16% of children of school age have a fear of the dentist. This can be exacerbated by intimidating treatments and many visits, many of which can be prevented with proper oral care.
Not only that but starting them on a good foot by teaching them how to take care of their teeth will set them up for good habits in later life and give them fewer problems as adults.
If you’re wondering about the best way to take care of your children’s teeth, read on to find out what to do.
Try to Limit Pacifiers and Thumb-Sucking
As your child grows beyond being a baby, it’s important to try and wean them off pacifiers and thumb-sucking. The reason for this is that it can disrupt their mouth while it’s still developing, slowly pushing their teeth out of alignment.
Brush Twice a Day
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day. This is for both adults and children.
The best time to establish this habit is in the morning and night. Make sure the first thing your child does when they wake up is brush their teeth. You can do this for them a few times but then try to teach them how to do it on their own, supervising to ensure they’re doing a good enough job to keep their teeth in good health.
You should then do the same at night before bed. Establishing this habit early in life gives them a much bigger chance of carrying it over into adulthood.
Not only should you teach them to brush their teeth twice a day, but you should teach them how to floss when they have two teeth that are touching. You may have to do this yourself for a bit, as it requires a technique, but your child should soon catch on.
Many people neglect this in their children’s teeth care, but it’s just as essential for young children as it is for adults. Floss on a stick is usually easier for them to use than string floss on its own.
Another aspect of caring for children’s teeth that’s often forgotten is fluoride. Using a fluoride mouthwash can help get rid of any bacteria that’s left over from brushing and flossing and protect their teeth.
Children are often averse to many fluoride types of mouthwash because they taste too strong for their palette. Fortunately, a number of companies have come out with children’s mouthwash that provides all of the same benefits but hopefully tastes a little milder to them.
You can also get a fluoride treatment at the dentist which should protect your child’s teeth for a few months.
Limit the Sugar
Although it can be tempting to cave to our children’s desires because we want them to be happy, sometimes it’s not the best idea in the long run. This includes giving in to desires for high-sugar candy and sodas, which are not only a risk to other aspects of their physical health but can damage their teeth.
If your child has a sweet tooth, it may be unrealistic to expect them never to touch candy or soda. Just try to keep it in limited quantities and keep up with the other best practices and it should be fine.
Take Them to the Dentist Regularly
Taking your child to the dentist every six months may not be a pleasant experience, but if you let the bacteria build up, they’ll end up visiting a whole lot more and for longer times and more invasive procedures.
A good children’s dentist won’t exacerbate your child’s anxiety and will take the time to work with them so it can be as pleasant an experience as possible. For this reason, it’s important to research dentists and try to find the best one for you. Letting your child have a say in the process can also help them feel in control and pick a dentist they’re happy with.
You should also follow your dentist’s recommendations for visits. While most dental care for children will only involve a visit once every six months, some dentists may want to see your child more regularly for various reasons. They may also refer your child to a specialist at some point, such as an orthodontist, to fix their teeth alignment.
Keep Them Educated
While taking care of your children’s teeth, you should involve them in the process and make sure they understand exactly why you’re both putting so much effort into their dental care. There’s no need to scare them but make them aware of the consequences of not taking care of your teeth and show them the benefits of doing so, including:
- Being allowed to have the occasional sugary snack that won’t hurt their healthy teeth
- Only having to go to the dentist once every six months for a non-invasive visit
- Enjoying a confident smile
Make sure to be open with answers if they have any questions and encourage them to share what they’re thinking. If your child seems reluctant to take care of their teeth, find out why — is it laziness or some deeper anxiety you need to address?
Taking Care of Your Children’s Teeth Is Critical
Taking care of your children’s teeth is very important. It avoids uncomfortable procedures, keeps them pain-free and confident in their appearance, and establishes good habits for adult life that set them up for success.
Make sure they brush twice a day, floss, and visit the dentist every six months. They’ll thank you when they’re older!
Are you looking for a new dentist in Richmond, Texas, to help? Contact us today, and let’s see what we can do for you.