Most parents strive to provide their children with the support and nourishment they need to grow, thrive and lead fulfilling lives. Nutrition, love, education, socialization and hygiene are just a small handful of the things loving parents give their kids daily.
Being a parent is about teaching children basic life skills. This includes how to care for their bodies inside and out. Oral health is a key component to your child’s well-being and development. Good oral health is a learned behavior you can pass on to your children as soon as they sprout their first tooth. Teaching your children how to properly brush at least twice per day and floss once per day as early as possible decreases their chances of getting cavities.
According to the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) – Statistics Canada, 57% of 6-11-year-olds and 59% of 12-19-year-olds have or have had a cavity. Learning how to take care of children’s teeth is so valuable. In this post, we will share our top four dental care tips for kids.
Tip #1: Take special care of baby teeth
Baby teeth are also known as primary teeth. Baby teeth usually start making an appearance around six months old. By the age of five children will start to lose the eight teeth in the front row of their mouths. By the age of twelve, most children lose the rest of their primary teeth. There is a misconception that baby teeth do not matter because they will fall out anyway. The truth is that baby teeth are extremely important because:
- They help your little ones eat, drink and speak.
- They are essential for your child’s overall health and well-being.
- Baby teeth help adult teeth come in straight.
Knowing all of this means it is extra important to take special care of your little one’s teeth from an early age by brushing and flossing regularly.
Do you want more helpful tips for brushing your children’s teeth? Please read, 3 Super Simple Tips To Help You Brush Your Baby’s Teeth
Tip #2: Maintain a healthy diet
Maintaining a healthy diet is not only beneficial for your child’s growing body but it is also an immense factor in their oral health. We all have germs in our mouths called bacteria. Some of these bacteria feed on sugar from foods creating an acid that damages teeth. When it comes to maintaining a well-balanced diet here are some tidbits to keep in mind.
- Include calcium-rich foods to keep your little one’s teeth healthy and strong. Cheese, yogurt and milk are great options.
- Limit fizzy drinks and natural juices. Even natural juices can contain sugars and acids that could damage your child’s teeth. When choosing milk go for unsweetened options. But the best drink of all is water.
- Restrict sugar ladened snacks and desserts. Instead provide whole grains, nuts, seeds, fresh or unsweetened canned fruits and veggies.
- Try using xylitol as an alternative to sugar in your homemade goods.
Tip #3: Be aware of spreading germs
Here are a few things to keep in mind when preventing the spread of germs and protecting your child’s oral health.
- Change your child’s toothbrush after an illness. To learn more about how to care for your toothbrush please read, Tooth-Brush Care Do’s And Don’ts .
- Do not share things like toothbrushes, spoons, cups and food because they can spread germs that could cause cavities.
- Don’t keep your toothbrush near the toilet because after you flush germs that go airborne will wind up on your brush.
- Get your children to wash their hands before they start brushing their teeth to avoid getting sick.
Tip #4: Have some fun
Make tooth brushing time fun by incorporating some of these simple tips into your child’s dental routine.
- Give them a toothbrush they will be excited to use. Try giving your child a soft-bristled brush with a theme or design that can make teeth brushing a little more exciting. You could even get an electric toothbrush designed for kids.
- If your kids are old enough try giving them xylitol gum to help them care for their teeth in between brushing
- For younger children try pretending the toothbrush or your finger is an airplane coming in for a landing! Why not try singing a fun tooth brushing song, you can find some online or have fun making up your own.
- You can also instill the love of oral health by providing fun activities. Try some of these enjoyable games, quizzes and activities with your children in the Ontario Dental Association’s kids zone.
The bottom line is prevention is better than treatment. However, if you are uncertain about your children’s oral health, speak with your dentist.