6 Ways to Set Your Kids Up for a Lifetime of Healthy Teeth and Gums

As National Children’s Dental Health Month kicks off, it’s the perfect opportunity to focus on your children’s oral health habits and needs. Setting children up with good oral health and hygiene habits (the younger the better) is as important for their wellbeing and development as other aspects of their health. 

At Manhasset Dental Arts, our dentists and dental team offer a range of family dentistry services here at our Manhasset, New York office. We welcome patients of all ages and are especially committed to getting kids’ oral health off to a great start. Here are the top six ways we ask parents to work with us to achieve this goal.

1. Go for regular check-ups and cleanings.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), children should start going to the dentist by their first birthday, or six months after the first tooth erupts. They may be temporary, but taking care of baby teeth is just as important. 

Early tooth decay can put their permanent teeth at risk for future problems, so brushing, flossing, and going to the dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings is necessary at every age. Our dentists will monitor your child’s progress at each appointment and help them to feel comfortable and safe, which can help to reduce the risk of dental fear and anxiety as they grow up. 

2. Get fluoride treatments.

Most toothpaste and municipal tap water contain fluoride, which helps to protect teeth from cavity-causing bacteria buildup. Children are especially vulnerable to tooth decay due to a number of factors like eating sugary snacks, candy, and drinks, as well as poor brushing and flossing techniques. Fluoride treatments can help to strengthen teeth and lower the risk of cavities in young children.

3. Use dental sealants.

Sealants are a great way to protect young teeth from cavities. Reaching and thoroughly brushing the back teeth can be difficult for children, and the uneven surface of molars can be a breeding ground for cavity-causing bacteria. Sealants create a smooth and flat brushing surface to keep bacteria out and make it easier for your children to clean their teeth.

4. Limit sugary snacks and drinks.

Diet plays a very important role in oral health for both children and adults. Food and snacks designed for children often have deceptively high sugar counts, so check the labels and try to limit processed snacks and food for fruits and vegetables like apples and broccoli. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), food is not just a good source of essential nutrients like calcium and fiber, but crunchy snacks like apples and carrots also encourage saliva production, which helps to cleanse the teeth and prevent bacteria buildup between brushing. 

Some of the ADA’s top food recommendations for healthy teeth include:

Tip: Pack a toothbrush and toothpaste with their lunch if possible to encourage brushing after meals.

5. Keep them hydrated.

Drinking enough water is another important component of good oral and general health. Dehydration can make it difficult to concentrate in school, participate in physical activities, and it can also encourage drinking sugary drinks like soda or fruit juices. Drinking water throughout the day keeps the saliva flowing and helps to flush bacteria from the teeth and gums. 

6. Make it fun.

Treating morning and nighttime brushing and flossing as a fun activity rather than a chore can help kids to stay engaged and committed to their oral health as they get older. Brushing alongside your kids is a great way to encourage them and teach them good brushing and flossing techniques and habits. 

Strong, healthy teeth and gums begin in childhood. For more information about pediatric dentistry and how to protect your children’s teeth and gums against decay, contact our office today or request an appointment online.

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