The Roadmap To Your Childs Oral Health
Learning healthy habits when a child is younger is crucial to their oral health as they become adults. Otherwise, having to re-learn them as you get older results in frustrations and difficulties in having a normal functioning lifestyle. It works the same with your oral health! Having the recommended routine for brushing, flossing, and dental appointments will not only save you time, and money- but your overall sanity too! The more healthy routines you have embedded in your life, the less you have to worry about later down the road. Here are some great ways to get your kid’s oral health care foundation started on the right foot:
Believe it or not, you can start good habits during this stage of life! Newborns don’t have teeth for the first couple months so you don’t need a toothbrush yet. Wiping their gums down with a clean soft cloth with get them used to their gums being rubbed and washed. Once teething starts, around 6 months, you can give them a soft toothbrush to teeth on so it isn’t foreign to them when you start brushing their new little teeth. Make sure not to give them anything other than water so they don’t run the risk of having bad bacteria growing in their mouth overnight. Encouraging them to drink from a sippy cup by their first birthday will help their jaw form the way it needs to at this age.
This age is when it is important to make oral care fun! Let them try brushing their own teeth after you’ve already done it initially and set up a fun chart- they may even enjoy the dentist office if they can be proud of how well they can clean their teeth and show it off to their oral care team! The 2nd set of baby molars are usually grown in by 3 years old so having their first dental appointment done by then is important so the dentist can make sure their teeth are growing incorrectly. The earlier a preventative plan can be put into action, the better off their adult teeth will be. You will want to discourage pacifier use and thumb sucking by age 3 so the shape of their mouth and teeth can grow in the way they are supposed to. If pacifier use and thumb sucking continue too long it can affect speech and eating habits. It is also recommended to use fluoride free toothpaste until they learn how to spit instead of swallow the toothpaste- most kid-friendly kinds of toothpaste have fun designs and characters on them to make it more exciting.
Your child’s teeth will start to fall out during this point in their lives (6-12 years old). Their premolars start to grow in around age 10. It’s a great time to see if they need sealants and have your dentist check their bite and jaw formation to see if there needs to be an orthodontist consultation done. Keeping their appointments regular will help keep their mouth in great shape and also will help them be comfortable with being at the dentist office. This is usually a time when if braces are needed- it’s the best time for them to have them. They tend to have a shorter treatment time and you can help them become more independent in their oral health care by making them a brace care kit that they can be fully responsible for.
Their adult teeth should be all grown in and a sealant check should be done to make sure the originals are still protecting their teeth properly. This is also the time wisdom teeth start to come in- this does not need to be a bad experience! If you are making your kids routine dental checkups and cleanings 2 times a year, then their dentist probably already has an eye on their wisdom teeth and can start evaluating when would be the best and least inconvenient time to get them out if they need to come out at all!
Keeping dental appointments, brushing and flossing 2 times a day and having a healthy diet are going to be the most effective ways to help your child have a good foundation for their oral health care. The amount of time it takes to teach good oral care habits is sometimes hard to handle, especially if you are in a hurry trying to get ready for the morning or just plain exhausted at the end of the day. In the end it’s beyond worth it- they will be thankful that you spent the time and energy to pass down one of the greatest habits you could and their smile will say it all.
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