Healthy teeth are key to a healthy childhood: kids need them for chewing, speaking clearly, and having a bright smile. And thanks to advances in dentistry and oral care products, today’s children are more likely than ever to grow up with strong, healthy teeth. As a parent, you play an important role in your child’s dental health: in fact, good oral care begins with you.
It is especially important to keep your child enthusiastic and motivated about caring for his or her teeth. So whether you’re teaching your children how to brush properly or taking them to the dentist for a checkup, remember that it’s up to you to set a good example. And don’t forget to praise your child afterwards for clean teeth and a healthy smile!
Children should first go to the dentist sometime between the eruption of their first tooth and their first birthday. The dentist will examine your child’s teeth, gums, and jaw; check for any early signs of problems; and show you the right way to clean and care for your child’s teeth. This is also a time to ask how your child’s teeth are developing.
Here are some tips and simple guidelines to help you with your child’s teeth development and home care:
- Brush at least twice a day – in the morning and just before bed.
- Spend two minutes brushing – concentrating on the chewing surfaces and back teeth, where cavities often first develop.
- Use a pea-sized amount of children’s fluoride toothpaste. Teach your child to spit out any toothpaste that is left after brushing.
- Look for a brush that is suitable for your child’s age and dexterity.
- Don’t share brushes between children – it will spread germs.
- Brushing your teeth together sets a good example and helps your child to learn, by watching and imitating you!
- As early as you can, start cleaning in-between your child’s teeth. Ask your dentist for advice on when this should begin, and how to do it.
- Avoid putting your baby to bed with his or her bottle.
- Get your child’s teeth and gums checked at least every six months.
- Guide children away from sugary foods and drinks and reduce the number of times they have them during the day.
What about Fluoride Treatments?
Tooth decay, or cavities, used to be a certainty. But the arrival of fluoridated drinking water and toothpaste has changed that. Fluoride is a natural mineral that safely strengthens tooth enamel (the hard outer “shell” of your tooth) and helps stop cavities from forming. All children, and adults, can really benefit from fluoride. If your child isn’t getting enough fluoride from the drinking water, or they continue to get cavities, your dentist may suggest a fluoride treatment.
Remember, good oral care begins with you!
A lifetime of good oral health can be a reality for your child if you get him or her off on the right track early. Keep them motivated by setting a good example yourself and create a consistent and fun environment for tooth brushing. Soon, they’ll learn to recognize it as part of their daily routine, just like eating breakfast or reading a bedtime story.
So, remember, starting early and starting right will ensure that your child’s smile stays healthy and bright!