The goal of a family dentist is to help patients of all ages achieve optimal oral health. For parents, a family dentist is the key to navigating their children’s oral health care from the time they are born until they leave the nest.
A family dentist will be your guide when it comes to avoiding baby bottle tooth decay, eliminating pacifier and thumb-sucking habits, teaching your little one to brush and floss, and encouraging healthy eating habits. For more personalized tips, schedule an appointment with our family dentist today!
Continue reading to learn five oral health tips for kids from our family dentist.
1. Understand the effects of bad habits
Putting your baby to bed with a bottle in her mouth may soothe her and help her fall asleep faster but it could cause baby bottle tooth decay. This occurs because sugar from the milk sticks to the teeth and saliva production decreases while sleeping. If left untreated, tooth decay can result in early tooth loss.
Thumb-sucking and pacifier habits can also negatively affect your child’s oral health and development. Children should stop using these comfort mechanisms by age 4. If not, their upper front teeth may not erupt properly, and they may develop misalignment. Other complications related to thumb-sucking and pacifier habits include roof narrowing and tooth decay.
Understanding the impacts of these bad habits helps parents know what to look for when it comes to their child’s oral health and development.
2. Start brushing and flossing early
Even before a baby has teeth, parents should be cleaning their child’s gums with a damp cloth to prevent disease-causing bacteria from attacking the teeth below the surface.
Once a baby has developed his first tooth, parents can begin using a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste to gently clean the tooth. The best way to do this is to have your little one lay down in your lap, open wide, and let you gently clean his tooth.
Then, when two teeth have developed side-by-side, flossing is a must. Use the same technique as brushing.
Your child may not like this at first, but she will grow accustomed to the routine.
3. Offer healthy snacks
Crackers are one of the most convenient kid-friendly snacks available. Unfortunately, they are also one of the leading causes of cavities. Thankfully, there are many other options that are convenient and healthy.
These snack foods are high in protein and calcium to help your little one maintain good oral health:
- String cheese
- Apples and almond or peanut butter
- Sweet potato chips
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Greek yogurt
4. Make oral health care fun
We understand that even adults find brushing and flossing their teeth unenjoyable, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few ideas for making oral health care fun for your little one (and yourself!):
- Turn on a two-minute song or entertaining video
- Do your oral hygiene routines together in the morning and evening
- Offer rewards for consecutive days of brushing and flossing
- Take your little one shopping for her toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss
5. Visit your family dentist every six months
The American Dental Association recommends that people of all ages visit the dentist at least every six months or at their dentist’s recommendation. This includes children with at least one tooth.
During children’s dental appointments, the family dentist examines his teeth, gums, and jaw for proper development, checks for signs of decay and disease, and offers preventive treatments. Parents also learn helpful tips for how to care for their child’s smile.
The key to a great family dentist experience is to choose a family dentist with lots of experience! Dr. Matthew L. Bridges has been a practicing family dentist for over two decades. He enjoys treating patients of all ages, but especially children.
To schedule your child’s dental appointment at Chisholm Trail Smile Center, contact our friendly dental team today at (580) 255-4880.