A staggering 19 percent of all children and teens in the U.S. have untreated cavities. This dental condition is five times more common than childhood asthma and 20 times more common than diabetes. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to teach your kids how to properly care for their teeth.
Dental problems start from an early age. The enamel on children’s teeth is about 50 percent thinner than that on adult teeth. Therefore, it’s more vulnerable to decay and cavities.
Another common problem is gum disease or gingivitis, which causes gum bleeding and inflammation. If left untreated, it can lead to bone damage and tooth loss.
Luckily, most dental issues are preventable. Good oral hygiene can go a long way toward keeping your children’s teeth healthy and strong.
Here are some simple tips on how to teach your kids about to look after their teeth and prevent cavities.
Start Brushing Early
Ever time your child eats, food particles get stuck in his mouth and cause bacteria buildup. For this reason, it’s important to brush his teeth after every meal. Even if he’s still an infant, you can gently rub his gums with a soft cloth.
As your kids grow, teach them how to brush and floss their teeth on their own. Encourage them to do it every morning and evening at the least. Set a reward system to keep them motivated.
For example, you can tell your child that if he brushes his teeth after every meal for one week, you’ll take him to the mall or visit his favorite amusement park. The whole idea is to establish good oral habits from an early age.
When it comes to your kids’ health, it pays off to think outside the box. Children love games, so try to make oral hygiene fun.
Encourage them to make silly faces in the mirror while brushing their teeth. Turn on their favorite song. Buy them dental-themed coloring books to keep things fun!
Another great idea is to make a chart. Let your kids put a star or other fun stickers on it for each successful brushing. This will serve as a helpful reminder for practicing good oral care.
Be a Role Model
You can’t expect your kids to practice good oral hygiene if you neglect your own teeth.
Remember, children over-imitate adults and learn by observing their behavior. Therefore, it’s important to practice what you preach.
Take care of your teeth by brushing and flossing regularly. Encourage your children to do the same. Teach them about the benefits of oral hygiene and how it can help them later in life.
Introduce Them to the Dentist
Introduce your children to the dentist at an early age. Once you get there, let them talk with the dentist and get comfortable with the environment.
Depending on where you live, choose a dental office with a friendly, casual ambiance. For example, if you live in Florida, google “orthodontist Jacksonville FL” to find dentists in your area. Contact the dentist in advance and let him know that this is your child’s first time going to a dental office.
Make Oral Hygiene a Priority
Good oral hygiene is crucial for children and grownups alike. The sooner you teach your toddler about dental care, the better.
Even minor dental problems can escalate and affect your child’s health. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Remember, prevention is the best defense against cavities.
Looking for other dental care tips? Then make sure you check out our blog! We’ll show you how to straighten your teeth without braces and more!