Teaching your kids, early on, to protect their teeth and keep their mouth healthy with good dental habits can have an enormous impact on their life. Research continues to be released that shows a connection between oral health and overall health, that they mirror each other on a certain level. Preventive dentistry can do so much; good oral hygiene habits need to be a daily routine for you and your family. Here are the top healthy dental habits that kids should start practicing now to keep their mouth and teeth as healthy as possible.
Proper Teeth Brushing
The first and most important habit to have is correct and consistent brushing. There is a whole range of products (themed toothbrushes, flavored kinds of toothpaste and so on) to help kids get excited about brushing their teeth because it is one of the easiest ways to promote good oral hygiene. Make sure that they are hitting every tooth and surface (front, back and tops) as well as the gum line. When brushing the gum line, be gentle and turn the brush at a 45-degree angle to remove food particles and plaque buildup that may reside just below the gum line. Brushing twice a day is highly recommended.
Flossing and Mouthwash
Following proper brushing of teeth, flossing once a day can be a great method for preventing gum disease and removing any food particles and bacteria that may have been missed by brushing. Show your kids proper flossing techniques and get them some flavored floss to help promote consistent habits. Mouthwash is another good step to take, but consult your dentist on which mouthwashes are specifically designed for kids.
Limit Sugars and Acids
Sugars and acids in combination with bacteria that can be found on teeth are the recipe for tooth decay and gum disease. Candy, fruits, soda, and juices all contain high amounts of these damaging elements. To keep teeth strong, white and decay free, limit how much sugar and acid you and your kids consume in on a daily basis. Your kids are likely to follow what you do, so be conscious of how much you consume and make healthier choices.
Calcium and Vitamins
The old saying goes, “drink lots of milk to grow big and strong.” The calcium in milk also helps teeth stay healthy. Other vitamins and minerals that you and your kids should be getting enough of are vitamin D (for healthy teeth and gums), vitamin B (to protect your teeth from cracking), copper, zinc, iodine, iron and potassium. Fuel your body with the right vitamins and minerals to protect your teeth and keep them healthy from the inside. Ask your dentist about the best multivitamin to promote healthy teeth for your kids.
Regular Dentist Visits
Seeing your dentist twice a year for routine checkups and cleanings with your kids is the best preventive measure that you can do for your family’s oral hygiene. Your dentist will be able to identify any trouble areas as well as provide a deep and thorough cleaning of your family’s teeth and gums.
Teach them that chewing on ice, popcorn kernels, hard candies and so on is bad for their teeth. Doing this will put their teeth at risk for breaking down the protective layer or even cracking/chipping them.
Wear a Mouth Guard
If they participate in any contact or incidental contact sports, make sure they wear a properly fitting mouthguard to protect their teeth, jaw and head from injury.
Chewing sugar-free gum that has been approved by the American Dental Association is a good way to protect their teeth and clean them in between meals when brushing isn’t an option. Chewing gum helps remove food particles and also increases saliva production, which washes away bacteria and neutralizes acid. Kids love chewing gum; so this one should not be hard to practice but make sure that the gum is sugar-free.
Use a Straw
If you or your kids do decide to drink soda, juice or even coffee, try to use a straw every chance you get. Coffee will discolor teeth over time, and the acidity/sugary creamers and flavors promote tooth decay. So by using a straw when you or your kids enjoy these kinds of drinks, the contact time on the teeth will be minimized.
Schedule your family’s next appointments with Gables Sedation & Family Dentistry today. Providing the best patient care through sedation dentistry and handling all your cosmetic, preventative and restorative dental needs. Contact them today!