Are you looking for ways to encourage your child to embrace better oral hygiene? You’re not alone. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and it is designed to raise awareness of the importance of good oral health starting at an early age. I understand this can be a difficult feat for some parents, as children often want to spend their time playing instead of focusing on oral health. As a pediatric dentist in Hinsdale, I am here to provide 5 tips that will help keep your child’s smile free of decay year-round.
Your Child’s Baby Teeth: Why Are They Important?
While it is true that your child’s baby teeth will eventually fall out, they should remain firmly in place until it’s time for them to make room for the adult teeth developing underneath the gums. The reason your child’s pediatric dentist places such a strong emphasis on good oral hygiene at a young age is that children are prone to developing cavities early on. Their limited dexterity when it comes to brushing and flossing allows for bacteria and food particles to accumulate in those hard-to-reach areas, resulting in plaque formations and harmful acids attacking the tooth enamel. As a result, cavities will form and the potential for more serious dental problems increase.
Should tooth decay plague your child’s smile, it may mean baby teeth falling out sooner than they should. Unfortunately, if the permanent tooth is still years away from moving into place, your child’s natural teeth can shift and fall out of alignment, resulting in avoidable orthodontic treatment later on.
Your child’s dentist can insert a space maintainer to help avoid this problem but keeping their baby teeth right where they belong should be the goal.
5 Ways to Ensure a Healthier Smile
Now that February is here, and dentists throughout the United States are celebrating Children’s Dental Health Month, here are 5 helpful tips to consider when taking care of your child’s smile at home:
- If they are not old enough to brush their teeth, do it for them, but make sure you’re brushing for two full minutes twice a day. If they can brush on their own, observe their technique to make sure they’re doing it correctly. Pro-tip: most children can’t brush effectively until around age 7.
- Start flossing their teeth once you begin to notice that their teeth are touching.
- Throw away their toothbrush after 3-4 months of use. Bacteria can accumulate, so it’s best to discard their brush and replace it with a new one.
- Swap out sugary or starchy snacks with healthier alternatives like fruits, vegetables, dairy, and leafy greens. Hard-boiled eggs, cheese sticks, yogurt, and salted cucumbers are great snack options.
- Maintain regular six-month dental checkups and cleanings with your child’s pediatric dentist.
With these helpful tips, you’ll notice a dramatic difference in the health of their smile as well as the confidence they’ll have when surrounded by family and friends.
About the Author
At Brush Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Mira Albert leads a team of Hinsdale pediatric dentists who make it possible for little ones to achieve healthier smiles. Offering a fun and exciting environment filled with kid-friendly amenities, we believe in helping children become enthusiastic about oral hygiene while keeping parents informed of ways they can work to improve and help their child maintain healthier teeth and gums at home. If you are looking for tips or suggestions to get your child excited about optimal oral hygiene, contact us at (630) 504-2223 to learn more about National Children’s Dental Health Month in Hinsdale.