Though good parents naturally care about their children’s well-being, it’s important to take the right steps to make sure your children are as healthy as possible. One area where many parents can become lax is in helping their children maintain proper oral hygiene. In the hustle and bustle of life, between school, extracurricular activities, and social events, parents might not always keep track of whether or not their kids remember to brush their teeth. Forgetting about oral health can end up leading to a whole host of dental problems, such as cavities, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. If you want your child to have a healthy smile from childhood on into adulthood, here are some common mistakes you’ll want to avoid.
Schedule Regular Dental Checkups
An alarming number of children develop major dental problems each year simply because their parents fail to schedule and take them to regular dental checkups. Many dentists recommend regular checkups and cleanings every six months. Each child’s dental history and other health factors should be taken into account when determining the dental checkup schedule that’s right for them. Speak to your child’s dentist to find out what type of dental schedule they recommend. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children begin visiting the dentist no later than their first birthday and as soon as their first tooth emerges. As a parent, this is a crucial step for you to stay on top of when it comes to promoting your child’s long-term oral health.
Establish and Monitor Regular Brushing Routine
Many parents know it’s important for their children to regularly brush their teeth. But children have a tendency not to do a thorough job when they brush their teeth without supervision. That’s why it’s imperative that you monitor your child’s tooth brushing to make sure they’re brushing properly. You can set a timer for two minutes and tell your child they need to brush until the timer goes off. Make sure they’re using a type of toothpaste that’s safe for children. A soft-bristle brush is best to avoid damaging teeth and gums. Teach your child to brush on each surface of the tooth, and watch them to see if they’re doing it properly. You’ll probably want to brush your child’s teeth for them if they’re too young to do an adequate job on their own. Most dentists recommend that children and adults brush their teeth at least twice a day, in the morning and before bedtime. Brushing after every meal is even better.
Encourage Flossing and Mouth Wash Usage
Though brushing may be one of the most critical steps to good oral hygiene, it’s not the only tool parents have for keeping their child’s bite bright. You can purchase child-safe mouthwash and dental floss to help your child develop an even more effective oral health routine. Teach your child to floss gently to avoid damaging their gums. Make sure to show your child how to follow the mouthwash instructions so they don’t accidentally swallow the mouthwash.
Replace Worn Out Toothbrushes or Mouthguards
Toothbrushes can lose their effectiveness in cleaning teeth after a few months of wear and tear. If your child uses a manual toothbrush, replace it at least every three months. If they use a mechanical toothbrush, you can replace it or replace the head if you purchase the type with replaceable heads. Another time to be sure and replace toothbrushes is after your child has suffered an illness such as a cold or flu. It’s also a good idea for each family member to use their own toothpaste tube to avoid spreading germs. If your child wears a mouthguard for sports make sure to regularly replace the mouthguard according to the recommendations found on the mouthguard package.
Encourage Healthy Snacking Habits
Unhealthy snacking is one of the leading causes of cavities and tooth decay. To help keep your child in the no-cavity club at their next dental visit, you can help them make good choices when it comes to snacks. Instead of candy or sticky fruit snacks, you can offer them cut-up apples, melons, or carrot sticks. Limit their intake of sugary drinks like pop and fruit juice as well.
As a parent, you play an essential role in helping your child develop positive oral hygiene habits. By avoiding these mistakes you can put your child on the path to a lifetime of oral health.