Find what works best for both of you and stick with it!
Do You Have Dental Health Questions? Schedule an Appointment!
If you have dental health concerns or are just looking for information, the professionals at Walbridge Dental provide complete family dental care to families in the Millbury community. Contact us online to set up an appointment now or call us at 419-836-1033.
Connect on Social Media!