There are so many things that parents do to protect their children’s health. Vaccinations, healthy diet, exercise, and plenty of sleep are all key elements that most of us consider invaluable to our children’s wellbeing. We all understand that instilling these healthy habits from a young age is crucial to not only safeguard their health but to also ensure they know how to properly care for themselves in the future. Of course, most of us also recognize the large role that oral hygiene plays. But, are you certain that you’re teaching your child all that they should know? Here are the most important points to impart to your children regarding the care of their teeth and gums, straight from the dentist’s mouth!
Brushing – Your child should be brushing twice a day, but there’s more to it than that. Many parents are confused as to when they should begin to brush their child’s teeth. The answer is as soon as they break through the gum’s surface. However, you’ll want to ensure you use the appropriate toothpaste, as children should use fluoride-free varieties until they’re old enough to spit it out on their own. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure your child uses an appropriately sized, soft-bristled toothbrush and brushes in gentle, circular motions to avoid damage to the tooth’s enamel.
Flossing – It’s difficult to get most adults to floss regularly, much less children. Nonetheless, it’s an important habit that they should learn early on to protect their gums and to remove plaque that cannot be reached with a toothbrush. The earlier the practice is taught, the more likely it is that it will continue into the future.
Thumb Sucking – There is no shortage of children who use thumb sucking or pacifiers as a means to self-soothe. Often begun during the infant or toddler years, it can be an incredibly difficult habit to break. However, if a child reaches three and is still sucking their thumb or regularly taking a pacifier it’s important to try to deter them. When these habits continue unchecked, they can cause misalignment of teeth and increase the likelihood that harmful bacteria may enter the mouth.
Dental Exams – Too often, dental exams are put off until a tooth ache or similar problem presents itself. In actuality, children should see a dentist by their first birthday and then be followed according to the guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Otherwise, problems that may have been easily detected and addressed may slip by unnoticed, becoming far more problematic by the time they are discovered.
When it comes to protecting your child’s health, don’t overlook the importance of instilling strong oral hygiene habits. A lot is influenced by the health of your mouth, including cardiovascular strength. The earlier that children learn and implement positive oral care routines, the more likely they will be to stick with them later in life.
If you are in the Thibodaux area and would like to ensure your or your child’s oral health through a dental exam, contact the office of Dr. Ber by clicking here, or calling directly at (985) 446-5031.