As a parent, you have the essential task of laying the foundation of good oral health for your children. In fact, by teaching your little ones to care for and clean their teeth, you are also teaching them important habits for overall health. That’s because oral health affects much more than teeth; it impacts the whole body.
How can families encourage the right kinds of oral health habits? Here are a few keys to remember.
As a parent, you have a lot of power to arm your children against dental health issues, simply by starting early with oral hygiene. Even infants need proper dental care. At this age, before teeth start coming in, you need to wipe your baby’s gums. It’s also important to only give your child healthy foods and avoid high-sugar drinks. Additionally, limit snacks. Once the first tooth erupts, take your baby to visit a pediatric dentist and schedule regular checkups.
Once your baby grows into a toddler and is able to brush independently, it’s the perfect time to establish a rhythm of brushing teeth every day. Let your child choose a fun toothbrush with soft bristles; add a small amount of fluoride toothpaste; and brush inside, outside and on the teeth’s chewing surfaces. You may even want to set a timer for two minutes each time your child brushes, singing a song or looking at something fun to help pass the time.
As your child enters the school years, stick to regular dental checkups. Pay attention to school lunch menus, limit sugary foods and help your child make healthy food choices. If your son or daughter plays sports or takes physical education, consider getting a mouth guard to protect teeth from harm.
To learn more about the best ways to care for your children’s teeth, take a look at the accompanying checklist, which spells out the best habits to implement by a child’s age. Follow these tips to know you’re doing all you can to set your child on a path toward oral health throughout life!
About The Author:
Dr. Sheila Harris is the owner of Natomas Crossing Dental Care in Sacramento, California. Dr. Harris has been a licensed dentist since 2000, after graduating from Northwestern University School of Dentistry. She is a member of numerous dental organizations and has been selected as one of the top general dentists in the Sacramento area for the past five years.
Oral Health Checklist created by Natomas Crossing Dental Care