Keeping a child's teeth clean (even baby teeth) is vital to maintaining his or her overall health and ensuring proper growth and development. Encouraging healthy habits, such as regular brushing and flossing, as well as proper nutrition, will go a long way in keeping a child's teeth healthy. Beyond day-to-day care, scheduling regular visits to a pediatric dentist is essential in preventing infection, disease, and identifying any potential problems in a child's mouth. Following these three essential steps will help to keep a child's teeth healthy.
1. Regular Brushing and Flossing
For adults, regular brushing and flossing might seem like a no-brainer, but for many kids, brushing and flossing can seem like a chore that they would rather avoid. To help introduce a child to regular brushing, it is best to start when he or she is two years old. Early on, take care to only use a small amount of toothpaste (about an eighth of what an adult would typically use). As many young children will swallow toothpaste and not spit it out, it's best to use a fluoride-free toothpaste until a child is old enough to stop swallowing it. At some point, kids will want to brush their own teeth – it's okay to let them, but be sure to give their teeth an extra brush once they've had their turn. Most children will not get into the habit of regularly giving their teeth a proper brush until age 8 or 9.
It is best to start to start flossing between a child's teeth as soon as his or her teeth touch each other. Floss once a day or as needed with either regular string floss or plastic floss picks. Occasionally, repeated proper instruction will enable kids to start flossing on their own. Let them try a few times under supervision, and be sure to reward them for a job well done to encourage continued though flossing.
2. Proper Nutrition
Maintaining proper nutrition for a child is vital in keeping his or her teeth healthy and preventing decay. Frequent snacking of unhealthy foods can increase a child's risk of tooth decay. Foods high in sugar can cause cavities if they are left on a child's teeth for too long. Bacteria eat the sugar left on teeth and create acid, which dissolves enamel. To avoid this, try to limit a child's intake of sugar-high foods and lengthen the intervals between snacks.
3. Routine Visits to A Pediatric Dentist
In order to ensure that a child's teeth remain healthy and develop properly, it is essential to schedule routine visits to a trusted pediatric dentist. Pediatric dental professionals can find and treat early signs and symptoms of infection and structural abnormalities and can provide parents with further information on proper tooth care for their children. Pediatric dental professionals can also provide information and advice on early orthodontics as needed.
Following these three steps will ensure your children are on the right track for proper oral health.