Every parent wants their child to be as healthy as possible. We want our little ones to be strong, energetic, well-fed, and have healthy, beautiful teeth! This is why so many parents are diligent about taking their kids to their dental appointments… but here’s the thing: those are only twice a year.
While seeing the dentist is an important part of your child’s oral health, it is not the only way to keep their teeth clean. In fact, the habits your children learn at home are much more influential in helping them develop a healthy smile!
If you want your children to have clean and healthy teeth between their appointments, make sure you’re following these simple rules.
Brush Every Day
Everyone knows that you should brush your teeth twice a day. Does that mean we all do it? Not really. We get it: sometimes you’re tired, or in a hurry, or you just forget. However, that behavior needs to be the exception, not the rule – and when you’re dealing with your child, you should avoid it as much as possible.
Kids need structure to learn their daily habits, so make sure that tooth brushing is a part of their routine as soon as possible. You can start brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as they come in and continue to encourage this habit until it comes naturally to your child.
No Napping with Bottles
If your little one is still using bottles, you might feel tempted to let them bring one to bed for their afternoon nap. After all, it will keep them quiet, give them some nourishment, and help you tackle feeding and napping all at once (parents DO love multi-tasking). However, this little habit can have big repercussions for your child’s teeth.
When a child falls asleep with a bottle, the sugary liquid he or she was drinking sticks to the teeth throughout the nap. This give bacteria time to pounce, resulting in cavities and other issues dentists call “baby bottle decay.” The best way to avoid this is to discourage napping with a bottle or filling naptime bottles with water only.
Lose the Pacifier After Age 3
Just like naptime bottles, pacifiers area very useful tool when you’re trying to soothe a fussy baby or toddler. These little contraptions can quiet kids down like magic! However, if you allow your child to use a pacifier for too long, it can impede his or her tooth development.
Kids who use pacifiers beyond age three are more likely to have misaligned teeth, as the pacifier can change the shape of the mouth or how their teeth grow in. This can cause problems for speech development, make learning to chew more difficult, and lead to expensive orthodontic procedures later in life. If your child is approaching three years old, it’s wise to start weaning him or her off the pacifier.
Visit the Dentist
Finally, don’t forget to visit the dentist for your child’s regular checkups. While your good habits can prevent cavities and keep your child’s mouth clean, professional exams are essential to watch for other oral health issues. Your dentist can also give you and your child pointers to help you take even better care of those little chompers!
If you want to schedule a dental appointment for your child, Oak Park Dental Group is here to help you. Our team of professionals will ensure your child has a comfortable and positive experience – and that their teeth look better than ever when we’re done! Call us to make your appointment today.