Childrens dental health is very important and so should be set in motion from a very young age. Tooth decay can develop any time after the first tooth appears, starting around 6 months old, and good habits should begin even earlier.
Only 28 percent of parents would give their kids an “A” grade for oral health, according to a new survey, In fact, nearly nine out of 10 parents say their children’s oral health isn’t as good as it could be.
A majority of parents understand that oral care habits – rather than genetics or what their kids eat, is the most important thing for their children’s oral health. Yet, alot of children don’t brush twice daily or floss.
Poor dental habits start early, and parents may be contributing to their children’s tooth decay long before they can brush or floss on their own.
Children’s baby teeth need to be Brushed & Flossed
As soon as a child’s first tooth comes through it should be brushed. But a lot of parents didn’t begin brushing for their children at this time. Instead, they wait until there are a few or even a full set of teeth.
The first tooth and all subsequent teeth should be brushed gently with a soft toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste twice a day until age 2. A small, pea-sized amount of toothpaste should be used from ages 2 to 6. Even before children get their first tooth, the mouth and gums should be wiped with a soft, damp cloth or infant toothbrush after feeding.
Poor brushing habits help to contribute to so many kids having cavities. These habits set a foundation for children as they get older. It’s important for parents to get their children in a routine as soon as the first tooth appears, so they don’t question the habit later on.
Children’s bottles & Sippy cups at bedtime should be filled with water
Many parents don’t know that children shouldn’t be put to bed with a bottle or sippy cup, unless it contains water. But a lot of parents with children under age 3 put their child down for a nap or bedtime with a bottle containing milk or juice.
Fruit juice, and milk, can be harmful to young kids’ oral health. Both drinks have many grams of sugar that, when left to bathe on teeth can result in tooth decay.
Parents should only fill bottles with water, except at meal and snack times. Anytime children have sugary beverages or snacks, teeth should be either rinsed with water or brushed afterwards.
Some other important habits for healthy smiles:
- Once any two teeth are touching, parents should floss, or help the child floss, once a day.
- Children should first visit the dentist within six months of getting their first tooth and no later than the first birthday.
- Parents should avoid saliva-transferring behaviors – such as sharing utensils and toothbrushes which are all activities that can pass harmful bacteria to a child.