How are your children’s oral habits? Are they brushing after meals on their own? Is flossing part of their routine? Do they understand why going to the dentist is important? Good preventive care is essential for preventing cavities and gum disease, and good habits need to be learned as soon as possible. That’s why this June, your dentist in North Port is celebrating Oral Health Month, and you can too; here’s what you need to know about teaching your family the best oral hygiene practices.
When Should I Start Taking My Child to the Dentist?
The American Dental Association recommends taking your child to their first dental visit by age 1, or as soon as their first tooth erupts. The dentist can help educate you on caring for your little one’s teeth; for example, they can advise you on the appropriate amount of toothpaste to use and warn of behaviors that can cause cavities, such as falling asleep with a bottle of milk.
Don’t assume that you can be lax with your child’s baby teeth just because they’ll fall out eventually. Infections in these temporary teeth can damage permanent ones; also, if baby teeth are removed too early, the replacement teeth might not come in correctly.
How Can I Teach My Child Good Oral Habits?
Behaviors adopted early in life tend to carry on into adulthood. Here are some tips to make sure your kids are learning how to take care of their pearly whites the right way:
- Set a good example by sticking to your own oral health routine. Seeing this will encourage your kids to do the same.
- Help them get excited about brushing by letting them pick their own toothbrush; you should also see if there’s a good brand of toothpaste that comes in a flavor they’ll enjoy.
- Be aware of what they’re eating and encourage healthy options. Too many sugary foods and drinks can accelerate tooth decay, but other snacks can help protect their teeth. For example, cheese sticks can help strengthen their teeth, while apples can help keep their mouths clean by increasing saliva production.
- Make sure they’re seeing the dentist at least twice a year. It’s important that they understand that the dentist’s office is a good place, so find one that has an environment they feel comfortable in. If your child has dental anxieties, the dentist may use nitrous oxide to help relax them.
You can ask your dentist for other tips on protecting teeth at home. And remember, you’re never too old to learn good oral health; make sure you’re giving your teeth the attention they deserve and call for an appointment if you think there’s a problem.
About the Practice
At Shore Dental, Drs. Paul Stein and David Smith employ their advanced training to provide patients with comfortable, quality care. They offer many services for children, including dental sealants and fluoride treatments that can help prevent cavities. To schedule an appointment, visit their website or call (941) 257-8555.