Did you know 28% of two- to five-year-olds have experienced a cavity? Many parents want to develop good oral habits early for their kids, but don’t know when they should start taking care of their oral health. For the best cavity prevention, oral health habits for kids start before they even have teeth! A professional Hurst pediatric dentist knows starting an oral health routine early in babies will instill a good brushing habit later on.
But, many parents are unsure what to do for their child’s oral health, or how often it needs to be done.
Keep reading to discover our tips for children’s oral care habits!
Preventing Tooth Decay in Children
If you wait until your child has a full set of teeth before you introduce brushing and flossing habits, they may have developed cavities already. Cavities are caused by a bacteria that lives in our mouths called mutans streptococcus. Babies aren’t born with these bacteria, but they are introduced from normal life experiences, such as sharing a spoon with mom at mealtime.
Brushing and flossing our teeth to clean food particles and sugars away is the best way to prevent these bacteria from flourishing. This is why it is important to get your baby accustomed to the feeling of brushing so they won’t refuse it when they have a full set of teeth.
Using a soft washcloth, you can gently rub your baby’s gums twice a day after feeding, starting during their first week after birth. When the first teeth come in, you can brush them after eating with a small toothbrush and water. Creating an oral health habit right from the beginning will make brushing fun later on!
Visit a Hurst Pediatric Dentist by Age 1
Most children by age one will have most of their full set of twenty baby teeth. It is important you start your child’s relationship with their dentist early to prevent or stop tooth decay. Making the dentist’s office a comfortable and familiar place for your kid will also ease the anxiety some people develop around dental visits.
Visiting a pediatric dentist is also important because they are specialized in children’s needs. A pediatric dentist is an expert in mouth health and development. They can recommend if crooked teeth will straighten out or require braces later on.
As experts in children’s oral health, pediatric dentists have spent an additional two years in school for training in behavioral management, orthodontics, and sedation techniques. Sharing the habit of regular dental checkups is the best way to keep your child’s oral health on the right track.
If you missed the early dentist checkups for your toddler, it’s not too late to get your child asset by a Hurst pediatric dentist. We recommend children see the dentist every six months, but especially if they are experiencing any tooth sensitivity to heat or cold, if any broken teeth occur, or if the gums are bleeding.
A dentist’s office that is designed to make kids feel calm, with an expert in children’s oral health, is the best way to ensure good oral care from baby age to teens.
How to Make Brushing Fun
Many kids don’t want to brush their teeth and this becomes a source of tension within the family. Ease the toothbrush battle by trying these strategies.
Let Them Choose
Children love to feel like they have some control in their life. Taking them to the store to choose their own toothbrush and flossers will make them feel proud of using these tools. There are many options available for kids, including brushes with TV characters, light-up options, and bright colors.
Do It Together
Kids like to follow the leader, especially their parents! If you’re finding it hard to get your children to want to clean their teeth, get your toothbrush out at the same time. Make it a fun competition, like who can last the longest before they need to spit into the sink.
Use a Timer
Many kids learn with some kind of encouragement tool. Using a timer, such as the stopwatch on your phone or buying a toothbrush that lights up for one minute, will demonstrate exactly how long proper oral hygiene should take.
Children learn best through role-playing. Get your child to play being a dentist and practice their skills on you or their favorite toys. This creates a memorable bonding time and boosts a positive relationship for future dental visits. Plus, acting out being an authority on oral health will encourage your kid to listen to their own advice!
Try a Water Flosser
Most kids will do anything to avoid flossing and also love anything that’s like a water shooter. If your child refuses to let you floss their teeth, try investing in an electric water floss machine and they will want to use it every night before bed.
The ease of use, plus the tingling massage feeling promotes a healthy routine that traditionally flossing doesn’t inspire. Plus, you cut down on single-use waste by not throwing away disposable floss or floss sticks daily.
Reward Good Oral Care
Motivating good behavior will help instill a positive and healthy oral care routine. Creating a progress chart with stickers is a simple way to show your child how well they are doing with their oral health. Provide little rewards such as extra bedtime stories, a small toy, or a healthy treat for a week or month of consistent brushing with no fights.
Schedule a Pediatric Dentist Appointment Today!
Using these tips for a fun, oral health routine for your kids will make visiting a Hurst pediatric dentist more enjoyable for the whole family. Starting a routine from the earliest age possible will instill smart habits that prevent plaque, cavities, and any anxiety around visiting the dentist.
Choosing a pediatric dentist in Hurst is easy with Park Place Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics. Dr. Tello and Dr. Singh are experts in family dental needs and provide a comforting, child-friendly location.
Send us a message today to book an appointment or meet your new dental team!