It can be overwhelming, at times, for parents to stay on top of all the appointments and urgent issues that concern our kids’ lives and health care. Just as you would not neglect regular annual health check ups, we at Mimi Smiles want to urge you to stay current with your child’s oral care. That is not limited to just making their teeth cleaning appointments every 6 months, but there is much you can do in your home and starting long before you see your child’s first tooth.
If you have not already done so with your baby, begin developing not only good oral care, but life long habits with daily oral care. If your baby is used to you taking care of his mouth before the first teeth come in, it is much easier to then graduate to a soft brush and a bit of toothpaste.
- Wipe your baby’s gums with a damp cloth twice a day will go a long way in removing bacteria that leads to plaque and cavities.
- Limit baby’s sweets and sticky foods that cause a build up of acids on the teeth and gums. This includes fruit juices
- Do not get into the habit of your baby going to sleep with a bottle.
For older children, apply some of the above tips, but modify them according to your child’s age. Set a great example by establishing good oral care for you, making brushing and flossing a playful, but important family practice in the evenings. Check out these titles of fun, family books that encourage good tooth care for kids.
You can be successful with improving oral care habits for kids right after a visit to the dentist. The hygienist will evaluate how well your child is brushing and flossing and is a great resource for tips to improve. Additionally, sometimes when kids hear this advice coming from someone other than mom or dad, they tend to listen and take it more seriously. Remember that brushing and flossing twice a day is a much more successfully established habit if you start your kids out with this expectation as toddlers
- Immediately after the appointment, set up your child’s new toothbrush and floss that came home from the dentist in a fun, new caddy or designated shelf in the bathroom.
- Go over with your child the tips that the hygienist covered, especially talking to them about how oral health has a direct bearing on overall good health.
- Make a special trip to the drug store for any new supplies suggested that you may not have at home. Try out some of the fun new flavors of toothpaste and floss.
- Set up an oral care chart for fun and motivation to keep your child on track and seeing progress
- Talk about oral health care goals and how oral health is a part of your total health care plan.
- Talk to your child about limiting starchy and sugary foods not only for overall good health, but for oral health, as well.
- Talk to your dentist about dental sealants for the chewing surfaces of the very back teeth.
Remember, it starts with you and the example you set, as well as the fun attitude in your home around the importance of good oral health care for life long habits for your family.
Featured photo source: Flickr user stevendepolo.