Oral hygiene can take a back-seat with children. Most children don’t want to brush their teeth, and life can get hectic. However, this is the time that good habits are established. If small children don’t quickly get a handle on brushing their teeth, expect half a lifetime of extensive dental work.
It’s important that children brush their teeth twice a day, but parents will need to do it for them until they’re old enough to take care of it themselves. Children are considered “able” when they can spit and rinse out their mouths of toothpaste on they’re own. It’s also important that children regularly floss and visit the dentist to reinforce good oral hygiene.
Some children tend to rush through their brushing. They may take one quick pass over their teeth and think they’re done. Teeth need to be brushed for a minimum of two minutes to ensure that they’re clean. However, it matters how children go about brushing their teeth as well. Children should use small, circular movements to brush their teeth. The toothbrush needs to be positioned at an angle when brushing along the gum-line. This helps to dislodge plaque along the gum-line. Choose a toothbrush that has soft bristles. Some electric toothbrushes make the cleaning process more thorough as children are more prone to missing areas between their teeth.
Regular brushing and flossing is important, but there are other ways to ward off cavities. For instance, choose a toothpaste that had fluoride in it. Parents should make sure their child drinks an adequate amount of water per day. This helps to thin out saliva and reduce the amount of plaque in the mouth. If children are old enough, parents can give them gum to chew between meals. Gum encourages saliva-production, which will help to prevent cavities. Mouthwash is also an excellent option for reducing the amount of plaque that can build up between teeth and along the gum-line. Water flossers are especially helpful in dislodging plaque and food particles.
It is recommended that young children visit a dentist as soon as possible. Children can develop a fear of the dentist if they go in too late. If they’re brought in as soon as they get their first tooth, they are less likely to be fearful of the dentist at a later point. At a young age, and before any dental issues begin, the dentist can look at a child’s mouth in a calm and friendly manner. If parents wait until there’s an issue to address, their child’s first visit will be unpleasant.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that since children will lose their baby teeth, eventually, that it’s okay if these teeth get cavities. Children lose their baby teeth at different rates. This means that if a child doesn’t get a cavity filled, they could end up having big dental issues down the road. The tooth may have to be pulled before it’s naturally ready, and the child could be in danger of gum disease. This is in addition to the fact that cavities cause tooth sensitivity and pain.
It’s not enough that children brush their teeth a couple of times a day. Children often eat small amounts of food daily. While it may be impossible to constantly brush their teeth throughout the day, it’s possible to choose healthy foods that are better for the teeth. Make sure that your child doesn’t ingest a high amount of sugar, which causes bacteria and plaque to grow in the mouth. Instead, opt for fruit and vegetables in between meals. It is also helpful to have children rinse their mouths after they eat. This reduces the amount of food particles in the mouth.
Teaching children about brushing their teeth helps them to take responsibility for their dental hygiene habits. Teach them about good habits and what can happen if they don’t follow through with them. The internet is a useful tool. Use it to show them pictures of dental decay. Help them to set up goals, such as having a cavity-free dental checkup. Let them know exactly what’s happening while they’re at the dentist so that they’re a part of the process.
Small children learn best from their parents when they mirror them and their habits. Parents should brush their teeth with their children in the morning and at night. This helps children to see whether they’re brushing their teeth for a long enough time. It will allow parents the opportunity to see whether their children are brushing thoroughly and correctly as well. Parents should help their children to position their toothbrush at the right angle, and show them how it should be done.
While initial brushing may occur from parental encouragement, children need to establish self-motivation in order to develop this good habit. Using a brushing chart is a good way to encourage good habits. It frees up parents from constantly having to ask whether it was done. Children will naturally refer to their brushing chart in order to check it off. Use rewards for successful completion at the end of the week. Avoid sugary treats, as rewards, that can impede their progress. Rewards should come in the form of toys or special trips.
Many children do not need teeth whitening. However, there are some exceptions. As children begin to mature, their teeth can begin to yellow. Many people who do not smile are shy about the condition of their teeth. Some teeth whitening kits make for promising results and help children and teens to have confidence in their smiles.
Education is the best way to get children to brush their teeth at a young age and to develop lifelong dental hygiene habits. Avoid the temper tantrums and the headaches. Start early.