Tooth decay is a common chronic condition among kids in the United States. With about 1 in 5 school aged children having at least one untreated decayed tooth, it’s no surprise that teaching oral health habits at an early age is important.
Poor oral health doesn’t only affect performance at school, it also impacts their quality of life and their well-being later on in life too. Teach your children good hygiene habits now, and as your children grow older, they will continue good habits that will contribute to their overall health.
Here’s how you can help.
Brush your child’s teeth until they are 7.
Be sure to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child’s size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. It’s important to know the proper technique of brushing (a 45-deree angle, gentle strokes) to effectively remove plaque and prevent periodontal disease, gingivitis, and other serious oral conditions. Continue to assist your child with flossing as well.
After they are 7, monitor their brushing habits.
Whether they’re acting more independent, or even if you are trying to teach them to be more independent, they really shouldn’t brush alone until they possess the proper motor skills for effective brushing. After they are able, it’s still important to supervise your children while they brush until the age of 10 or 11 to make sure they are doing a thorough job.
Visit the dentist regularly.
Unless instructed otherwise by your child’s dentist, a check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems.
Ask about dental sealants.
A sealant is a plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often. At your dental visit, you can ask your dental provider if your child is a good candidate to have dental sealants placed.
Limit sugary snacks.
Snacking on too many sugary sodas, candy, fruit drinks and non-nutritious foods can increase the risk of tooth decay. Excessive sugar increases the production of plaque that will break down tooth enamel. When that bacteria contacts sugar in the mouth, acid is produced that attacks teeth and eventually leads to tooth decay and cavities.
For more ways on how to protect your child’s teeth, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Together, you can create a plan that will keep your child’s teeth and gums clean and healthy. Find a dentist here.