As a parent, you want the best for your kids, but the sad truth is that many kids don’t really care about long-term dental health. When you’re a kid, “long-term” means how many days it is till Saturday. With adults, it’s different since you can reason with them, but kids are usually unreasonable. Parents have to take a different approach towards getting their kids to brush, floss, and generally take care of their pearly whites. Now that kids are home a lot more often, we thought that we’d offer parents some helpful tips on how to deal with their kids’ oral care. There’s a lot of temptations at home for kids to just let good oral hygiene fall by the wayside. The role of parents, in this case, is to ensure that their kids do the right thing when it comes to caring for their mouths. Here are seven handy oral care tips specifically for kids from your Royal Palm Beach dentist.
1. Reward your Kids for Flossing
One of the parts of being a parent is to teach kids that when they behave well, they get rewarded for it. The American Dental Association notes that flossing can help counteract tooth decay and may help control gum disease. Starting early gets kids into the habit of flossing. Still, even so, some kids think it takes too long.
If you’re six years old, even five minutes of flossing feels like a lifetime. One of the best ways to keep kids interested in flossing is to offer them a reward. We shouldn’t need to say that the prize shouldn’t be candy, but anything else is fine, as long as they think it’s worth spending the five minutes on flossing.
2. Brush At Least Twice a Day
This element is a no-brainer for most parents, and many kids already have the ingrained habit of brushing their teeth as the first thing they do each morning, and the last thing they do at night. However, even though kids do this, sometimes they aren’t very thorough in their brushing technique.
An excellent way for parents to help their kids out is to offer to brush their teeth with them. It’s a great bonding experience, and you can teach your child the ways of tooth-cleaning that you have learned. You can even make it more attractive by alluding to it as some great family secret passed down from generation to generation. You’ll have your kids interested in brushing correctly after that.
3. Visit a Royal Palm Beach Dentist Regularly
Many parents don’t take their kids to the dentist unless a problem pops up. However, when it comes to teeth, preventative maintenance is far better than a cure. According to the Mayo Clinic, kids between one year, and adolescence should have a dentist’s visit in Royal Palm Beach scheduled every six months.
At these checkups, you’ll probably have to discuss the dentists’ finds with them and take advice on if you should change the way you do things. This discussion isn’t a condemnation of your parenting, but instead a way for you to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy.
4. Healthy Diets Make for Healthy Teeth
The World Health Organization (WHO) mentions that oral health may be directly connected to the foods we consume. This fact also holds true for kids, who are in their earliest stages of development. Finding healthy foods that help kids maintain good oral health can be difficult. Luckily, there are some things kids already enjoy. Milk and cheese add valuable calcium back to a kid’s mouth, and water with fluoride will help to keep their teeth safe from decay for longer. Eggs and yogurt are ideal foods to help kids have healthy teeth as well. Snacks such as crunchy fruits and nuts help to increase the strength of your child’s teeth.
5. Ask About Dental Sealants
Dental sealants are a viable way to prevent kids from getting cavities early on in life. These sealants operate by filling in the very tiny cracks or abrasions on teeth. The result is that there’s less place for food or debris to become stuck and lead to decay. Topical fluoride might also be useful in these situations by supplementing the fluoride that already exists in drinking water. Just because a kid hasn’t gotten past their baby teeth doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about baby teeth in the same way.
6. Be Honest with Them but Don’t Scare Them
Childhood trauma is sometimes a significant component in people developing an early fear of dentists. This innate fear can be traced to parents telling kids when they were young that dentist visits would hurt. It’s an irrational fear in this modern day and age, of course. But it’s not one that you can quickly get over. A fear of dentists is almost an accepted part of life for many people today.
To avoid ingraining this sort of fear into kids, you might want to avoid talking about hurt or pain when discussing dental visits. It’s not warning them to prepare themselves for if pain happens. It puts the fear of pain in them that they associate with the dentist. The healthier way of dealing with this would be to explain what a Royal Palm Beach dentist does, and maybe sit down with them and go through the dental tools they use and why. You might learn something out of it as well!
7. Watch Out for Bad Foods
There are so many bad foods that kids can eat today that it’s no surprise how bad oral health is in kids. The biggest problem we see at Anderson Dental is kids coming in with cavities they get from sugar. When a child eats sugar, the particles stick onto the surface of the teeth. The bacteria that are always present in our mouths start digesting the sugar, but they also break down the enamel cover for teeth when they do that.
It doesn’t matter if this sugar comes from soft-drinks or snacks. Once it goes into the child’s mouth, it creates a lousy situation for their teeth. Sometimes just as evil but less highlighted is highly acidic fruits. Citrus like oranges or lime are naturally acidic, and this acid breaks down teeth enamel just as well as bacteria do.
Finally, flour-based items such as pasta and bread might lead to problems as well. These aren’t technically sugar, but when they end up in your mouth as tiny specs, your saliva turns them into simple sugars. These sugars are just as detrimental to teeth as if you were drinking soda or chewing candy.
Don’t Lose Hope
Parents can become frustrated when it comes to dealing with kids’ oral health, but they shouldn’t. They are little human beings with the same needs as us adults. They just don’t understand why they have to do certain things. Kids are notably irrational, so reasoning with them won’t work. But stuff like rewarding them, or turning something into a game will appeal to them. Still, as the parent, the final decision on oral healthcare lies with you. Would you like to visit a Royal Palm Beach dentist that deals well with kids and help them understand why dental health is so important? Contact Anderson Dental today to schedule an appointment with us!