If you’re a parent you know that the list of things you try to teach your children is a mile long! Be kind to others, do well in school, and eat your vegetables are just a few of the lessons you try to teach them. But what about helping them learn how to take care of their teeth and gums? With modern life being so busy, healthy teeth can go to the bottom of the priority list. Thankfully there are some simple steps you can take to instill good habits in your children that will help them have a healthy smile for the rest of their lives. In this blog, your children’s dentist in Federal Way will discuss why good oral health begins in childhood and what you can do to give them a great start.
The Importance of Oral Health in Childhood
Many people believe that baby teeth aren’t terribly important because they fall out. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Not only do baby teeth need to function for many years (some remain in the mouth for 12-13 years), but they’re also crucial to long-term dental health.
In fact, the development of the permanent teeth is influenced and guided by the baby teeth. If they become infected or develop cavities the permanent teeth can be negatively impacted.
How Can You Teach Good Habits?
As you know, children are like sponges – they absorb everything around them! In every area of life childhood is a time in which seeds are planted that grow into lifelong habits.
Having said that, here are some ways to plant the right seeds for great oral health:
- Establish dental care early – This will actually accomplish two goals. First, your child will be comfortable in the dental chair from early on. Second, your dentist in Federal Way can catch potential problems when they’re small and easier to treat.
- Model a good hygiene routine – Generally speaking your children want to do everything that you do – and brushing and flossing is no exception! When it’s time for them to brush each night, you can head to the bathroom with them and floss your own teeth while they brush. They’ll see you flossing and learn that it’s just part of the routine. This is also a chance to make sure they’re adequately brushing.
- Use the right tools – Kids’ flossers are easier for both them and you to use in their small mouths. There are also many apps that encourage good brushing and a variety of toothpastes and fluoride rinses in kid-friendly flavors.
- Minimize sugars and snacking – Try to discourage grazing or snacking throughout the day as it can increase the risk of cavities. Reducing overall intake of anything sugary such as juice, soda, dried fruit or candies can also prevent decay.
- Prevent injuries – If your children play any type of contact sport, a mouthguard is a wonderful way to prevent dental injuries. As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
About the Author
Dr. Drew Beaty is an award-winning family dentist who always goes above and beyond to provide outstanding dental care for his community. He knows the impact a healthy smile can have on a child’s life and enjoys educating parents about how they can instill good habits. He can be reached for questions through his website or at (253) 839-6544.