If you’re like most parents, you take a lot of photos to document your kids’ childhoods, and if you scroll through the photos you’ve taken, you’ll see most of them feature happy smiles. To keep those smiles bright on your phone and in the real world, it’s not complicated. Sill, it requires some effort and diligence to help your child develop good oral care habits.
- Get in the brushing routine – Brushing is the core activity your kid must do to maintain a healthy smile. The recommendation for both kids and adults is to brush teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. It may be hard for your kid to judge how long two minutes is, so set a timer and time them for several days until they internalize how long they need to brush. You might also want to check out this Toothsavers app, which makes a game out of those two minutes. Also, kids are likely to rush away from the bathroom once they’re done, but teach them to get into the habit of spitting, rinsing their mouths, and rinsing their brushes. For younger kids, you’ll want to supervise the brushing (and brush their teeth yourself for babies and toddlers). Use fluoride-free toothpaste for kids under age 2.
- Teach the right brushing technique – More on brushing, because it is that important. Kids think the “how” of brushing is self-evident—just glob on some toothpaste, move the brush around for a bit, and you’re done. But there is a technique (small circles at the gum line) and pitfalls to watch out for (brushing too hard). Find some YouTube videos to watch together for some pointers.
- Floss once a day – Build daily flossing into your child’s toothcare routine.
- Choose good snacks – The standard dental advice to avoid sugary treats is standard for a reason—it’s good advice. Instead of candy or even crackers like Goldfish or Saltines where the refined starches turn to sugar, better snacks include cheese, yogurt, berries, carrot sticks, almonds, hummus, and whole grains.
- Lose the juice – Juice is one of those foods that carry a healthy aura, but it’s not that healthy in the end. It’s high in sugar and contains an acid which can damage tooth enamel. If you still want to treat your kids to some juice now and then, have your child swish around some water after drinking, and avoid juice before bedtime.
- Keep up with the dentist – You child’s first visit to the dentist should happen when the first tooth appears, and a check-up is recommended every six months. Find a kid-friendly dentist with a fun décor and welcoming atmosphere, and your child will likely look forward to the visits. If you keep up with these tips, the visits to the dentist will likely be quick and tear-free. At Comfort Dental Kids we are not only focused on examining and cleaning a child’s teeth at their appointment, but also providing a comfortable experience in our office.
As with many aspects or our health, dentistry in one of those areas where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Teaching your child to maintain their smile will pay off with many more smiles down the road.
For more information on taking care of your child’s teeth or to schedule their dental visit, please visit www.coloradokidsmiles.com.