Are your children following these top dental habits?

The American Dental Association recommends that parents get into the habit of wiping their children’s gums with a soft cloth soon after they’re born.

Why? Because it’s extremely important to start modeling good dental habits for your children before they even have teeth. More than 18.9 percent of children ages 5-19 have untreated dental caries (cavities), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. This decay can lead to everything from pain to tooth loss and even gum disease and infections (like cellulitis) that may require antibiotics and, in the worst cases, hospitalization.

Creating good dental habits now can help them avoid those problems now — and possibly help them avoid expensive orthodontic and dental work in the future. Not sure where to start? Let’s break down the most important dental habits your children should be following.

It’s extremely important to start modeling good dental habits for your children before they even have teeth.

1. Always Brush Twice a Day

It’s easy to get your children into the habit of brushing their teeth while they’re young, because you’re in charge of it. Start brushing your children’s teeth as soon as they start poking through. Brush thoroughly for two minutes using a small amount of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice). We do not recommend using fluoridated toothpastes on children who cannot rinse and spit out, which typically doesn’t happen until the child is past six years old. 

Continue brushing their teeth until they’re able to do it on their own — somewhere around 3 to 6 years of age. Help them add a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to their brush and supervise while they clean their teeth. You can even turn it into a game by using one of the many toothbrushes and smartphone apps designed to get kids brushing.

2. Visit the Dentists Every Six Months (& Make It Fun!)

Like adults, children need to visit the dentist for a checkup and cleaning at least twice a year, starting once the first teeth break through the gums.

Going to the dentist can be a scary experience for both adults and children alike, so make sure you don’t express anxiety about your own dental visits to kids because they’ll pick up on it. Instead, make going to the dentist a fun event by bringing their favorite toys or devices to distract them — and maybe even offer up a special treat or lunch at their favorite restaurant as a reward for a successful dentist appointment.

3. Floss Between Those Chompers

A 2014 survey by Delta Dental found that only one in four Americans floss every day — and 20 percent don’t floss at all. That’s a problem because food, plaque and other bacteria can get caught between teeth, leading to decay and cavities.

Don’t let your children be one of the 20 percent! Instead, start flossing their teeth for them as soon as they have two teeth that touch and continue the practice as they start their own dental care. Eventually, flossing will become a habit — a habit that leads to healthy teeth!

4. Stay Away From Sugary Treats

It’s no secret that children love sugary treats like soda and candy, but those habits can lead to cavities and other unwanted dental issues.

The same goes for giving babies and toddlers bottles filled with milk or other sugary liquids; they might love it, but it can lead to serious dental problems in their baby teeth, especially if you’re not brushing their teeth after they’re done.

Don’t Forget: Your Children Learn From You, Too!

“More is caught than taught.”

That’s an old saying, but it’s true — and it applies to your children and their dental habits, too. You kids pay attention to the care you give your own teeth, so make sure you’re modeling the same dental habits you want them to follow.

Better yet: Practice good dental hygiene with your kids by brushing, flossing and rinsing at the same time they do — and make sure you’re getting regular checkups at the dentist, too! It’s a win-win: They’ll learn good habits and your teeth will stay in tip-top shape.

Contact us at TruFamily Dental to make an appointment today.

Posted In: Pediatric Dental Care