Dental Hygiene Tips for Kids
Celebrating Healthy Teeth
February is Children’s Oral Health Month!
We want the best for our kids, and oral health is a big part of their physical wellbeing. That’s why we treasure the opportunity to give your children healthy smiles. Today, we’ve got some tips on how to make sure that your little ones’ teeth are as healthy as possible.
An Ounce of Prevention
Kids may lose their baby teeth, but they still need oral care that is as thorough and regular as their adult teeth will receive.
Healthy gums are essential for good oral health, and permanent teeth begin developing long before they make their presence known. According to the CDC, cavities from tooth decay is one of the most common sources of chronic illness in children.
Children with poor oral health may develop discomfort that distracts them from learning and playing, but the good news is that this is preventable with a little vigilance on the part of guardians and instilling good habits in kids while they’re small.
Your dentist can prescribe protective measures to help, like dental sealants on the surfaces of the teeth, which help guard against cavities for years.
Avoid Sugary and Sticky Foods
Not only do sugary foods contribute to poor nutrition, but they are also terrible for children’s oral health.
Sticky foods adhere to dental enamel, wearing it down and contributing to plaque buildup, which causes decay. One of the very worst foods you can give kids as snacks are raisins, as they are both sticky and sugary, so use them in moderation.
Try apple slices instead, and make sure your children drink plenty of water to rinse their mouths and stay well-hydrated.
Studies conducted by the CDC indicate a strong link between children who drink fluoridated water or brush with fluoridated toothpaste have stronger teeth with fewer cavities. Once kids are old enough to brush, rinse, and spit on their own, give them a fluoride rinse to use before bed.
To drink, we recommend tap water, so they get the included fluoride for their developing permanent teeth. If you use bottled, filtered, or distilled water, consider a fluoride supplement prescribed by your dentist.
Encourage Brushing at an Early Age
Even when they are a baby, brush your children’s teeth for them so they are used to the feeling. Before their teeth come in, gently wipe their gums with a soft, damp cloth after each feeding and before bed.
When their teeth start to emerge, use a soft brush and fluoridated water. Be very gentle- teething makes little ones’ gums tender. Introduce your child to the dentist early to spot any problems before they get worse and to assure your child that the dentist is a friend.
Don’t forget to floss!
Make sure that your kids know how to floss properly in a gentle J-shaped motion to clean the teeth and gums. When they’re able to brush their own teeth, brush and floss yours at the same time so they learn to model your good habits.
Most importantly, a good example, from you at home, is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children in any area of life. Show them good examples by taking care of your own teeth, too!