Each February, the American Dental Association and dentists across the country celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month by educating parents, guardians, caregivers, and teachers about the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene habits in children. It’s a big commitment and, if done right, these good habits will follow children into adulthood, keeping their smile healthy for life!
Commit to Good Oral Hygiene Habits
Creating and maintaining good oral health habits is the first step to life-long healthy smiles. As a parent, your number one goal is to keep your children healthy and happy for as long as possible. Their oral health should always be a priority! Here are a few ways to teach your child how to take care of their teeth:
Brush for Two Minutes Twice a Day
First and foremost, the right toothbrush and toothpaste make all the difference. Be sure you provide your child with both before you begin teaching them the correct way to brush. Supervise children younger than 7 years of age to make sure they are cleaning their teeth correctly. If brushing is a chore your child dislikes, turn on a fun song, make brushing a game, and lead by example!
Don’t skip flossing – for you or your child! Flossing helps clean out the bacteria and plaque that brushing alone can’t reach. The peanut butter method is a great way to teach young children not only how to floss, but why flossing is so important.
Have Tooth-Healthy Snacks
Just because a snack is “healthy” doesn’t mean it is good for your child’s teeth. Many healthy snacks are still packed with sugar, which causes bacteria and plaque to build up on the teeth. Instead of choosing sugary food and drinks, stock up on nuts, cheese, raw veggies, and apples next time you’re at the grocery store. These snacks have the power to keep your child’s body – and mouth – healthy and happy!
Commit to Regular Check-Ups
Visiting your pediatric dentist for twice-yearly check-ups and cleanings is so important. As soon as your child’s first tooth erupts, or by their first birthday, you should schedule their first dental check-up. Early examinations allow pediatric dentists like me to put together a dental care plan that is the most beneficial for your child. Plus, the earlier you expose your child to dental appointments, the more relaxed they will be at their subsequent appointments!
Commit to Healthy Lives
For parents, the health and safety of their child is their number one priority. When you teach your child the importance of their health – through healthy eating and proper exercise – you’re teaching them how to take care of themselves for the rest of their lives! This type of education shouldn’t stop there – the mouth is so important to your child’s overall health as well. Following the tips listed in this blog will keep your child’s smile healthy and happy!