There's a lot to think about when you have a baby or young child, and oral hygiene isn't always your biggest concern. However, promoting good oral hygiene and health in your child sets the tone for their adult life. Preventing problems is often easier than treating them, and with a few simple steps, you can ensure that your child grows up valuing their teeth and taking good care of them.
Start an Oral Hygiene Routine Early
Before your baby even has teeth, it's good practice to brush their gums with water and a soft toothbrush. As soon as teeth appear, you can start brushing with an infant toothbrush and toothpaste, and flossing can begin as soon as your child has two teeth next to each other. When your children are old enough to brush their own teeth, they may see it as a chore and be resistant to the idea. Solstice sets out some ways to combat this, such as allowing your child to choose a fun toothbrush, rewarding good behaviour, and above all, modelling good behaviour - if children can see you taking care of your teeth, they're much more likely to follow suit.
Find a Good Children's Dentist
Many people do not know when their child should start going to the dentist, but as Delta Dental explains, a child's first visit to a dentist should take place at around a year old. There are many benefits to taking your child to the dentist at this age, most notably that they will be familiar with the atmosphere and process, leading to less dental fear in later life. Choose a good children's dentist, ideally an expert in pediatric dentistry who is willing to answer all your questions about your child's oral health.
Promote a Healthy, Tooth-Friendly Diet
There are certain foods that should be avoided if you want to promote oral health, such as sweets, chocolate, and other desserts. However, it's inevitable that your child will eventually eat these foods, so be sure to brush their teeth afterwards to get rid of the sugary build-up. You might also want to restrict the amount of fruit juice you give your child, as the sugar in these drinks can lead to tooth decay. WebMD recommends that your child drinks less than four ounces of fruit juice each day. Walker Pediatric Dentistry also suggests that you make sure your child has access to fluoridated drinking water, or ask your dentist about fluoride supplements.
Setting your child up for a life of excellent oral health can seem like an overwhelming responsibility, but it doesn't have to be a struggle. If you model excellent dental hygiene and make sure that they brush and floss regularly, as well as visiting the dentist regularly, your child is sure to enjoy good oral health with few problems.