Tooth decay can cause pain and infections when left untreated. It is the leading chronic infectious disease affecting children in America. Tooth decay is easily preventable if children are taught proper dental hygiene, which includes proper eating, brushing and flossing. Regular visits to a dentist for an examination and dental cleaning is vital. Dental health is related to overall physical health.
Things You’ll Need
1)Go to the dentist on a regular basis. The dentist performs preventative cleanings, fluoride treatments and can detect cavities when small. Dentists give kids added education and tips on dental care.
2)Floss teeth at least once or more every day. Dental floss reaches many areas that a toothbrush cannot. Floss first, then brush to clean out debris loosened by the floss. Flossing can be fun as mint and cinnamon flavored floss is available. If a child has difficulty handling floss, pre-threaded flossers in kid-friendly shapes can be purchased at a local drugstore.
3)Teach kids to eat a healthy diet. Avoid many snacks between meals and brush teeth often between meals. Sticky candy can stick to teeth and be hard to remove. Soda, which contains both sugar and citric acid, is very harmful to dental enamel. Reduce soda consumption and offer kids water with meals.
4)Keep an eye on gum health. Signs of gingivitis, or early gum disease, can include puffiness, red or tender gums and bleeding while brushing. Often a little extra attention to cleaning the areas is enough to alleviate the problem in a few days. Another sign that something may be wrong is persistent bad breath. Let kids know that if they spot any of these problems, a check up with their dentist is in order.
5)Teeth need to be brushed at least once a day. Brushing in the morning and before bed is preferable. Brush between meals for extra care. Kids should use toothpaste that contains fluoride, which will help protect their teeth. Brush teeth for two to three minutes, gently scrubbing all tooth surfaces, the tongue, and do not forget to brush the gums!
6)Ask your dentist to visit your school or preschool to teach children about proper dental care. Every February is National Children’s Dental Health Month.
Tips & Warnings
Mouthwash containing fluoride is a great adjunct to a child’s oral hygiene routine.