According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one in 10 two-year-olds already have one or more cavities, and nearly half of five-year-olds have at least one cavity.
Why is childhood dental hygiene important?
As any adult knows who’s ever had one, a cavity can make eating painful, and can be distracting when going about your day. What’s more, tooth decay on a child’s baby teeth can negatively impact their permanent teeth.
Helping your child establish good dental hygiene from a young age will help them to develop good lifelong dental health habits. Preventing cavities will help your child to protect germs from entering their body through the mouth. Regular brushing and flossing can also save your family money in the long run, as certain dental problems are preventable with good oral hygiene.
Here are some tips to help your child learn good dental hygiene habits from a young age.
Model good dental hygiene
Your child will feel much more comfortable with oral hygiene if they see how you maintain your own. Make sure your child sees you brush and floss regularly, reduce sugar in your diet, and maintain your own dentist appointments. Even if you have anxiety over dentist visits yourself, it’s important to stay positive and not let your own fears transfer to your child. Stay positive and encouraging, and your child will learn that good dental hygiene can be fun.
Brush with proper technique
Brushing teeth with heavy pressure this damage your child’s gums, and it could make children resist when it’s time to brush. The American Dental Association recommends brushing our teeth with a soft-bristled brush, and place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth, gently moving it back and forth in short strokes.
Young children may not be able to brush for the recommended two minutes, and that’s okay. Instead, focus on proper technique and reaching all of your child’s teeth.
Make brushing fun
Making brushing fun will help your child feel more comfortable with it. You can play your child’s favorite music while they brush their teeth, or make a bonding moment out of it and brush your teeth together. Even letting your child pick their own toothbrush in the store can help them feel a sense of ownership over their dental hygiene.
Review your child’s eating habits
Foods that are low in sugar are essential for good oral hygiene. Reducing your child’s sugar consumption will help them to have a healthier mouth. For example, instead of fruit juice, try water with citrus fruit. Use this as an opportunity to teach your child about what helps teeth stay healthy and strong. As one of My Place’s principles, Wellness means we always provide healthy food that promote good dental hygiene.
Choose the right dentist for your child
The right dentist for your child will have experience treating children. They’ll be friendly, patient, and helps them understand what’s going on in an age-appropriate way. Also, see if the waiting room and environment are kid-friendly. Meet your prospective dentist beforehand and see how they interact with your child. Whether or not your child is afraid of going to the dentist, the right demeanor and environment can go a long way.