According the CDC, about 1 in 5 children ages 5-11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth. Thankfully, tooth decay is preventable, follow these dental hygiene basics to keep your child’s teeth healthy.
Teach Your Child
Dental hygiene may seem like common sense to some but being a role model for your child and showing them the ropes is vital for dental health.
How often do teeth need to be brushed?
Brushing after each snack or meal is ideal but not always realistic. Shoot for brushing twice daily for two minutes.
How often do teeth need to be flossed?
Flossing should be done daily in order to remove plaque from in between teeth.
Baby teeth may not be permanent, but they do still need care. Use a soft toothbrush to clean your baby’s teeth, starting at a young age helps your child to see the importance of dental care.
Dentists recommend brushing your child’s teeth for them until they are around 8 years old and flossing their teeth until they are ten. When they begin brushing their own teeth it’s important to be involved. Show beginners how to use a very small size of toothpaste and as the child matures and understands how to spit, rather than swallow the toothpaste, graduate to a larger pea sized amount.
Eat Healthy Foods
Make healthy foods like fruits and vegetables more convenient than treats like cookies and candy. Eating foods filled with sugar increases your child’s risk of cavities, as does drinking sugary soft drinks or juices. Reduce their consumption of these by encouraging healthy habits. Try giving your child a list of healthy snacks to fill the grocery cart and putting them in a special snack box when you get home.
Visit the Dentist
The dentist can be intimidating to many but staring early can make things easier. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says children should have their first visit after their first tooth appears and no later than their first birthday. Normalize dentist visits by reading upbeat books about other kids enjoying their appointment.
Keep Things Fun
Letting your child pick out their own toothbrush, whether it’s manual or electric, is a great way to let them have a little fun with this important daily chore. If getting your child to brush their teeth is a hassle, try using a reward system like a chart leading to a small prize. Sometimes getting your child to brush their teeth isn’t an issue, but proper technique is lacking. Try setting a timer or using a tartar dye to ensure they’re effectively removing plaque.