Teaching your children good oral habits when they are young can help them maintain healthy teeth throughout adulthood. You should take your children to a dentist by their first birthday.
Kids can experience tooth decay just like adults, so it is important to have their teeth treated by a professional. You can even use the first visit to discuss your children’s diet and fluoride needs with the dentist.
Preparing Your Children for their First Dental Visit
Children are usually scared the first time they visit a kids dentist because they do not know what to expect. One way to make your kids more comfortable is by explaining the visit to them. You can turn it into an educational experience. Keep the conversation positive, short and simple. Make sure to be supportive. Let your children know that they have someone by their side. You can even bring their favorite blanket or stuffed animal with you during the visit.
Taking Care of Their Oral Health at Home
Until your children are old enough to brush and floss on their own, you must take personal responsibility for their oral health. One way to do this is by cleaning your infant’s gums with a wet cloth after each meal. Once your child’s first tooth comes in, use water and a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean it. Avoid using toothpaste until you discuss your children’s fluoride needs with a dentist.
One other way to protect your children from developing tooth decay is by weaning them off bottle use within the first year of their life. You should also limit their pacifier use. Excessive pacifier use can cause their teeth to misalign. Children who suck on their thumb excessively can also have oral health issues, so try to prevent them from developing this bad habit.
Tips on Teaching Your Kids How to Brush and Floss
You must lead by example when teaching kids how to brush and floss. Show them that it takes time. Most dentists recommend brushing for at least two minutes, so you can always set a timer. Start by going over the basics. Teach them to brush every tooth, their tongue and the roof of their mouth. You can always make the process more exciting by letting them pick out a toothbrush that features their favorite character. Using a kid-friendly toothpaste flavor can also make the process simpler.
The easiest way to teach your kids how to floss is by demonstrating the process. Teach them how to hold the floss properly. Show them how to place the floss between their teeth using a back and forth motion. Then teach them how to curve the floss around each tooth to clean between their gums.
A good dentist can help your children feel relaxed. Here at Holladay Family Dental we design our office with children in mind. We treat everyone from ages 1 - 100 and understand the age specific issues from young kids to seniors. We can clean your children’s teeth, check for decay and identify fluoride needs. Children who start visiting the dentist at a young age are more likely to experience a lifetime of good oral hygiene.