Maintaining good dental hygiene can benefit overall health, and developing this habit early in life is particularly important. Instilling these habits during childhood is preferable since they generally persist into maturity. However, many parents find teaching oral hygiene habits to children to be daunting. This may be because of a lack of knowledge regarding proper procedures or the difficulty of making these activities pleasant for children.
Specifically, cities like Arlington in Washington State encounter significant obstacles. Roughly 48 percent of children ages 3 to 5 in the Snohomish County health district have reported tooth decay. Therefore, parents need to prioritize their kids’ oral hygiene. Here are some dental care recommendations for children:
Find the right help
Finding a good dentist for your kid is important to timely address all their needs. In Arlington, WA, some pediatric dental professionals dedicate themselves to providing specialized care for children. These professionals have the skills and experience to cater to young patients’ particular needs, making dental visits more pleasant and uncomfortable.
Recent statistics indicate that dentists in Arlington, WA, see an average of 1,370 patients yearly, underscoring the area’s demand for high-quality dental care. Start your search for a pediatric dentist in Arlington by asking your child’s pediatrician or someone you trust for referrals. A quick online search for pediatric dentist in Arlington near me can also show you a list of reputable practitioners in the area to choose from. Take your child to their dentist regularly as they grow older to develop this into a habit they continue in adulthood.
Maintaining healthy teeth and gums begins before your little one’s first tooth emerges. Surprisingly, harmful bacteria can thrive in the mouths of toothless babies, taking advantage of residual milk or formula on their gums. After each feed, clean your baby’s gums with a soft, damp cloth. This simple practice creates an unfavorable environment for those sneaky bacteria to thrive in.
When your child’s first tooth appears, usually around six months, it’s a significant milestone in their oral health journey. It’s like a green light signaling the start of brushing, an essential step in their dental care routine.
To get started, choose a small, soft-bristled toothbrush designed for infants and use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste, no larger than a kernel of rice. By introducing regular tooth brushing early on, you’ll gently clean the new tooth and the surrounding gum area, laying the foundation for a lifetime of healthy, beautiful teeth.
Use fluoride toothpaste
Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, helps strengthen tooth enamel and reduces the risk of cavity formation. It is recommended that infants and toddlers under the age of three use a rice grain-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When your child is between three and six, you can increase the daily dosage to a pea-sized amount.
But moderation is key. Using the appropriate amount lowers the risk of dental fluorosis caused by excessive fluoride. To avoid absorbing more fluoride than necessary, encourage your child to flush out the toothpaste after brushing rather than swallowing it.
Add flossing into the routine
Dental floss helps remove plaque and food particles that often get stuck between teeth from areas a toothbrush can’t reach. When your child’s teeth begin to touch each other, typically between the ages of two and six, it’s a good idea to start teaching them how to floss. At first, it might seem tricky, but with patience and practice, children can master it.
There are tools available to make the flossing process easier for kids. Flossing sticks or picks are an excellent option for kids as they are simpler to use than regular floss. These tools are specifically designed to help children comfortably clean the spaces between their teeth. To make flossing a more enjoyable experience, you can even try flavored floss.
Consider the use of sealant
Dental sealants are an effective preventive measure designed to shield your child’s molars from cavities. They consist of a thin, protective layer applied to the chewing surfaces, specifically the back teeth (molars and premolars), where cavity-causing microorganisms are most likely to thrive.
Sealants close the grooves and fissures of the teeth, creating an even surface that is easier to clean and less likely to catch food particles and bacteria. This non-invasive procedure is typically swift and painless and can last several years before reapplication is necessary.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention firmly recommends sealants for all school-aged children to maintain their oral health during the fundamental years.
Limit the consumption of foods and sugar beverages
Typically, children are fond of treats and sugary beverages. However, frequent and unchecked consumption can expose their teeth to continuous acid attacks, hastening dental decay. Moreover, sugary foods frequently lack the nutrients necessary for overall and oral health.
It is important to limit your child’s consumption of these saccharine products. Replace treats and sugary beverages with fresh fruits, veggies, and dairy products such as cheese and milk, which aren’t just nutritious but also beneficial to dental health. For example, crunchy fruits and vegetables such as apples and carrots may operate as natural teeth cleaners, whereas dairy products provide calcium, which is crucial for strengthening teeth.
Avoid bottle feeding at bedtime
Building proper dental hygiene in children involves more than simply scrubbing and flossing. Pay attention to what your child consumes, especially before bedtime, as it can notably impact their oral health.
Feeding a child milk, juice, or other sugary liquids before they sleep can unknowingly contribute to baby bottle tooth decay. This occurs when the sugars from these beverages linger in the child’s mouth for an extended period, typically overnight.
While the child sleeps, these sugars form acids that attack the tooth enamel and gums, leading to tooth decay, cavities, and even early tooth loss. To ensure your child’s oral health, it’s best to avoid giving them anything other than water in their bedtime bottle.
By following these dental care tips for kids, you can set your child on the path to a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Remember, establishing good oral hygiene habits early on can save your child from many dental problems in the future. With consistent care and regular dental check-ups, every child can look forward to a future filled with bright, healthy smiles.