How to Help Your Kids Maintain Healthy Teeth and Gums

Do your kids ignore you every time you ask them to brush their teeth?

The years of childhood are filled with fun, carefree activities that it can be challenging to urge kids to give some attention to their dental health.

It’s easy to say that you want to prevent your children from developing cavities, but do you know the best way to do so? Not only do you have to deal with cavities but also other dental problems that may put your kids at risk for losing their teeth.

Fortunately, dental care for children is available, and with the tips below, you can help your kids keep their pearly whites until they grow old.

1. Be a good role model

Young kids love to imitate their parents. Grab this opportunity to be a great role model by demonstrating good dental habits for your children. Rather than sending your children to the bathroom on their own, brush and floss together with them.

Make brushing and flossing part of a day-to-day routine instead of treating it like a chore. Brushing should be done twice a day for at least 2 minutes. Consistency is key, have a brushing and flossing schedule to help your kids get used to the routine.

If you have young kids, make sure to consider the following:

  • Teach children under the age of 3 to use a rice-sized amount of toothpaste.
  • Children ages 3 and up should only use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
  • Children younger than 8 years of age should be under adult supervision while brushing as they are likely to swallow toothpaste.
  • When the teeth grow and touch each other, kids can already floss and use mouthwash.

2. Visit the dentist regularly

At your first visit to the dentist, you kids will undergo a dental checkup and get advice on proper flossing and brushing techniques.

Consider seeing pediatric dentists as they specialize in dealing with children so that they are at ease and have less fear during dental checkups. Another thing to take into account is a dental clinic that offers after-hours dental care as this will come in handy in case of a dental emergency.

With consistent dental visits twice a year, the dentist can spot dental problems in your children early and administer the right treatments before problems become serious.

Make sure to talk sincerely with your kids about what they will encounter or expect during dental visits. Also, don’t hesitate to talk to your dentist about concerns like thumb sucking, losing teeth, crowding, mouth guards, etc.

3. Make use of rewards

If you find it hard to convince your children to remain consistent with their oral hygiene, consider using rewards. Kids love to receive prizes and earn from something they successfully accomplished. Start by letting your children choose their own toothbrush and matching cup to encourage them to use these more.

Make a goal chart to track the progress of your children in terms of fulfilling their daily oral hygiene. Once they reach certain goals, your kids can receive rewards such as a trip to their favorite toy store or going to the movies. The objective here is to keep your children motivated for them to remain consistent with their oral hygiene.

4. Eat healthy foods

Foods with sugar and starches are not only detrimental to your children’s teeth but also to their overall health. A high sugar and starch diet can increase mouth bacteria which, in turn, make use of sugars to form acids that attack tooth enamel.

There are many other nutritious foods that still contain sugar but are definitely much healthier. The following treats supply your kids with vitamins and minerals that they need:

  • Apples
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Coconut flakes
  • Unsalted almonds
  • Low-fat yoghurt with berries
  • Fresh watermelon
  • Crunchy vegetables with a dip
  • Celery sticks with sunflower seeds and cream cheese

Do away with junk food and opt for healthier snack options. Also, don’t forget to limit the number of snacks they partake in all day. Frequent snacking leads to dental problems similar to a high sugar and starch diet.

Your goal should be to make oral health care a fun habit for your kids and build a healthy teeth foundation from childhood to adulthood. So always keep in mind that healthy adult teeth begin with caring for your children’s oral health from the very beginning.

Written by: Dr. Michael Letham

Dr. Michael Letham is the owner and dentist at 24/7 Dental and Bayside Smiles. He graduated from Sydney University in 2000 with Honours, receiving the R Morse Withycombe Prize for Proficiency in Clinical Periodontics (gum treatment). Striving to provide a modern, holistic approach to dental care that is tailored to each individual’s requirements, Mike’s focus is on being thorough and meticulous whilst being caring and compassionate.