There are many elements that go into taking care of your teeth, such as brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist. The key to long-lasting good oral health is developing a good routine that incorporates these steps daily, and practicing this routine should start early in childhood.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, among children ages 5-17, cavities are five times as common as asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. By the age of 17, almost 78 percent of Americans have had at least one cavity. Teaching good dental habits early can help prevent these issues.
When to start?
Dental care should start with a visit to a pediatric dentist when the child’s first tooth begins to erupt, usually around 12 months of age. This is also the time to begin making a habit of seeing the dentist every six months for a routine checkup. Seeing the dentist early will acclimate your child to the dentist’s chair and can help minimize any future dental anxiety.
At home, you can begin brushing your infant’s teeth with a tiny smear of fluoridated toothpaste on an age-appropriate soft-bristle toothbrush. When your children are old enough to brush on their own, still continue to assist and supervise them as they brush to reinforce good habits. Make sure they brush for at least two minutes and cover all quadrants of their teeth.
Other good habits for good health
Maintaining good dental health goes beyond just brushing and the dentist’s chair, though. Make sure to monitor your child’s diet. A balanced diet that includes crunchy vegetables such as carrots and celery can help clean your child’s teeth as he or she eats. In addition, try to limit sugary foods and drinks to protect your child’s teeth from harmful bacteria and decay. If left unchecked, sugary drinks like soda can do extensive damage to your child’s teeth.
Good oral health is important because it can affect other areas of your health as well, so it is essential to have good habits and routines. Establishing these habits early in your child’s development will help them continue the routines later in life to ensure better oral and general health.