At the Hamptons Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we realize that getting your children to brush their teeth and floss properly can be difficult. However, ensuring that your children establish good oral hygiene habits early on in life is integral to helping them maintain good oral health for the rest of their lives.
Protecting your children’s oral health is a task that starts earlier in their lives than you may think. In fact, there are several things you can do when your child is an infant to help keep his or her mouth healthy. Here are five tips for protecting your children’s teeth, from infancy through the teenage years.
#1: Wipe down your infant’s gums.
Using a clean, damp cloth to wipe down your baby’s gums after each feeding will keep bacteria from forming.
#2: Be careful of what you put into your baby’s bottle.
Never put juice, soda or any other sugary beverages into your baby’s bottle. You should only put breast milk or formula in your infant’s bottle. Also, try not to let your infant take a bottle to bed. Sugary liquids can cling to a baby’s teeth, fueling bacteria that can cause tooth decay. If your baby needs to take a bottle to bed, fill it with water only.
#3: Supervise young children while they brush their teeth.
As soon as your child gets his or her first tooth, brush it! Use a gentle, child-sized toothbrush with a smear of fluoride toothpaste. In addition, provide proper supervision while young children brush their teeth, until they are about 6 years old.
#4: Make sure your teenagers are practicing good oral hygiene habits too.
According to the American Dental Hygienists Association, about 75 percent of teenagers have gums that bleed, which can be a sign of early gum disease. Make sure your teenagers are brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and changing their toothbrushes three to four times a year. Also, make sure they keep all their regular dental exam and cleaning appointments.
#5: Promote healthy foods.
Finally, promote healthy eating in children of any age. Eat sparing amounts of foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt and those that are highly processed. Have healthy, nutritious foods on hand for when children need a snack. Apples, carrot sticks and other crunchy fruits and veggies will not only give your children the nutrients they need, but also help clean the teeth in between brushings.
To Learn More
To schedule your child’s next routine dental appointment or to learn more about how you can help protect your children’s oral health, contact the Hamptons Family and Cosmetic Dentistry by calling (972) 395-9292.