Tooth care for toddlers and babies can be a bit of a mystery for parents. We often wonder how often to brush and floss for our kids and when to start visiting the dentist. To be honest, I was seriously overwhelmed when my kids were young and oral hygiene fell to the wayside. I wish I would’ve understood how important it was back then.
I regret not paying attention to oral hygeine when my oldest son was young. He’s struggled with cavities in his baby teeth ever since, and it’s important to realize that even though our kids will eventually lose their baby teeth, the early years play a big role in the health of their mouth later in life. You live and you learn, right?
5 Tips to Keep Kids Teeth Healthy
Below are five simple, yet essential tips parents need to make sure they’re creating a foundation for a lifetime of tooth and oral health for their children.
Start As Soon As Possible
One of the important things many parents don’t realize is that they should start caring for their children’s mouths right away. Even though newborn babies don’t have teeth and won’t for several months, parents should start wiping their gums clean each day with a washcloth or something that’s soft and gentle on their teeth. Baby teeth care doesn’t have to be overwhelming, you don’t even need a toothbrush. 🙂
Even as your children get older and reach preschool age, you’ll need to remain vigilant about supervising mouth care activities. That’s where I went wrong with my oldest son. I trusted he was doing a good job brushing and he wasn’t. So although you may think your child is old enough to do it alone, you should still watch to make sure it’s being done properly. Take a look inside their mouths after brushing and do a once over, if necessary.
Maintain a Healthy Bedtime Routine
One of the most damaging things parents do for their children’s oral health is to put them to bed with a bottle or cup. Babies shouldn’t go to sleep with their formula or milk, and nor should older children go down with a drink, particularly sugary juice. It’s easiest to eliminate this habit very early on. Once a child has brushed his or her teeth before bed, the only thing they should have afterward is water. Otherwise, the mouth can become a breeding ground for bacteria, which leads to tooth decay.
Think About An Electric Toothbrush
An electric toothbrush can make your child’s dental care a little easier for everyone. Companies like Sonicare make great electric toothbrushes that are designed to be kid-friendly, and they can give kids a more thorough cleaning than what they might get with a manual toothbrush. My kids love using electric toothbrushes and I’ve noticed their teeth get much cleaner when using this type of toothbrush as compared to a standard brush.
Don’t Forget the Flossing
Flossing is one of those things that we all skimp out on, and kids are no exception. While parents may have a grasp on the concept of making sure their children, including very young ones, brush their teeth twice a day, flossing often gets neglected. Flossing is just as important to children’s dental care as it is for adults, and as soon as children have teeth that are touching one another it should become a regular part of your child’s tooth care routine. Try little hand-held flossers designed for kids, they work well and make flossing fun! 😀
When you’re able to establish the foundation for good mouth care as early as possible, it’s more likely to continue being important for your children. Even very young babies need to have their mouths cared for, and in addition to regular dentist appointments, as a parent you can put your kids on the right track toward healthy teeth, gums and mouths with the habits you reinforce.
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