Kids love candy and soda and hate brushing their teeth. It seems as if every kid is this way, and while we don’t know why they resist any and all efforts to develop healthy dental hygiene habits, we can try to encourage as much good behavior as possible. However, until we wake up and kids have magically transformed into passionate broccoli lovers and the world’s biggest fans of flossing, we must grapple with the truth; childhood dental health is a very serious problem.
Sure, all of the teeth your child is currently ruining will fall out in the next few years to make way for permanent adult teeth. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t serious damage happening to your child’s dental health now. The decay of the mouth starts early, and is irreversible if ignored. Obviously, you can not expect a young child to develop a personal investment in their dental hygiene, so as the parent you have to take it upon yourself to make dental health a priority in your child’s life. They will hate it now, but thank you later.
Unfortunately, you haven’t been a kid in some time now. How do you know what it will take for a modern day child to adopt a good brushing and flossing routine? Here’s everything a parent should know about their child’s dental health.
Habits Start Early
This is the most important thing to remember about your child’s dental health, and it’s not much different than other aspects of their life. The way your child takes care of their teeth now is likely the way they are going to take care of their teeth for the rest of their lives. As much as you may hope they develop a dental hygiene routine on their own as teenagers, or adults for that matter, it is unlikely unless they have a major wake up call like a root canal or tooth loss.
Establish that brushing twice a day and flossing is not optional and reinforce this behavior by adopting these best practices within your own daily routine. As much as they fight it now, they will carry the dental health habits they develop now, good or bad, for the rest of their lives.
Fluoride is a Kid’s Best Friend
The teeth that we are born with are temporary. They’re much weaker than the permanent teeth that will eventually grow, because they’re going to fall out either way. So in order to prevent constant cavities and issues, fluoride is a must. Fluoride is a chemical that your child’s dentist will use to strengthen their teeth during visits, but is something that can also be found in special toothpastes and mouthwashes.
These are the products everyone should be using, but especially children who need strength in the dental department. Fluoride will build up the strength of their teeth from the inside out, helping their enamel as well as the root of their teeth and their gums.
See a Dentist as Early as Possible
There is no better way for your kids dental health to get monitored than by a dentist. And even though it may not seem necessary at the toddler stage, most kids get their first cavity by age 4. If you can get your child into a dentist’s chair before their second birthday, you will be doing them, and yourself, a huge favor. There should be a dentist within your own dentist’s practice that specializes in treating the teeth of younger kids. They will also be able to help you improve your child’s dental health routine, and point you in the right direction.
Kids Take After Their Parents
One of the most difficult parts about keeping your kids’ teeth healthy is not knowing how to, but actually making them do it. As with everything in life, kids will follow the lead and example of their parents when it comes to dental hygiene. If you are taking good care of your teeth, your kids will, too. You can even make dental hygiene a group activity.
Get the whole family together to brush your teeth, floss, and rinse with mouthwash. This will make it a more enjoyable experience for everyone, and more of an activity than a chore. It also makes it easier to be sure that your child is cleaning their teeth the right way, without hovering over them every night. Plus, it saves time by allowing you to manage your children’s dental health routine while also taking care of yours, killing two birds with one stone.