You want your kids to have the very best start in life, and this should include their dental health. Great teeth and gums will not only help them to learn how to chew and talk now, but good oral health can carry them into a future free from tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss.
Unfortunately, more than 45% of kids between the ages of 2 and 19 in the United States already have dental caries (cavities caused by tooth decay).
To start your child out right, the team here at Hillsdale Dental Care — including Dr. Roge Jacob and Dr. Magdalena Azzarelli — pulled together a few tips. We specialize in pediatric dentistry, and we understand the value of developing great oral habits as early as possible.
1. Show them how
It’s all well and good to tell your child to brush the front, back, and sides of their teeth, but most kids (and adults!) respond better to good visuals. To illustrate proper teeth brushing, put together a carton of white, hard-boiled eggs and spread some playdough or food around each eggshell. Then, hand your child an old toothbrush and tell them to clear away the debris to make the eggs nice and white again.
This forces them to get all the way around each egg to clean them properly, and they’ll translate this to their teeth once you make the connection.
2. Use plaque-detecting toothpaste
Another great way to illustrate the toothbrushing process is to use plaque-detecting toothpaste. These toothpastes use colors to indicate where plaque is hiding and get kids more engaged in clearing it away.
3. Don’t rush teeth brushing
Try not to position tooth brushing and rinsing as something that gets jammed in between dinner and bedtime. Instead, make this an important step in the evening and morning schedules. Play a special song around this time, start a timer, engage in a game — whatever you can think of to make sure this is something that your child doesn’t rush through.
One good idea is to have them count off their teeth as they brush. This number will change as the 20 baby teeth give way to the eventual 32 permanent teeth, which can keep the game a little more exciting.
However you get there, we’d like to see your child devote at least two minutes to teeth brushing and another 20 seconds to rinsing.
4. See us regularly
As pediatric dental experts, we love helping parents lay the foundation for great oral health in their children. We can do our part to educate your kids and to look after their teeth and gums as they develop. So, please keep up with your child’s regular dental exams with us on top of the work you do at home. Together, we can make a big difference.
For more ideas about how to promote good dental health in your kids, please contact our office in San Jose, California, to set up an appointment.