You may think it is too early to teach your child to care for their teeth, but healthy teeth early in life can be an important step towards healthy teeth in adulthood. The dental care habits developed in childhood are the foundation of the habits that will be practiced throughout life. Read on to find out how you can be helping your child beat plaque.
Baby Teeth are Important Too
It may be tempting to think that baby teeth aren’t as important when it comes to dental care, but cavities in baby teeth can also cause discomfort just like cavities in adult teeth. The early loss of baby teeth can affect the gums, and be a contributing factor to adult teeth being out of alignment. This can create a need for braces later on in childhood or adulthood. Unhealthy baby teeth may eventually lead to unhealthy adult teeth.
How You Can Help
Helping your child beat plaque doesn’t have to be difficult, it can even be fun! There are many things you can do to help your child care for their teeth. Parents can use time after each meal as a teaching moment in good brushing technique and the importance of good dental hygiene, the correct amount of toothpaste, and how long to brush. Help your child learn how to brush every zone of the mouth thoroughly, consistently moving from left to right, top to bottom. They may learn to be independent with their dental hygiene sooner than you think!
Taking your child to the dentist can also be a great introduction in oral hygiene. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a child visit a dentist by 1 year of age or within 6 months after their first baby tooth erupts. It may help them feel more comfortable and less anxious about future dental visits if they are introduced to a dentist and the environment of a dental office early on in a positive experience.
Make it Fun!
There are many ideas and tools available to make brushing fun! Toothbrushes with colorful patterns and popular characters are options that can make your child excited to care for their teeth. Brushes with built in timers can also be very helpful. Playing a silly song or even singing one you’ve made up for your child for the 2 minutes recommended for effective brushing can make it a family activity everyone enjoys!
Set An Example
One of the most important things you can do towards helping your child beat plaque is to beat it yourself. Children love to copy what they see their parents and role models do and how you care for your teeth is no exception. Inviting them to brush their teeth alongside you will help them feel capable, included and confident as they grow.
Call our El Paso Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.