October 26, 2016
You always want your kids to be happy and healthy. That goes for their teeth and gums as well. Even if your child doesn’t have teeth yet, there are things you can do to help your children have great teeth.
– Make an appointment for your children at our Norton Shores, MI dental office by their first birthday.
Some parents are unsure when to take their kids for their first dental visit. If they’re just going to lose their baby teeth, why bother at all? That’s because the first visit is much more than just to check teeth. It’s to establish good dental habits early on.
Taking your child to the dentist starting at age 1 communicates that dental visits are normal and necessary. It can go a long way in making future appointments go more smoothly.
– Model the good dental habits at home that you want your kids to have. Children are often more observant than parents realize. They see a lot, and what they see, they tend to do. If your kids never see you taking care of your teeth with brushing, flossing, and regular visits to our Norton Shores, MI dental office, they will probably not do those themselves. If it was important, wouldn’t mommy or daddy do it?
That’s why it’s important to model good dental habits so you kids can see. You don’t need to make a production of it every night. But make sure your kids see you taking care of your teeth. That way, your children will be more likely to take care of their own teeth.
– Take a “middle ground” approach to brushing and flossing.
You obviously want your kids to brush and floss regularly. That’s a vital part of their dental health. (It can also save you a lot of money by avoiding serious dental problems.) How much should you get on your kids about brushing and flossing?
The key is to take a balanced approach. Don’t assume your children will do what you tell them to. Follow up and make sure they brush and floss correctly. However, don’t go too far. If you end up pressuring your kids to brush and floss, they might not do either just to be oppositional. Make sure your kids know it’s important, but don’t make a big deal about it either.
– Use fruit juice sparingly and focus on milk and water instead. While it’s true that juice is full of vitamins, it’s also full of sugar and acid. Both can damage your teeth. The more you give them juice, the more they’ll want it. Instead, focus on having your children drink milk or water. Both are much better for their teeth. Plus, you are building a good habit that can last a lifetime.
– Avoid giving the impression that candy and dessert are rewards for good behavior.
Rewards and punishments are a common parenting tactic and for good reason. They often work well at controlling your child’s behavior. However, you have to be careful when using sugary treats as rewards (or taking them away as punishments).
Children who grow up getting candy as a reward will see sugar as a way to reward themselves. Instead of opting for a healthy snack, they’re more likely to grab a candy bar or some ice cream. It becomes comfort food. To help your children’s teeth for years to come, don’t rely on sugary treats as rewards or punishments.
– Have your children drink some water after drinking milk, formula, or juice, even from a bottle.
Bottle decay is a common problem among toddlers. You usually don’t give them lots of sugar, but you often give them a bottle of juice or formula. Drinking that stuff coats their teeth in it. Then they fall asleep, leaving a sugar- or carb-heavy coating on the teeth. Harmful bacteria thrive on that, increasing your risk of tooth decay.
Drinking some plain water afterward can wash away that coating. This can help your children avoid cavities, gum disease, and bottle decay.
– Wipe your infant’s gums gently even before their first teeth arrive. Believe it or not, you can help your children have great teeth even before they come in. Infants can have harmful bacteria in their mouths just like adults. These will reside on the gums and can cause problems either for the gum tissue or when the baby teeth finally come in.
You can help by taking a soft, wet washcloth and gently wiping your baby’s gums after eating. Since there are no teeth, no toothpaste or cleaner is necessary. You’re just wiping away food particles so bacteria don’t grow out of control.
Call us today at 231-366-4182 to make an appointment for anyone in your family. Our team knows how to work with young children, too.