There is no more important time in the life of a child than right now, as they learn about and interact with the world around them. This is doubly important when it comes to establishing habits that will keep them healthy and spry for the rest of their lives. Eating green food, getting plenty of exercise, and favoring reading over screen time are all things that, when adhered to properly in childhood, will have a noticeable positive effect on one’s life as an adult.
A Joint Effort
The same most certainly can be said for establishing healthy hygiene habits as well. At Timpanogos Pediatric Dentistry, we are wholly committed to our Utah children’s dental care and making sure that their teeth remain beautiful and strong their entire lives. To achieve this, dentists don’t act like the lone soldier fighting cavities and decay, but rather as collaborators with parents and patients alike to ensure the kids’ best tooth care. Below are a few tips to encourage the best dental habits in your children.
Healthy From Day One
Good dental habits start first with toothless babies, literally. Just as tummy time and skin-to-skin are essential parts of a newborn infant’s daily routine, gum care is equally as important. It is always safe to consult with your pediatric dentistry about any particular instructions for your child, but a brush with soft bristles and non-toxic, kid-friendly toothpaste should be enough to brush their gums as soon as they’re home from the hospital.
- Just use a very small dab of toothpaste, just enough to lightly coat the bristles.
- Gently brush gums all over, top and bottom. The baby will want to suck on the toothbrush and that’s okay too, but make sure you do a few passes.
- The toothpaste is designed to be swallowed, since babies haven’t learned to spit yet, so don’t worry when that’s what they want to do.
Remember, as soon as their first tooth erupts (it will likely be one of the bottom incisors), set an appointment with your pediatric dentistry to start getting them acclimated to knowing their dentist.
Moving On Up
As your children get older and want to start taking care of their teeth themselves, you will be given another chance to instruct them on the proper way to stay hygienic under their own powers. A good metric for this time is usually when they can walk, talk, and follow instructions; usually between the ages of 3-6.
- Remind them that they are supposed to brush twice a day, morning and evening.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste, using about the size of a pea each time.
- While they were happy to swallow the toothpaste as babies, moving to this new toothpaste puts an end to that practice.
- They should brush their tongue as well.
As parents, this is an especially important time to continue encouraging them to eat their fruits and vegetables. When it comes to your children’s dental care, doctors recommend crunchy produce rich in fiber to help work out the jaw muscles.
Your children will continue to grow their baby teeth into the first two years of their life and won’t start shedding them until they reach at least 6-7 years old. This means that for several years they’ll have a full set of teeth that need looking after, just like how they’ll take care of their mouth when they’re adults. This is a great time to teach kids about cavities and how tooth decay happens.
- Cavities can spread between friends at school just from bacteria floating from one mouth to another. Telling them that they are brushing to help others is a good motivator.
- Kids who might not like going to the dentist might consider giving it another chance if they learn that it will prevent bad teeth when they’re adults (by a significant margin).
- Flossing may be difficult for kids to accept, especially since it might hurt the first few times, but flossing helps get the gunk out that toothbrushes can’t reach and it does get easier over time.
If you’re ready to bring your child to a pediatric dentistry clinic, then so are we! Feel free to contact us for a consultation at your earliest convenience. Together we can give these kids tooth care they’ll be happy about for years to come.