Having a great smile is not the only reason you want your kids to have great dental habits. Early childhood tooth decay or a cavity is more common than diabetes and asthma. If your child suffers from cavities, gingivitis, tooth loss, and bad breath, it can also cause problems with self-esteem.
It is never too early to get your child on the path to practicing healthy hygiene habits, and here are a few steps you can follow to keep your child’s smile beautiful.
Supervise Younger Children
Brushing at least twice a day is critical for everyone, but if a child is 6 years old or younger, never let your child brush alone. Instead, stay with your child when brushing after breakfast, and at night before bed. Allow your child to brush on their own first, then assist to reach those difficult places at the back of the mouth.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that until children are about 6 years of age, parents should only use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste for their child. Supervising your children will also ensure they are brushing their teeth and not having one last play time before bed!
Teach Your Child To Brush Along The Gum Line
As you are teaching your child how to brush their teeth, be sure to teach the importance of brushing along the gum line. Even as adults this is often overlooked, which causes gum irritation and eventually gingivitis.
Show your child how to position the toothbrush so that half of the brush is on the tooth and the other half is on the gum. This will ensure that as they brush, the gum line is being brushed too, getting all the bacteria out.
Flossing Comes Next
Once your child has mastered brushing their teeth, it is time to start flossing. By teaching your child to floss you are helping them to remove bacteria that a simple toothbrush just cannot reach.
If your child is under 10 years old, you will most likely need to assist. To make this process easier, use floss picks. Stand behind your child with their head tilted back so you can see what is happening with each tooth. Your child should floss at least once a day, preferably before going to bed.
Rewards Are Critical
Be sure to reward your child for a job well done. There are numerous ways you can reward your child based on what they love, just be sure that the reward does not include sugary or starchy treats. Positive reinforcement will help instill the behavior you want, so be sure to provide that positive feedback.
Limit Sugars And Starches
Not only will limiting sugars keep your child’s diet more nutritious, it will keep their teeth healthy. Parents may not realize that a leading cause of tooth decay is drinking juice or other sweet drinks from bottles or sippy cups. A great way to avoid this consistent barrage of sugar is to give children water between meals. Water eliminates the sources of sugar on teeth and decreases the possibility of tooth decay. Additionally, it is much better for a child’s nutrition.
Offer Healthy Snacks
Starchy snacks like chips, crackers, and candy cause cavities. Instead, give your child a choice between two healthy snacks. You are including your child in the decision-making process while ensuring he or she eats a snack that is good for both their body and teeth.
Be A Positive Role Model
When you are watching your child brush and floss, be sure to brush and floss at the same time. Your child looks to you for behavior to mimic. If you are modeling the behavior you want your child to follow, they will be more likely to take an active and interested role in healthy dental care.
Schedule Regular Visits For Your Child To See The Dentist
Regular appointments to see the dentist can catch small issues before they become major problems for your child. They can also help alleviate any fears your child may develop about the dentist so they become a lifelong advocate for good dental habits.
Dental Group of Simi Valley has been creating beautiful smiles for over 57 years. We know how important it is to have optimal oral health, and to achieve this, you should start seeing a dentist at an early age. Dental Group of Simi Valley in Simi Valley, CA looks forward to becoming your family dentist. Call us today for an appointment.