It’s important to take the oral health of your children seriously. A child with tooth or gum disease can suffer from a variety of painful and stressful symptoms. Poor oral health can also damage a child’s self-confidence, making them reluctant to smile. It can also affect their sleep patterns and ability to learn at school.
Luckily, as a parent, you can play a meaningful role in their oral hygiene. With the right steps, you can put them on the road to good oral health for life. Here are five ways to improve your child’s oral health:
1. Set the Right Example
Developing good oral hygiene habits can be challenging. However, it’s easier for children when their parents pay attention to their own oral health because kids naturally try to emulate them. By brushing and flossing every day, using mouthwash occasionally, and visiting your family friendly dentist periodically, you can establish the importance of oral care.
Turn brushing into a family activity. Make it appear fun and talk to them about what you’re doing. Also, bring your kid with you to the dental clinic. This will reduce any anxiety associated with visits to the dentist.
2. Start Early
Good habits help develop good oral health. And such habits are most effective when instilled from childhood. Most children don’t have the hand-eye coordination to brush or floss their teeth until they’re at the age of six or seven. Until then, you must assist them. Here are some tips to help you:
- Start cleaning your child’s mouth when they’re a baby. You can gently use a moistened washcloth to clean their gums after feeding.
- Between the age of six and 12 months, your child will get their first tooth. In addition to the moistened washcloth, you can use a soft-bristled toothbrush without toothpaste.
- The Canadian Dental Association states that between the age of 3 and 6, you can use a tiny amount of fluoridated toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth. This should be no more than the size of a green pea.
- Your child should spit out the toothpaste rather than swallow it.
- You can floss their teeth when they have grown multiple teeth. Use a flosser to make this easier.
- You can try to make oral care exciting by buying a branded toothbrush that features their favorite cartoon character.
- By the age of seven or eight your child should be capable of brushing their teeth on their own.
If you’re having trouble motivating your child, then try rewarding them for good habits. For example, after every toothbrushing session, you can give them a sticker. Alternatively, you can let them catch an episode of their favorite show in the afternoon or read them a bedtime story at night when they’ve brushed their teeth.
You can also turn oral care into a game. During brushing time, you can play dance music to create a festive atmosphere. You can also make a star chart and reward them with a star after every brushing session. Creating a story around brushing where they’re a hero who must fight evil cavities can also work.
Remember, consistent resistance to oral care may be a sign of something else. If brushing upsets your child every time, then they may have sensory issues. Consult with a professional for help with these challenges.
3. Develop Good Dietary Habits
A report from the Canadian Health Measures Survey said that 57% of Canadian children between the ages of six and 11 developed a cavity. You can help your child fight cavities by improving their diet. Cavities are caused when sugar reacts with the bacteria in plaque and erodes the enamel. Avoiding sugary or acidic foods like soda, candy, juice boxes can help.
Of course, a child can’t avoid delicious foods altogether. But regular brushing can help clear sugar and acidic buildup. Likewise, water consumption can wash away stubborn deposits. In countries like Canada where water is fluoridated, the consumption of water can strengthen teeth.
4. Schedule Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
The Canadian Dental Association recommends that your infant see a dentist within six months of the growth of their first tooth or by the age of one. A dentist can help determine if their oral health is on track and catch any issues early.
5. Find the Right Family Dentist
Many children are anxious about going to the dentist. That’s why it’s important to develop a relationship with an experienced family dental clinic that’s passionate about treating children. At Dentistry on 7th, we understand that every child is different and are ready to cater to their individual needs. We have entertainment options that will help your child feel relaxed. Should they need help being calm during treatment, we have laughing gas and sedation.
Our goal is to stop problems from developing. That’s why we have services like diagnostic exams, cleanings, fluoride treatments, and sealants to make sure your child has a healthy future. We also use the latest technology to make our treatments as painless as possible for your child. For example, our Soft Tissue Laser adds incredible precision to our procedures and allows us to treat issues like tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) when surgery is necessary.
Dentistry on 7th is also equipped with top-of-the-line air and water purification systems. Not only does this protect our equipment, but it’s good for the health of our younger and more vulnerable clients.
A visit to the children’s pediatric dentist in Hamilton will also be useful if your child is suffering from bite-related issues. Our orthodontic services can help fix misaligned teeth through a variety of treatments. If your child grinds or clenches their teeth, sucks their thumb, or has a misaligned bite, then they may have orthodontic issues. We can fix your kid’s smile by correcting the shape of their jaw over time with braces. Left untreated, orthodontic issues can lead to chewing problems, pain, and other more serious problems.
While taking care of your child’s oral hygiene can be hard work, it can also be incredibly rewarding. You can help your child smile with self-confidence by following our advice. By taking the appropriate steps at home and by partnering with the right family dental clinic, you can make a difference.