As it has been said, forewarned is forearmed. And so it is with keeping your child’s teeth healthy and strong. The CDC has reported that parents spend an estimated 40% less over five years when their children begin receiving dental care as early as one. When it comes to dental care, that 40% can translate into BIG numbers! Prevention is key, however, there are also ways you can can continue your plight into keeping your child’s teeth healthy: developing lasting habits while they are young. Here are three tips to aid in your quest for at-home dental care.
TIP #1: The First Trip to the Dentist
The first trip to the dentist may be more important than you may think. Besides the fact that studies show that you will spend far less on dental care over the next five years when you make that first trip to the dentist by the time your child is one year old, but that first trip could be the beginnings of alleviating fear in future visits. The key in maintaining healthy teeth is making regular visits to the dentist. Many kids have a fear of the dentist, and it can be an intimidating experience for some adults, as well. By starting these visits early, your child will naturally become accustomed to going to the dentist and it will become a normal part of their lives. Plus, there is always that sugar-free sucker at the end of the visit! (Yes, your child can even have one, too!)
Tip #2: Healthy Eating
Yeah, yeah, I know…you were hoping I was going to leave this part out. Eating habits are one of the most crucial elements in maintaining healthy teeth, as well as, preventing cavities and tooth decay (cavities). Eating habits begin early, so why not start right out eating healthy? Some parents have asked, “How do you get your kids to eat healthy, when all they want is sugar?” Believe it or not, there is a very simple solution to this: Don’t introduce them to sugary foods until later childhood, or introduce them to sugar-free candies! With nothing to compare sugary sweet to non-sugary sweet foods to, the issue resolves itself. By creating a healthy eating regimen right out of the gate, your child has a better chance of having a healthy smile longer, as well as, maintaining a healthy weight.
Tip #3: Brush, Rinse, Spit
You don’t have to be Professor X to know this one was going to be here! Many parents are good about making sure their children’s teeth are brushed before bed, but what about when they first wake up, or after lunch? Honestly, how long do they stand there brushing those pearly whites? Dentists recommend that teeth should be brushed a MINIMUM of 3 times a day, for three full minutes a pop. Another issue that is actually quite common is brushing technique. People tend to focus on the area most seen, neglecting the other areas. Teeth should actually be brushed by quadrant. There are four quadrants to your teeth; the upper right, the upper left, the lower right, and the lower left. Each quadrant should be brushed thoroughly, further divided into sections; front, back, bottoms, then under the gums, lifting them slightly to let in oxygen which kills bacteria.
Remember, the best defense is a good offense (did I just compare dental care with football?). The earlier you take your child to the dentist and begin healthy eating and brushing habits, the longer you will have something to smile about.