Oral health is an under-looked part of overall health, especially for children. It’s tough to get kids to care about taking care of their teeth! However, having a good foundation of oral care is the first step towards having healthy teeth for life. Your kids might have baby teeth now, but they have to keep the same adult teeth for their whole lives. It’s important to make sure that they have good habits now. Not sure where to start? Here are a few tips you can use to set your children up for good oral health in the future.
Routine Dental Care
This is kind of a no-brainer, but the first step to good oral health is just setting good habits. Starting from childhood, the American Dental Association recommends that your child brush their teeth twice a day, every single day. They should also be flossing once a day to get all the bacteria and food that gets caught between their teeth. This can be tough for kids since brushing and flossing are tedious and sometimes uncomfortable for children. However, they must develop these habits early so they can stick to them for the rest of their lives. If they understand the importance of these steps, then they’ll be in great shape.
Visit the Dentist Regularly
This is another thing that can be a little tough for kids to swallow, but regular trips to the dentist are extremely important. As soon as your children’s baby teeth start to come in, you should be taking them in to visit the dentist at least twice a year. As adults, that can be only once a year, but kids need to get frequent check-ups to make sure nothing is going wrong. If your little ones have trouble in the dentist’s chair, you can try finding an office that caters specifically to parents. There are plenty of techniques savvy dentists can use to make the experience a lot easier.
Avoid Sugar and Starchy Foods
Avoiding sugar is a good idea for overall health, but it’s especially vital for your children’s teeth. Sugar can eat away at the enamel on your kids’ teeth, weakening them and making them more prone to cavities. Once enamel is destroyed, it can’t be replaced naturally, so taking care of it is absolutely vital. Starchy foods can also eat away at the enamel, so try to keep intake low. Here are a few examples of food and drinks to minimize in your kids’ diet:
- Sports beverages like Gatorade
- Dried fruits
Replace Sugar and Starch With Other Foods
As a counterpoint to the last tip, you can replace sugary and starchy foods with better ones. Crisp, water-dense fruits, and vegetables are great for your children’s teeth. These foods can lead to increased saliva production in your kids’ mouths, which keeps bacteria from sticking to their teeth. Certain dairy products and nuts are also a great idea. Here are a few specific foods to look for:
Drinking lots of water is a great idea for overall health, but it can also have a big effect on the health of your children’s teeth. Not only does it help them stay hydrated, but it also helps to rinse food and bacteria from their mouths. Water also promotes saliva production, preventing bacteria and plaque from sticking to their teeth. Fluoridated tap water is especially helpful because fluoride can strengthen the enamel on your children’s teeth. Water is also a great replacement for soda or juice, which can actually damage their teeth. Obviously, it’s impossible to control every single thing that goes in your kids’ mouths, but doing your best to promote things like water and avoid sugary drinks is a great step.
Ultimately, as every parent knows, raising a child involves a ton of compromise. It’s impossible to do everything right every single time, and that’s okay. The emphasis here should be on teaching your child smart habits and making sure they stick. A soda here and there isn’t going to make much of a difference, but ensuring that your kiddo gets used to brushing their teeth every single night is huge. If you need more help, give us a call. We’re always happy to go over some healthy tips and habits for your kids.