In order to maintain a healthy smile, it’s important for consistent dental health practices to be implemented early on in a child’s life. February marks the start of National Children’s Dental Health Month, so we wanted to share some important tips to help set the stage for your child’s oral hygiene.
Instill Good Brushing Habits: Once we learn to brush our teeth at a young age, that specific routine carries with us into adulthood. That’s why it may be surprising to find out that the suggested length of time to brush your teeth is two minutes, with 30 seconds spent on each quadrant of the mouth.
While it may be difficult to enforce a two minute tooth brushing practice, it is important to make sure your child knows the importance of a thorough brush at least twice a day. Dental hygiene is a lifelong commitment, so what you teach your child is what they’ll likely follow for the rest of their lives. It’s important to start effective brush habits early to help maintain the longevity of dental health.
Include Fluoride: Fluoride plays an immense role in children’s dental health. The fluoride found in water sources helps with cavity prevention and healthy tooth development. It’s especially important for children because it helps reverse early stages of tooth decay and prevent further decay from happening. If there is a lack of fluoride in your water source, your child’s dentist might suggest a supplement in the form of gels, toothpastes or mouthrinses (if your child is over the age of six).
Promote Healthy Eating: An apple a day just might keep both the doctor and the dentist away! Eating raw fruits and veggies helps to decrease plaque build up, and consuming calcium-rich foods helps keep teeth strong. Candy and sweets on the other hand, can cause decay and lead to cavities. Make sure fruits, vegetables, and water are the staples in your child’s diet to help maintain a healthy body and smile.
Reward Good Habits: Positive reinforcement is standard in any parent’s bag of tricks, so it comes as no surprise that you’d want to nurture dental health by rewarding good habits. For example, consider notes from the tooth fairy with little prizes when your child brushes their teeth without any reminder. This acknowledges the job well done and encourages your child to stay on track.
Stay Up to Date with Dental Appointments: Maintaining a routine and keeping up with responsibilities sets a good model for your children to follow. By staying up to date with bi-annual dental check ups, your child can grow accustomed to the visits. Also, putting off cleanings only paves the way for more possible uncomfortable and expensive future visits (this is applicable to both children and adults), so make sure you’re staying on top of your dental health by giving your dentist a visit!
Questions about your child’s dental health? Need to set up an appointment? Call us at (843) 767-2600 or request an appointment online here. After hour appointments are available upon request!