How to Encourage Young Children to Take Great Care of Their Teeth



Everyone knows that the American Dental Association recommends we brush our teeth at least twice each day, once in the morning and once before bed. Yet it is estimated that more than 40% of children will have at least one cavity by the time they start kindergarten. Here are a few tips on our parents can help their children develop good dental hygiene.

It Is Not Just About Teeth, But About Overall Health.

Strong healthy teeth are essential for good health. The best practice that dentists recommend for tooth health is preventative care. Once adult teeth come in, there are no second chances. That is why it is best for children to learn to care for their teeth earlier in life rather than later.

What Is the First Step In Learning to Care For One’s Teeth?

Children can begin to learn how to brush their teeth at age two. The tools they need are fluoride-free tooth paste and a children’s soft toothbrush. This is a great age for them to practice how to correctly brush their teeth.

Try to make this necessary time fun for the child. Play music as a timer for the required two minutes, or get them a special tooth brush that will count them down. Encouraging them will help them come to see the process as both necessary and fun, which is a great first step.

De-Mystify Dentists: Avoiding the Fear of the Dentist’s Office.

Pediatric dentists are a choice many parents make for their children. The reason has to do with the care many pediatric dentists treat their small patients with, from the moment they walk in, to the moment they leave. Dentists who primarily serve adults are not inappropriate of course, it is just that pediatric dentists devote their entire work day to soothing children who might be frightened of the dentist’s chair.

A pediatric dentist’s office is likely to be decorated in a way that makes kids feel at home. This might be revealed through silly art on the walls, to toys in the waiting room, and of course through gentle care. Many children are uncomfortable with the dentist, but one good interaction is enough to relieve some of that fear.

An essential component of building good dental hygiene is getting kids comfortable with their dentist. Kids are more likely to listen to the dentist’s instructions for tooth care if they have a good rapport.

The Dreaded Sugar: Help Kids Prevent Cavities With Fewer Fights.

Kids love sugary foods. Actually, most adults love sugary foods too. Dentists, of course, wish we would all lay off the sugar. The truth is that while we all could use less sugar in our diets, as it certainly does a number on our teeth.

To counteract potential backlash, talk with your children about sugar. Let them know that while it is fun to indulge in desserts and candy, that they are best as occasional treats. Even regular brushing is not enough to fully reverse the damage that sugar does to the enamel of teeth.

Children who learn about good dental hygiene from an early age may have a better chance of avoiding dental problems later. A two-year old who has some trouble applying perfect brushing technique has plenty of time to learn. A nine-year old is not in the same position, as some of their adult teeth will have already come in.

When children learn early, there is room for miss-steps. Teach your kids to care about proper dental hygiene by teaching them to brush regularly at two years, getting them comfortable with their dentist, and warning them about the damaging effects of sugar. Your reward will be children who practice healthy life-long habits.

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