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9 Tips for Keeping Kids’ Smiles Healthy and Bright

Posted by On 11-06-2024

As a parent, you play a crucial role in ensuring your child’s long-term oral health. By teaching them proper oral care techniques and helping them build strong habits, you can prevent future health issues like tooth decay, gingivitis, and gum disease.

In this article, we will offer nine tips to help you keep your child’s smile healthy and bright for many years to come.

1. Establish a routine early

Lifelong oral care habits start at an early age. The sooner you can educate your child on the importance of caring for their teeth and establishing a consistent routine built on proper oral care techniques, the better! A strong routine is essential for keeping their smile healthy throughout childhood, as well as later in life.

Just like you, your child needs to brush their teeth twice a day, once in the morning before breakfast and again at night after dinner. When your child is young, you’ll need to brush their teeth for them (and later on, monitor their brushing). Flossing is also necessary.

If you’re still waiting for your child’s baby teeth to come in, then your oral care routine must involve wiping their gums with a moist washcloth to keep them clean.

2. Set the right example

Even more than what you say, your child is always paying attention to what you do. If you tell them they need to take care of their teeth, but fail to back up those statements with your actions, your child will follow suit. They’ll learn that it’s okay to neglect their own oral care.

Consequently, it’s imperative that you set the right example for your kids. Keep up your own brushing and flossing routine to show your child that oral care is non-negotiable.

3. Make oral care fun and entertaining

When your child is young, you play an instrumental role in helping them develop good oral health habits. One way to do this is to make dental care fun and entertaining. If taking care of their teeth feels like a chore, they’re less likely to do it. They’ll make a fuss and try to avoid it, making your morning and evening routine that much harder.

It’s very important that your child has positive associations with all things dental care. Incorporating games, silly songs, and rewards can help.

4. Monitor their brushing

Generally, children lack the necessary motor skills to brush their teeth effectively before the age of six. Before that age, it’s recommended to brush your child’s teeth for them.

This ensures that their teeth are thoroughly and properly cleaned, thus minimizing the risk of tooth decay and cavities. That being said, it’s a good idea to let your child practice brushing their own teeth after the age of three to begin building that skill.

Between the ages of six and nine, most children can begin to reliably brush their teeth. Not only do they have the manual dexterity to hold and manoeuvre the toothbrush, but they also are developing an understanding of good brushing habits. Nonetheless, you still need to monitor their brushing. Your supervision ensures that no tooth goes unscrubbed.

5. Don’t forget about flossing

Flossing requires greater fine motor skills than brushing. Consequently, children begin brushing their own teeth several years before they can take over flossing duties. Most children need help flossing until they are between eight and ten years old.

Before then, you need to either floss for them or monitor their flossing closely. You should continue supervising their daily flossing sessions until you’re satisfied that they’re doing a good job.

6. Encourage them to drink enough water

Water is essential for good oral and overall health. Ensuring your child stays hydrated by drinking water is one of the simplest things you can do to keep their smile healthy.

Drinking water stimulates saliva production, which helps to prevent bacterial overgrowth. Furthermore, water rinses the mouth on its own, washing away food debris and sugar residue in the process.

Water is the healthiest beverage for your child to consume. Sweet beverages like pop and juice effectively bathe their teeth in sugar. This promotes plaque buildup and tooth decay.

7. Discourage thumb and finger-sucking

Thumb and finger-sucking may be common among little kids, but it can cause teeth problems. For example, it can alter the shape of their mouth or the alignment of their teeth. Your child could develop an underbite, overbite, or underjet, which will require orthodontic treatment.

While you’re at it, ditch the sippy cups. These can also cause tooth misalignment, as well as cavities.

8. Take them to regular dental appointments

Although regular dental appointments are vital for patients of all ages, they are especially important for children. Your child must see their dentist twice a year or every six months.

These appointments are absolutely invaluable. They give your dentist a chance to monitor the development of your child’s teeth and jaw. This allows for prompt treatment if something isn’t developing correctly.

Furthermore, your child receives a thorough cleaning that removes any built-up plaque and tartar. If unremoved, these deposits can lead to tooth decay and gingivitis. The dentist also checks for cavities and evaluates any existing dental work.

Given the importance of these appointments, it’s a good idea to get your child excited about visiting the dentist. Fear of the dentist’s chair can become a major obstacle. If they look forward to their dental visits, then they’re more likely to stay consistent with their appointments later in life.

9. Have an orthodontic evaluation by age 7

You can prevent future oral health issues with early orthodontic treatment. Correcting misalignment and bite issues earlier in life is often simpler and faster. Plus, your child will have an easier experience.

Every time your child visits a Milton dental clinic, the development of their teeth is evaluated by their dentist. This helps to catch orthodontic issues and other developmental problems faster, allowing for earlier treatment. You should also keep an eye out for any signs of trouble.

Additionally, you can schedule an orthodontic evaluation by the time they’re seven. The orthodontist can determine if early treatment is required.

Contact Milltown Dental to Schedule Your Child’s Next Check-up at Our Family Dental Clinic

Milltown Dental is a family dental clinic dedicated to helping you care for your child’s oral health. We take pride in providing a family-friendly dental office that makes children feel welcome and at ease.

From the moment you walk through our doors, your entire family is greeted with smiling faces and superb dental care. We even have a play area to make your child’s appointments fun.

To learn more about family dentistry in Milton, call Milltown Dental at (833) 318-3281 or contact us here.

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