There’s great news in the dental sphere for parents and kids alike: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that fewer kids have cavities! The latest statistics compiled show that around 43% of kids aged two to 19 have cavities, down 50 per cent from four years previously. Of course, as far as kids are concerned, any cavity is superfluous. The pain and anxiety associated with tooth decay can be avoided by ensuring that kids are motivated to stick to their dental routine. Follow these tips and your kids will be flashing their pearly whites for many years to come.
Finding the causes of tooth decay in children
Before building a tooth hygiene strategy, it is vital to be aware of most common culprits, which include consuming a diet that is high in refined sugar (including cookies, pasta, and bread), sharing utensils with others (since bacteria can be passed on), and failing to clean teeth regularly. Getting kids used to a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet comprising lean protein, Omega-3-rich fats, and plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables, will seriously reduce the likelihood of decay. Moreover, this type of nutritional regime will help them stay at a healthy weight and hopefully be the start of a healthy relationship with food throughout their lifetime. Get kids excited about nutrition by using informative apps. Teach them to look for ingredients such as fructose, partially hydrogenated oil, or additives when you go shopping, and have fun in the kitchen by encouraging kids to help you prepare meals.
A child’s routine should start early, even before they grow any teeth! Parents should pass a clean, warm, wet cloth over the gum area to eliminate potentially harmful bacteria. You can also use gauze for this purpose, wrapping this material around your pointer finger and rubbing it along the gum at least once a day. If your child is teething, use cold water, which will help soothe the pain. Once your child starts on solid foods, repeat this step after each meal. As teeth begin to come through, you should use a toothpaste made for your children, brushing twice a day. Be particularly thorough with the back molars, which tend to be the first teeth to develop cavities.
Professional dental visits are key
The standard time at which children are advised to see a dentist is six months after the eruption of the first tooth. Dentists will ensure you are cleaning your child’s teeth correctly, and let you know if they have particular fluoride needs. Your dentist will look at your child’s teeth, jaw, bite, and gum health, to identify any potential issues. Sometimes, the removal of tartar or plaque buildup will be required, in which case gentle cleaning will be recommended by your dentist. Parents should also know that emergency dental services are available, should their child need it. In other words, do take your child to the dentist in case of an emergency – don’t put it off, as it will help you avoid future complications. In a normal case scenario however, kids should see the dentist every six months, though more visits may be required if orthodontics or other treatments are required.
Getting children excited about dental hygiene
In order to motivate kids, it is important to get them excited about brushing their teeth. There are electric toothbrushes such as the Philips Sonicare for kids, which come with colorful, fun apps that ‘accompany kids’ during brushing, showing them the angle at which to place their toothbrush and encouraging them to stay on each tooth for the right amount of time. These toothbrushes also have fun features such as stickers, bright colors, and other ways for children to personalize their toothbrush.
Making it a fun experience
The best way to teach children the importance of a healthy diet and dental hygiene is by setting a good example. Add a bit of fun to the process by brushing your teeth alongside your child. Use music or dance to create your own special ‘routine’. Soon, kids will see brushing as a highlight of their day. When they are old enough to use floss, encourage this habit, as a way to keep cavities at bay.
To ensure that kids brush their teeth regularly, ensure they visit a good dentist, adopt a regular brushing routine, and add a few fun ingredients into the equation. Having a beautiful, cavity-free smile is vital when it comes to being self-confident. Empower your kids to smile from ear to ear throughout their lifetime, both at work and in social settings.