Taking care of our teeth and gums is important, not just for good oral health but to protect overall health and wellness. Good dental habits have to start early in life and parents have a big responsibility to help their children learn how to take care of their teeth each and every day. As leading Rockford, IL dentists, our goal is to make it more rewarding and more impactful to practice good dental hygiene with your kids; many of our parents here at Forest City Dental have found these handy tips to be useful as well:
Watch Those Drinks
While fruit juices and sports drinks are a better choice for kids compared to sodas there is still a lot of sugar in these drinks compared to what water has. The sugar from drinks can easily coat teeth and cause damage to the enamel and boost the number of bacteria growing in the cracks and crevices. This is especially true when these drinks are put in sippy cups where they are sipped on for hours at a time. Water is always the best choice but most kids don’t like drinking plain water, especially if they are used to sweet juices and other drinks. An easy way to make the transition is to move to a half-n-half mix for juices and similar sweet drinks. Diluting them with water still gives a flavor so kids enjoy it but there is less sugar to worry about. And then you can begin offering just plain water for some of their drinks throughout the day to keep their teeth rinsed and clean. This is an easy step to take to make it easier for everyone in the family to practice good dental hygiene each and every day!
Lead by Example
When it comes how kids learn, many parents are surprised at just how much they can pick up from watching what their parents do and don’t do. Even children as young as 1-2 years of age can begin mimicking things their parents say and do, which means you need to start modeling good brushing and flossing routines right away for your child. If you want to practice good dental hygiene for your children then start making brushing a family affair! Brushing should last for at least two minutes and include the teeth and tongue; likewise flossing of each tooth should also be done when you brush- follow with mouthwash and let your child try a kid’s version if they are old enough to know not to swallow. Remember for younger kids, parents need to be doing the brushing and flossing, even kids as old as 5 or 6 can benefit from a quick go over by a parent to ensure they are getting good coverage when they brush on their own. The most important thing is for your kids to see you doing the very thing you are telling them to do-it will make them more likely to brush and floss without all the drama and complaining.
Don’t Skip Dentist Visits
If you have anxiety about going to the dentist, your child might be picking up on those fears and you may be affecting how they perceive dental care and the dentist in general. It is helpful to have your child start seeing a dentist as soon as their first teeth start to come in and to find a dentist who specializes in pediatric care. The more familiar and comfortable your child is with being at the dentist the more likely they are to have healthier teeth and the more likely they are to not skimp on their dental care as they get older. The more your child sees a dentist, the more they can reinforce the good dental habits you are modeling at home as well. We can catch problem areas before they become serious and create a plan for addressing them. Contact us today to set up an appointment for your child and let us help your entire family practice good dental hygiene each and every day. Our team of Rockford, IL dental care experts are ready to help you and your family, so call us today!