Keeping your child's mouth healthy can be a difficult task, but it is crucial to their overall dental health. The first two years of dental hygiene in a child's life has a large impact on the rest of their life. Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease in America, so by understanding the importance of oral hygiene, you can prevent tooth decay in your children. Here are some ways to keep your child's teeth and mouth healthy.
- Brush Twice A Day
It's very important to brush your child's teeth at least twice a day with an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste. This helps to remove plaque which is the main cause of tooth decay.
- Floss Daily
Brushing your child's teeth doesn't get rid of all the plaque because some of it gets stuck in between the teeth and under the gumline. It's important to floss your child's teeth everyday because if you wait too long, the plaque will turn into tartar. Tartar can only be removed with a professional cleaning. You can start flossing your child's teeth when they reach age four. By age eight, children should be able to floss their own teeth.
- Eat A Well-Balanced Diet
A diet that helps to prevent tooth decay is one that limits starchy and sugary foods. These foods produce plaque acids which causes tooth decay. When your child does eat these foods, make sure they are eating them with a meal and not as snacks. Saliva works to break down plaque, but it needs time to do so. Eating snacks makes it harder to break down this plaque.
- Use Fluoride Products
There should be fluoride in your toothpaste, but it's important to have your child use other fluoride products as well. Certain types of floss contain fluoride, as well as mouthwash. Also make sure your child's drinking water is fluoridated. Call your local water district to find out if they put fluoride in the water. If not, your child's dentist may recommend using fluoride drops or using fluoride mouthwash.
- Get Regular Dental Checkups
No matter how well you do with flossing and brushing your child's teeth, dental checkups are a must. Every six months your child should have a cleaning and checkup for cavities.