In the previous article, we read about appropriate toothbrushes and toothpaste based on your child’s age. If you passed up the chance to read that article, click here to read about it. (Insert the link to the article: ToothpasteTimeline for Children)

Now, I am sure you have more questions on how you can support your child’s good oral hygiene. We all know that nothing makes a parents’ heart swell but to see our children’s happy and healthy smiles. So, let me give you some tips on how we can keep their healthy pearly whites and gorgeous smiles.

1.  Start Oral Care Early

We start proper oral care as early as when they are babies. They may not have teeth yet at this phase. But, caring for the gums and tongue during the first few months is essential to keep harmful bacteria away. Use a finger slip or infant toothbrushes with water. Clean their tongue and gums frequently after each feeding.

2. Visit a pediatric dentist regularly

Take a fun trip with your child to a pediatric dentist as soon as their first tooth emerges. In fact, this is the best time for your child to get to know their dentist. This experience will also help them be familiar with a dentist, his office, and the environment. As for you, the parent, the dentist will provide you tips on preventing tooth decay and identifying oral problems at this primary stage. I would say this is a win-win situation for you and your child.

Keep in mind to make this trip is enjoyable and a positive experience for the child. Likewise, turn this first encounter into something that they will look forward to. For instance, this visit may be all about getting your child to open his mouth. That is already a big step for him. Therefore, it is considered a successful first visit when he accomplished that. Meanwhile, succeeding regular visits can be done as recommended by the dentist.

Let me tell you about another benefit of a regular dental visit. It ensures that any cavity or plaque build-up is removed that brushing and flossing couldn’t take care of. Also, the dentist can check your child’s overall gum and teeth health. Finally, he can see any dental disease and treat it before it gets to be too late.

3. Use the appropriate toothbrush for your child’s age

This goes without saying that we need the proper tool that does its job to get the job done. That is the importance of getting the right toothbrush based on your child’s age.

Also, dentists advise that we must change toothbrushes every 3-4 months. This helps avoid bristle breakdown, damage to the tooth enamel, and bacterial overgrowth. You will observe that as time goes by, the bristles become frayed. This leaves the toothbrush less effective in removing plaque and food debris around the teeth.

Another case in point is that frayed toothbrush bristles may end up redepositing harmful bacteria in your child’s mouth, rendering brushing pointless. This defeats the purpose of brushing. I hope this enlightened us parents about the diligence of changing our child’s toothbrush every 3-4 months. You can also choose to change it as early as the first signs of frayed bristles.

4. Floss Daily

Flossing every day is essential to remove plaque and food particles in between your teeth. These are the places that your toothbrush can not reach. In addition, gum disease and bad breath are often the results of plaque and tartar build. This leads to cavities which, when left untreated, can cause loss of teeth.

When your child reaches the age of 5-9 years old, they can add a mouthwash to their oral hygiene routine. Of course, it is never a substitute for brushing and flossing. But, it sure gives your child’s mouth that refreshing feeling after. One of their benefits is that they prevent gum problems such as gingivitis.

5.  Avoid sugary food and drink consumption

Sugar has been identified as the most significant contributor to dental disease. So, as parents, we should limit the sugar and candy intake of our children. This is because the bacteria in your child’s mouth feed on sugar. Then, it produces an acid that weakens the enamel and inflicts damage to the teeth.

Some food that you and your child must specifically avoid are sodas, chocolate, cookies, candy, sweets, and sugary snacks.

Give your children a balanced diet that has a variety of fruits and vegetables. Feed them with food that contains various nutrients too. Avoid those that contain sugars and starches.

5. Drink water adequately

Water washes down the food particles that we may linger in your child’s mouth after meals. Their mouth needs water to produce saliva. This is why it feels dry if your child is dehydrated. Moreover, saliva is required to help you taste, chew and swallow food.

Apart from that, water also helps restore the proper PH of our mouth. Softdrinks and fruit juices must be consumed with caution.

Children are also encouraged to drink fluoride water as this is another way of combatting tooth decay. They get an extra dose of fluoride aside from the ones they have  from their toothpaste.

As the doctors say, one’s overall oral health is not only dependent on oral hygiene. The food that we eat impacts how healthy our child’s teeth and gums are. As parents, we have to ensure that they get proper nutrition. This is crucial for their development, too. Most of the time, sufficient nutrition thwarts any dental diseases caused by unhealthy food choices.

Conclusively, oral health is more than the daily oral hygiene to care for our teeth. It is the first step to preventing dental diseases. Thus, the dentists recommend brushing with soft bristles for 2 minutes twice a day.  We must also back it up with a healthy and well-balanced diet. Finally, a regular dental visit seals the deal in keeping our children’s smiles healthy.