Helping your children have healthy teeth and gums
Preventative dental care for kids is something parents can do early on. It is wise to incorporate healthy habits that can last a lifetime. Through positive reinforcement and regular checkups, you can prevent children from having cavities and gum problems.
Unfortunately, cavities are not a rare occurrence for children between the ages of two and eleven. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 42 percent of children ages 2-11 have cavities in their baby teeth. In addition, 23 percent of these children have untreated cavities.
What Can Parents Do to Incorporate Preventative Dental Care for Children?
What you don’t want to do is make dental hygiene seem like an unpleasant job. A positive approach, encouragement and rewards are an excellent way to approach dental care.
The following guidelines can help you instill healthy dental habits:
- Join in the activity. Brushing your teeth with your children encourages them. They’ll enjoy the fact that you’re doing it too. This is especially true of younger kids, who want to do what mommy and daddy do. Plus, it provides an opportunity to set a good example. If you brush and floss together, they can see how to do it. You can also take your child with you to pick out a toothbrush (soft bristles) and floss. It helps them be involved in the process. Flossing may be more of a challenge than brushing. Child-friendly flosses can help and are available in different flavors (cherry, bubblegum, etc.). Let your child pick the flavor they like.
- Set a regular schedule. Daily brushing and flossing should become a habit. Set aside a particular time in the morning and at night for brushing and flossing. After breakfast in the morning and before bedtime at night are good times.
- Make it enjoyable. You can do things to make dental hygiene enjoyable, like playing your child’s favorite song while you brush and floss. Rewards are also good ways to encourage dental hygiene. You can have your child mark off on a chart when they’ve brushed and flossed. Reward them at the end of the week with a toy, treat or extra allowance money.