One of my main goals as a pediatric dentist is to help establish healthy routines early in life so children can grow up with healthy teeth that give them confident smiles.
I know that as a parent, the day to day craziness of family life can make your day slip by in a blink of an eye and your kids oral hygiene is one of the last things you think of. Staying on top of oral hygiene is the easiest way to prevent tooth decay and prevent serious damage from occurring.
Regular check ups along with these tips will help establish good strong teeth and healthy habits to last your little ones a lifetime.
So, here are ten things you can do to help your youngster keep his or her mouth healthy.
1. Go through your dental routine with your child. Many children don’t want to brush or floss. One way to make it more fun is for you to go through your own dental routine with your kids. This can normalize the activity and make it more fun for your child.
2. “Race” your child. A great way to make children excited about brushing for the right length of time is to “race” them. Here’s how you play: Both you and your child begin brushing at the same time. The one to stop first loses. Make sure you brush for at least 2 minutes before you end off!
3. Pack teeth-friendly snacks. Some foods are better for teeth than others. Fill your young one’s lunch box with snacks like cheese and crackers, almonds, celery, apples, raw carrots, or green salad. All of these snacks can benefit teeth in one way or another.
4. Give your child sugar-free gum to chew after meals. Gum is a quick and easy way to get food particles off of your teeth, so try to get your child to chew some after school meals. If the school doesn’t allow gum, ask them to crunch their raw carrots, apple, or celery after their meal. These are basically natural toothbrushes.
5. Encourage your youngster to rinse with water or mouthwash after meals. Many kids are too busy with socializing during mealtimes to brush after each meal. Instead, tell them to rinse their mouth with water or mouthwash after they eat or when they first use the bathroom after a meal.
6. Schedule toothbrushing into your child’s morning routine. The most difficult time for a child to remember their oral care is in the morning, while you are also trying to get ready to go. Make it part of his or her routine by putting a note on their bathroom door or on the inside of the front door that says “Did you brush your teeth?”
7. Allow your child to pick out his or her toothbrush. There are so many different types of toothbrushes, letting your youngster pick out the one he or she likes best may encourage him or her to keep brushing.
8. Schedule your family’s next teeth exam and cleaning now. Think ahead and get your whole family on a predictable dental visit routine.
9. Compliment your child when he or she finishes their oral routine. Make sure to give credit where credit is due. If your child does a great job brushing and flossing, let them know that their teeth look great!
10. Talk to your dentist. If you have any concerns about your child’s dental care routines, discuss your worries with your dentist.