Did you know that having good oral hygiene is linked to having better overall health? And poor oral health is linked to a number of negative consequences including general health issues, dementia, and cardiovascular disease?
That’s why instilling proper oral health habits in your children when they’re young is essential for maintaining a healthy and fabulous smile for their entire life. Not only will these habits improve their health, but it will also help improve their smile and their confidence.
Keep reading to learn some of the best tips for giving your child a better smile and good oral health for years to come.
1. Teach Proper Oral Hygiene
The first step is to teach your kids how to properly take care of their teeth. Kids aren’t born with innate oral health knowledge. Just like they don’t know how to use the bathroom or how to tie their shoes, they won’t know exactly how to brush their teeth or floss until you show them.
That’s where you need to lead by example. Show your kids how you brush your teeth regularly, floss after every meal, and keep away from things that can damage their teeth.
Next, you need to instruct them on the best way to brush. Show them exactly how to brush each tooth and how to floss correctly.
You can even make these things fun, especially when you have younger children. Make it a game to see how quickly they can learn to brush on their own, or get them special flavor toothpaste to try.
This will give them the knowledge, and the incentive, to take care of their teeth. This will also set them up to learn these skills early on and apply them for life.
2. Get Regular Check-Ups
Kids should be visiting the dentist at least once every 6 months. They’ll be able to check their overall tooth and gum health as well as check to make sure teeth are being lost/coming in properly.
Some kids may need to see the dentist more often depending on their specific oral health issues. Ask your child’s dentist if they recommend more frequent visits, or if the biannual visits are enough.
Dental sealants are essentially coatings that are painted onto teeth in order to prevent decay and cavities. These are most often put on the back teeth like molars and premolars in both children and adolescents.
These back teeth have many areas where food and plaque can get stuck and build-up, which is why they’re so cavity prone. Sealants help prevent cavities from forming in these teeth by forming a protective layer over these areas.
But don’t think that these will automatically prevent any decay. It’s still imperative that you teach your children how to brush and floss in order to prevent cavities and other oral health issues.
4. Limit Sugar
It’s no secret that kids love sugary treats: ice cream, candy, brownies, cake, soda, etc. Not only is a diet high in sugar bad for a child’s overall health, but it can also lead to an increased risk of tooth decay and cavities.
The bacteria in your mouth produce high levels of acid when they’re in contact with high-sugar foods, which can lead to decay and damage. Sugar also leads to a higher production of plaque, which can also lead to cavities.
The best way to lower your child’s risk of developing these issues is to limit their sugar intake. Now, we know that it isn’t realistic to completely cut high-sugar foods from a kid’s diet. We also aren’t saying that the occasional sugary treat is going to lead to your child’s teeth rotting away.
But by lowering the number of sugary foods your child consumes, you’ll be significantly reducing their risk of developing cavities. Combining this tip with proper oral hygiene habits and regular dentists visits will help improve your child’s smile and overall oral health.
5. The Right Toothbrush
Each age group will need a different type of toothbrush. Babies and toddlers should be using a toothbrush with soft, fine bristles. As kids get older, you can replace those toothbrushes with progressively larger models with firmer bristles that will be able to really clean out plaque and food particles.
Consider letting your child pick out their own toothbrush as well. This will make them involved in the process and give them more incentive to use the toothbrush as they should.
There are even fun children’s toothbrushes with their favorite characters on them or ones that are cool colors and patterns. Whatever you can do to get your child excited about their oral health will help their smile, and their health, in the long run.
Not all kids end up getting braces, but a good percentage do. In fact, 4 million Americans currently have some sort of orthodontia to fix issues like crooked teeth, overcrowding, misalignment, and more.
While you can get braces at any time in your life, the best time to get orthodontic treatment is while you’re in childhood or adolescence. This is because that’s when your teeth are still moving and coming in, which makes it easier to adjust them with braces.
You can read more about the best time to get braces to see if your child might be ready for this step to improve their smile. You can also make a consult with a pediatric orthodontist to create a potential treatment plan.
Is Your Child Ready for a Better Smile?
Seeing your child laughing and smiling is one of the biggest joys you have as a parent. It’s your job to make sure that their smile is big and healthy. Following these 6 steps will give your child a better smile, and will help them keep that smile for their entire life.
If you think your child might need orthodontic work but aren’t sure which method to go with, then read this article. We go over two of the most common orthodontic treatment options available: Invisalign and traditional braces.