Few things are more beautiful in the world of dentistry than a newly emerged tooth. It has no stains, no tartar, cavities, fillings, or crowns. Lovely new teeth practically beg to be cared for, and cared for well.
Unfortunately, during childhood, perfect and lovely new teeth soon meet reality. Between the hectic lives of parents, sugary snacks and drinks, and the fact that it’s hard enough to get some adults to properly care for their teeth, let alone children, dental issues in young children often arise. Tooth decay is almost always completely preventable and is a problem that causes dental issues now, and fear of the dentist later. What can busy parents do to keep new teeth looking new?
Train Children Early!
If your baby gets used to you rubbing its gums with a soft cloth even before the first tooth emerges, it will seem like a natural part of the day. When you transition to a baby toothbrush, it simply becomes one more part of the daily routine. Start early, be consistent, do it every day no matter what, and act like it’s as normal as a diaper change or a feeding.
Do It For and With Them!
Would you expect your toddler or young child to have the manual dexterity to buckle themselves into their car seat? No, they need help with it every single time and it’s too important to just go with the “me do it” line children use so early. Even when they are able to fasten a seat belt, a careful parent still checks to see if they are safely strapped in.
The same applies to dental hygiene. As independent as your little one may seem to be, the manual dexterity required to properly brush every tooth and floss is a lot to ask of a little tyke. Sure, they can practice for the future when they can take over the job, but a final once-over by the parent or guardian ensures this vital task is done right. Plus, brushing and flossing your teeth along with your child sets a good model for them, and helps them to see that you take dental care seriously.
Have a Schedule!
How often should everyone, including kids, brush their teeth? Do it in the morning and the evening and after every meal. Does that sound impossible? It is the goal. If all members of your family brush their teeth properly at least twice a day, and floss a minimum of once a day, this should keep everyone’s teeth healthy between semi-annual dental visits. Brushing before bed is perhaps the best dental habit you can help your children and teenagers develop. As for mornings, brushing after breakfast is of course ideal, but if breakfast is a P and J sandwich eaten in the car on the way to school, then brushing upon waking up is satisfactory. Twice a day, morning and night, that’s the minimum standard.
Here at the Sacramento Dentistry Group, we understand how hard this can be. On your child’s next appointment, let us know if you’re struggling with getting your kids to brush regularly. If you have some great tricks up your parental sleeves that have worked, please share. We are here for your family, including your children, as you make excellent dental care a priority every single day.