Teaching your kids the importance of good oral hygiene brings lifelong benefits. Here are a few tips for keeping their teeth bright and healthy.
Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of those skills that’s essential to learn early in life and important to maintain as you age. For many of us, it’s second nature to brush our teeth in the morning and before bed, but parents of young children know that getting their kids to brush and floss is no mean feat. But no matter how difficult it gets, remember to stick with it, parents! Teach your kids early, and they’ll have far fewer dental issues over the years.
In order to help make the process a little easier, here are six tips to help your children keep a bright, healthy smile.
- Remind your kids the importance of brushing and flossing. This might seem obvious, but instilling good dental habits is the best preventative measure. You might assume that cavities in baby teeth don’t matter, but dental decay in baby teeth can cause problems in your children’s permanent teeth. Poor flossing habits can even lead to gum disease down the line.
- Coach your kids. Check up on your kids’ brushing and flossing practice and give them tips. This will help them integrate good oral hygiene practices into their daily routines. Make sure to check that they’re getting all the plaque that can cause tooth decay.
- Avoid sugary foods. This might seem like another obvious tup, but encouraging your kids to reach for the fruit, veggies, nuts, and cheese over the candy and chips is important. Luckily, there are ways to make learning good food habits fun. For instance, encourage your kids to help with buying and growing food, and get them involved with preparing healthy meals. Taking ownership over their food will encourage them to seek out healthier options. When trying new foods with younger children, you can also encourage them to bring their favorite stuffed animal to the table and to have the stuffed animal try it first. If you have to, save sugary or starchy food for mealtimes. You’ll help them limit foods that harm their teeth to specific times of day.
- Make healthy food easier to come by. Kids can get impatient when they’re hungry and they won’t want to wait for you to cut up an apple or carrots. Make sure to keep a container of healthy snacks in the fridge. When you’re shopping, you can also give your kids a list of healthy snacks to find as if they’re on a scavenger hunt. Having them pay at the register is another way to keep them involved in the process.
- Start dental visits early. This will help normalize the experience. The AAPD advises that parents take their children to the dentist for the first time after their first tooth appears and before their first birthday. Dental x-rays should start around the age of 5 or 6, although children with a higher risk for tooth decay or limited tooth space might need to have them taken earlier.
- Find a dentist you trust. Visiting the dentist can be stressful — even for adults! — so it’s important to find someone who makes you comfortable. This way, your children can learn to recognize and trust them too.
If you live in the Denver area and are looking for a family-friendly dentist, contact us today. At Espire, we aspire to make visiting the dentist as comfortable as possible. We have a large selection of movies and tv shows for patients (and kids!) to watch during their visits. We also offer noise-cancelling headphones if you would prefer a quieter experience, and we keep complimentary blankets and neck pillows on hand for additional comfort.