As parents, there’s a desire to see your children grow strong and healthy. The same goes when it comes to their oral health. While they’re still young, you want to make sure that they get their healthy oral habits down pat. And doing so ensures their dental success in the future.
Building Healthy Oral Habits for Kids Isn’t Difficult
If you want your kids to have a healthy dental foundation, it’s best to start them young. In the first 5 years, your child’s brain is developing rapidly and will strongly shape his or her future – more so than any other point in their life. From baby to toddler, here are some tips for you:
- Before the first tooth of your child erupts, make sure to wipe his or her gums with a clean, damp washcloth, or gauze. Or, take a baby toothbrush (must be a baby/toddler toothbrush as the bristles are softer), and lightly brush the gums with water on a daily or twice-a-day basis. This can better ensure your baby’s teeth will develop properly with little to no complications.
- Breastfeed when you can. Baby bottle tooth decay is something that is very much preventable. As long as you clean after your baby every feeding and make sure they don’t have anything sweet in their bottle when they nap, you should be fine. However, to be sure, breastfeeding is the way to go in these cases. Because the milk bypasses the gums and teeth, there’s less incidence of any nasty tooth decay.
- Around 4-8 months, your baby will probably start teething. When their teeth come out, brush them twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Teething is a fact of life, particularly in your tots. While it isn’t necessarily supposed to be painful, it can be a source of discomfort and distress to your little ones. This doesn’t have to be the case. There are a bunch of quick ways to lessen your child’s discomfort without having to incur further damage. Examples include giving them something cold to suck on and something they can safely nibble. No sweet stuff, though! Healthy oral habits for kids start with the parents.
- Prescribe a routine you can do to keep your baby’s teeth healthy.
- If your child has teething pain, there are a few quick remedies you can do. Letting them chew on certain toys can help ease the pain.
After your child’s teeth begin to erupt, it’s time for full-on brushing. While your child will not be able to yet brush their own teeth, it’s important that you as a parent do this twice-a-day task for your toddler and teach them later on as they get older.
- If your child is under 18 months, gentle and straightforward are the keywords. Use water instead of toothpaste to clean their teeth. Use a soft cloth to wipe those tooth buds gently. To ease teething pains, you can also massage their gums during cleaning. Do this twice a day.
Once your child gets the spitting-after-brushing concept down, this would be the time to introduce a bit of toothpaste, increasing each time until you reach the perfect amount of paste. It’s important to remind them that even though the toothpaste tastes good, it cannot be swallowed and must be spat out.
As they grow older, you can graduate to a soft-bristled brush with a small head. Make use of a little smidge of low-fluoride toothpaste to protect their teeth as they grow. Encourage them to spit out the paste right after brushing. This is a critical healthy oral habit for your kiddo to learn. The sooner, the better. Once they’re around 2-3 years of age, you can have them graduate to your typical tube of toothpaste.
Remember, brush and floss daily! Since children may be unsure what to do. That said, set an example for them through exhibiting proper brushing techniques. Always remind them to brush their teeth properly, and floss for them in the meantime so that they can get used to this activity.
Your Child’s Pediatric Dentist is Your Friend
When faced with where to take your child for their first dental visit, your first instinct might be to take them to your general dentist. This isn’t a bad idea, per se—it’s a convenient way to have your family’s dental needs in check. But if your child starts exhibiting fear of the dentist at an early age or might need some extra TLC on their teeth, you might want to head to a pediatric dentist instead. Because they’re trained in handling younger patients, they’ll not only be able to calm your child’s frazzled nerves, but they can also help you better your kid’s oral health as well.
All of these healthy oral habits for kids combined can better guarantee that your child will end up with better oral health now and in the future.