Teaching your child good dental habits from a young age will serve them well their whole life. By teaching your young child to properly care for their teeth and visit the dentist regularly, you will help prevent cavities, boost their overall health, and instill great long-term dental care habits all at the same time. Here are five tips for teaching your child good dental habits:
Start Dentist Visits Early
Most experts agree that children should see the dentist once a year, beginning around their first birthday. This allows the dentist to see any potential issues early, including with your child's adult teeth, which the dentist will see when they x-ray them. It also ensures that your child sees dentist appointments as a normal part of life, and not something to be anxious about.
Be sure to choose a pediatric dentist or a dentist who has a lot of experience working with small children. The dentist and staff should be warm and engaging, and they shoould make the appointment fun for your child. Some pediatric dentists have their patients watch cartoons during exams, give out little dental-themed toys and gifts, and have offices decorated with fun toys and brightly colored murals to keep your little one entertained.
Make Tooth Brushing Fun
If you present tooth brushing as a boring obligation or chore, your child will learn to dread and even avoid it. If, on the other hand, you do little things to make tooth brushing fun, they will embrace their healthy new habit. Simply saying "Okay, it's time to brush our teeth now!" in an enthusiastic manner can help. Making a big deal out of letting your child pick out their own cute, kid-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste also goes a long way toward making tooth brushing fun.
Make Sure They Brush for Two Minutes
Kids should brush their teeth twice a day for around two minutes, but it's hard for a toddler to know how long two minutes actually is. While it can be helpful to set a timer every time your child brushes their teeth, a more fun approach is to look online for kids' songs to brush their teeth to. There are actually whole YouTube channels devoted to songs that are fun for kids while being the perfect length for brushing. By incorporating music into teeth-brushing time each day, you are turning dental care into a fun experience that your children look forward to.
Limit Sugary Drinks and Snacks
Sugar isn't great for your child's health overall, and it's especially bad for their teeth. The presence of sugar in your child's mouth quickly encourages the growth of bacteria, which leads to weakened enamel and tooth decay. Limiting sugary drinks and snacks and replacing them with healthier options like chopped-up veggies is a great idea. They can still have the sugary stuff once in awhile as a special treat (if you choose), but you will want to encourage them to brush their teeth right away after they have something sweet like candy or ice cream.
Try Disclosing Tablets
Once your kids are a little older, like preschool age, you can incorporate disclosing tablets that can be purchased online or at most drugstores.These chewable tablets leave a temporary stain on the teeth where your child could brush a little more thoroughly. Doing this once a month or so and presenting it as a fun challenge (instead of something they will get in trouble for if there is a lot of stain left over) can turn your kids into even more diligent brushers.
By following these tips, you will help protect your child's teeth while also teaching them great dental health habits that will last their whole lives. For additional tips, contact a dental office like Desert Dental: Ruintan Kamran D.M.D.