Millions of people take their child to the pediatrician every year because they understand how important it is to help a child maintain optimal health. At the same time, though, many parents forego visits to the dentist, perhaps because they don’t understand just how critical oral health is to overall health. If your child suffers from cavities, untreated dental decay, and other oral health issues, here are some ways you can improve their dental health this year.
Visit the Dentist Early and Often
A child’s first visit to the dentist should occur by the time they have their first tooth, or by the time they turn one year old, whichever happens first. The pediatric dentist in Salt Lake City can help you learn how to care for baby’s gums and teeth as they come in, plus it can help your child become comfortable with the dentist so it won’t be associated with a frightening or painful place. After you see a kids’ dentist for the first time, take your child at least once a year, or more often if your dentist recommends it, for regular cleanings and checkups.
Brush for Two Minutes, Two Times a Day
Brushing teeth is perhaps the single best way to prevent cavities and decay, so parents should help children establish good habits by brushing teeth for two minutes in the morning and two minutes before bed. Once a child has two or more teeth that touch, add flossing to the routine at least once a day. If two minutes is too long for your child, there are dozens of resources, apps, videos, and oral health products that can make those two minutes more fun.
Brush for Your Child
Many parents turn over teeth brushing duties to their child by the time they can hold and control the toothbrush on their own—sometime around three or four years old—but at that age kids don’t have the fine motor skills to be able to brush all the nooks and crannies in their mouth. That means large sections of teeth aren’t getting brushed regularly, which can lead to cavities, gum disease, and decay. As a general rule of thumb, parents should brush their child’s teeth until they have the motor skills to tie their own shoelaces, or around eight years old.
Eating healthy foods is great for many reasons, and one of those reasons is oral health. Swap out sugary treats and drinks for healthier options such as veggies, fruits, and water whenever possible. Parents should also pay attention to their child’s eating habits—even if the child is eating seemingly healthy foods, if they are “grazing” on starchy snacks or carrying a sippy cup filled with juice around all day, they are continually exposing teeth to bacteria, which can still cause decay. Stick to eating at mealtimes, drink water in between, and choose healthy foods.
Keeping your child’s teeth healthy can help them maintain good overall health, and can also help avoid some of the problems associated with dental decay and tooth pain, including problems with speech development, pain and discomfort, missed school days, and more. Make a resolution to help get your child’s teeth healthy this year.