Teaching Kids Good Dental Habits
As a parent, one of your top priorities is ensuring the health of your child. You do your best to make sure that they eat well, they have regular appointments with their doctor, and that they get enough sleep each night. However, what do you do about ensuring their oral health? Just like you, your child should be brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. However, we know this can be a struggle. At North Atlanta Family Dentistry, we can help you to teach your child good dental habits.
Make Decisions Together
We understand that it can be a battle to get your child to brush and floss their teeth every day. Try taking your child shopping with you for their oral care products. There are numerous products that are designed specifically for kids, with fun characters, bright colors, and pleasant flavors. Let them pick out their toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash. Just make sure that their tools are designed for their smaller mouths and that the bristles of the toothbrush are soft. By letting them be a part of the decision-making process, the odds that your child will want to use these products are increased.
Set a Good Example
It might not seem like it all of the time, but your child watches what you do, and takes their lead from you. To encourage good dental habits, it is essential that you practice them yourself. You can also make the habits more fun by brushing and flossing with your child. After all, these habits can be boring. Having some company can make the time pass faster.
Start Dental Visits Early, and Schedule Regular Appointments
The AAPD recommends that children have their very first dental visit six months after the eruption of the first baby tooth, or no later than their first birthday. If your child has not yet had their first dental visit, and they are over the age of 1, make sure that you schedule their appointment as soon as possible.
With early dental visits, we can help to get your child used to our office so that they do not feel as anxious coming in when they are older. Just like you, your child should have their teeth professionally cleaned and examined. With these visits, we can prevent issues from developing, provide treatment when issues do arise and help your child to develop good oral care practices.
Encourage Healthy Eating
While brushing and flossing are important habits for maintaining a healthy mouth, what your child eats also plays a role. We understand that young children can be picky and getting them to eat healthily can be challenging. Keep plenty of fresh fruit and veggies on hand to eat as snacks, as well as dairy products such as yogurt and cheese. You can also incorporate veggies into smoothies.
Discourage Thumb Sucking or Pacifier Use After the Age of 3
Many infants and toddlers suck their thumbs or use a pacifier. The sucking reflex is completely normal and helps young children to self-soothe and feel comforted. These habits are completely normal at such a young age. However, past the age of 3 or 4, thumb sucking, and pacifier use can affect the development of the teeth and jaws. Help your child to break these habits to help ensure proper oral development. When breaking these habits, give your child extra cuddles if they are having a hard time. You can also provide them with a stuffed friend or blanket to provide comfort.
Getting started with teaching your child good dental habits early is essential for ensuring that they maintain optimal oral health for a lifetime. For more information, or to schedule an appointment for your child, call North Atlanta Family Dentistry at (470) 387-0500 today.