Did you know that dental caries or cavities are the most common chronic disease of childhood?
An article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics states that, “Twenty-four percent of US children 2 to 4 years of age, 53% of children 6 to 8 years of age, and 56% of 15-year-olds have caries experience (ie, untreated dental caries, filled teeth, teeth missing as a result of dental caries).”
These are huge percentages! And they go to show the importance of preventive care that starts at a young age! The only way to prevent cavities is to practice good oral hygiene attentively and consistently.
Celebrating National Children’s Dental Health Month
As we come to the end of National Children’s Dental Health Month, Sea of Smiles is eager to celebrate with the thousands of dedicated dental professionals and health care providers who have promoted the benefits of good oral health for children and to give healthy, giggly smiles to as many kids as possible.
Children’s preventative care does not happen without a large community supporting the child on their way to excellent dental hygiene. From their parents to their teachers, pediatrician, and dentists, many adults help teach preventative care to children.
Five Ways You Can Teach Your Child Preventive Care
Fortunately, it is easy to teach your child how to have good dental hygiene, and your dentist is there to help you. Here are our five best tips for how to teach children about preventive care!
- Start Immediately! It is never too early to start taking your child’s oral hygiene seriously. If you practice preventative care from the start your child will easily pick up the practice. Even before teething, you can prevent adverse dental conditions by gently wiping your baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad as early as a few days after birth. Then, once teeth begin to erupt through the gums, brush your infant’s teeth with a child-sized toothbrush and water. You should also avoid giving very young children sugary beverages that can harm developing teeth. It’s safe to begin flossing your child’s teeth starting at the age of four, and they can take over the duties themselves as soon as they are ready.
- Encourage mimicry. One of the best strategies for teaching dental hygiene to children is to set an example for them. Children inherently copy their parents so encourage them to mimic your good dental habits. Make sure that you take good care of your own teeth, and don’t hesitate to brush or floss in front of your young child. Much of what they learn at an early age they learn by watching mom and dad, and if they see the whole family taking care of their teeth, they will have less trouble picking up the habit once they are old enough to brush for themselves.
- Let them take control. Everyone knows that kids like to think they are in charge. If they feel like they are in control of their dental hygiene they will be more likely to continue practicing good preventive care. One great way to give them control is to let them choose their toothbrush. Let your child pick from the wide selection of colors, characters, and gizmos that are available today. Just the object itself can activate your child’s imagination. If you want to get really fancy, there are toothbrushes that play music to encourage children to brush for a set amount of time.
- Make a routine. Children thrive off of routines, so by making preventive care part of the routine will help make good dental hygiene the norm. Starting when your children are young, create morning and bedtime routines that include brushing your teeth with your kids.
- Keep it fun! Kids love having fun, and good dental hygiene can be a blast! In order to keep things interesting, you can invent fun contests. Like, challenge your kids on who can create more bubbles while brushing or who can spit the toothpaste suds closer to the drain. These fun competitions will create interest in an activity that’s often rushed or forgotten about after a long day.
These are just a few great ways to help kids on their way to a life-long practice of dental hygiene. But there is another great way to help your child love taking care of their teeth — that’s going to a pediatric dentist office.
When you go to a pediatric dentist office, your child has the benefit of child-sized instruments, child-appropriate discussion, and a child-friendly environment. All three help your child feel more comfortable in a situation that can be frightening and disconcerting.
A pediatric dentist office provides the best environment for children so they feel at ease when they go to the dentist. However, most importantly, our dentists specialize in pediatric dentistry because they are passionate about children’s dental health.
Both our offices in Yardley (267-392-5878) and Bensalem (215-433-1840) offer excellent pediatric dental care in a child-friendly environment. If you’d like more information about the role of a pediatric dentist for children or are in need of a pediatric dentist in the Yardley or Bensalem surrounding areas please contact our offices today to schedule an appointment.