Tips for Kid’s Dental Hygiene Between Dentist Visits
We know how important good dental hygiene practices are to our oral health. It is our job as parents to teach our children the same responsibility. After all, healthy children’s teeth lead to healthy adult teeth! Ultimately, we want to make sure the kid’s remain cavity-free. Regular visits to the dentist Seattle at least twice a year for exams and cleaning is only part of the equation for ensuring healthy teeth. Good dental hygiene practices begin at home and are vital for a lifetime of excellent oral health. You want to make sure your child keeps their beautiful smile for a lifetime. Here are some tips for helping them learn things they can do everyday for the best overall oral health:
- Set an example – Kids want to do what you are doing, so by brushing and flossing with them. Become a role model for good oral health habits.
- Show and teach them – Kids under age 3 should use a rice-size amount of toothpaste until they learn row to spit instead of swallow the paste. Then they can use a pea-sized amount. They should start flossing and using mouthwash daily once teeth have grown to touch each other.
- Don’t skip dental appointments – By keeping twice-yearly dental appointments it becomes routine for children. Their first dental appointment should be within 6 months of their first tooth or around their first birthday.
- Share concerns – Talk to your dentist concerns you have with your child’s teeth such as crowding, thumb sucking, losing teeth, mouth guards, and any other questions you may have.</li
- Maintain a healthy diet – The problem with sugar causing cavities is that when it sits on your teeth, it can create decay. Keep sugary snacks at a minimum and talk to your kids about brushing after eating them.
- Daily brushing – Dentists recommend brushing twice a day for at least 2 minutes at a time. Setting a timer and using a tartar dye to show them where they may have missed surfaces can help them understand the importance of proper brushing.
- Discuss sealants with your dentist – Sealants are used to help prevent cavities and keep kid’s teeth healthier.
- Reward your child – Consider keeping a goal chart to track their progress on learning oral hygiene and allow your child a reward such as choosing their own toothbrush once they reach their goal.
- Avoid sharing germs – The bacteria in our mouths can be passed to each other by sharing things like utensils, sippy cups, or other items. Always sanitize items that may be in your baby’s mouth to prevent bacterial infections.
Building the foundation for your children to achieve healthy teeth from the beginning will help to ensure a lifetime of good oral health.
Growing Kids and Oral Health
At a certain point, your child will start to become more independent. They will want to start doing things on their own like getting dressed, tying their own shoes and brushing their teeth as well as taking responsibility for other oral health care duties.
- Building a daily dental care routine – Letting your child take the reins in their oral hygiene routine takes patience and time. You know how important proper dental care is, but your little one is just learning what it means to follow a daily routine. Making it feel less like a chore and more fun may help your preschooler stick to the routine.
- Crafts – If your little one enjoys arts and crafts, as so many do, why not use them to teach your child why oral health is important? Find a picture of a large, smiling face with exposed teeth. Print it and place it on poster board. Color the teeth yellow and then have your child paint the teeth white. Discuss the importance of brushing, flossing and using mouthwash twice daily to keep teeth healthy. Then hang the finished product in your bathroom to remind her what clean teeth look like.
- Songs to brush to – It is recommended by dentists that we all brush 2 minutes in the morning and at night. Kids don’t usually have a good sense of how long 2 minutes is. By playing songs that last at least as long while they brush, they start to understand how long it actually takes. Sesame Street’s is a great option for this!
Maintaining Dental Health During the Summer
Ensuring your kids continue to practice good oral hygiene during the summer months can be a challenge. Family schedules tend to get out of whack and regular routines, such as brushing can get easily disrupted. It is still vital to the health of your child’s teeth to brush and floss twice a day during the summer. But with all of the activities going on, you may need to remind them more frequently.
Stocking up on extra brushes, as well as travel-sized toothpaste and floss for those last-minute summer trips is a great idea. Having a disposable toothbrush or two on hand helps to always be hygienically prepared. To help avoid dental problems over summer, get your kids in to see the dentist right after school ends. With a clean bill of dental health for summer, your child is less likely to encounter dental issues while on summer vacation.
Kids tend to want to snack more when they are home all day. You will want to be sure you have a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available and limit the acidic, sugary snacks. This includes keeping more bottled water on hand than soda and sugary drinks.
Timothy J. Butson DMD, MSD provides the best family dental care in the Seattle area. Families should schedule appointments for routine checkups and teeth cleaning at least twice a year. During each visit, we perform a comprehensive examination – checking for, signs of decay, and oral cancer. Our dental health practitioners will ensure that your teeth and your kid’s teeth remain in the best health, free of gingivitis and other health conditions for the long term. Give us a call to schedule an appointment today!