Although most adults understand the importance of looking after teeth, kids tend to be oblivious to the dangers. They view brushing teeth as a major inconvenience, rather like taking a bath or shower, and as a consequence they don’t bother wherever possible. But encouraging your kids to look after their teeth is very important and without your input they could easily end up with tooth decay and all kinds of dental problems later in life.
Dental Care from a Young Age
The best way to encourage your child to look after their teeth is to instil good habits from a very early age. As soon as a baby’s milk teeth break through, you can begin brushing them with a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste to protect his teeth from tooth decay. Make teeth brushing a regular thing so that your child is used to the sensation of a brush on his teeth.
Establish a Good Routine
From the age of around two years, a child should be encouraged to have a go at brushing his teeth under supervision. Use only a small amount of toothpaste. Make brushing teeth a part of the daily routine, preferably at bedtime and first thing in the morning. Keep a close eye on how well your child is brushing his teeth to ensure he is doing it properly—children need to spend at least two minutes brushing in a methodical fashion.
Regular Dental Checkups
It is very important that your child has regular dental checkups from an early age. Ideally take babies and toddlers along when the rest of the family go for their check-up. Most dentists will be happy to let young children have a seat in the dentist’s chair so they can see that a dental check-up is nothing to be scared about. Having regular checkups will ensure that any early signs of tooth decay are picked up quickly and treated.
Pacifiers and Sucking Thumbs
A lot of parents give their child a pacifier or allow them to suck their thumb as a comfort device. Sucking a thumb or a pacifier won’t cause tooth decay, but your child will probably need orthodontic work when they are older if they continue to do so by the time their second teeth begin to break through.
Food and Drink
The best way to make sure your child enjoys healthy teeth is to limit their intake of sugary foods and fizzy pop. Babies and toddlers should only be given milk, water or sugar free juice to drink. Fruit juice contains lots of natural sugars and acids, so never let a baby or toddler drink it from a bottle. Sweets and soda are another major cause of tooth decay in children. All kids love sweets and soda and they are fine in moderation, but if enjoyed regularly, sweets and soda are extremely damaging to teeth. Cleaning teeth regularly will help to limit the damage, but it is a much better idea to restrict your child’s access to sweets and fizzy soda where possible.
A lot of children’s teeth problems can be avoided by regular visits to the dentist from an early age. And if you encourage him to look after his teeth from the start, he will hopefully be blessed with lovely healthy teeth into adulthood.
[box_light]The author of this post, Lily Scott, is a freelance blogger who often writes on topics related to health and fitness online. She is associated with Bathurst Dupont Dental, a clinic specializing in cosmetic dentistry procedures. Visit www.bathurstdupont.com/ to know more about her work.[/box_light]
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