It can be difficult to raise children to use healthy habits. However, ensuring dental health in their children can seem especially challenging. For this reason, the best policy is to start encouraging good oral care habits as soon as they develop teeth. Here are five oral health care tips that can help.
Get an Early Start
It’s recommended that your child takes their first trip to their pediatric dentist by the time they’re one year old. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this can save you 40 percent on dental care costs over a five-year span due to preventative treatment. Furthermore, getting started as soon as possible helps your child become familiar with the dentist, and helps them be less nervous. Our Monroe NC pediatric dentist will also be able to advise you on correct brushing and flossing techniques for your child as well as the best products to use.
Take Away the Pacifier
Some children continue to use pacifiers well into toddler-hood, but many experts warn against allowing your child to do this. Once your child is two or three years old, continual use of pacifiers can begin to disturb the alignment of the developing teeth. This can lead to bite irregularities that hinder the ability to chew food properly and can increase the risk of tooth chipping or breakage. The same principle applies to toddlers who suck their thumbs. Like pacifiers, this habit should be discouraged once teeth are present.
Limit Sugary Products
It’s no secret that young children love sweet treats, but their consumption should be limited. Sugars feed bacteria in the mouth that in turn secrete enamel-eroding acids. As enamel weakens, cavities can develop. Limit things like juice, candy, sugary cereals and fruit snacks to occasional treats. If you prefer to give your child a daily multivitamin, be sure to choose one with no added sugars. When they do have sugary snacks, make sure they rinse with water afterward. This helps to wash away any leftover sugar or food particles.
Instill Good Habits
All of the oral health care tips in the world won’t help your child if they don’t develop good habits. It’s recommended to begin teaching these to your child as soon as they’re old enough for children s dentistry. Make sure you have the correct tools, too. They should be using a child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles, and a fluoride toothpaste specially designed for children. Toothpaste should be used in pea-sized amounts and brushings should last for at least two minutes twice daily. Beware of letting them use mouthwashes or fluoride rinses, however, until they’re old enough to understand not to swallow these products.
Avoid Nighttime Bottles
It can be tempting to put your toddler to bed with a bottle of juice or milk, but this isn’t recommended by children s dentistry experts. Sugars in these liquids end up spending the night in contact with teeth, where they have ample opportunity to cause damage.