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How to Improve Your Child’s Oral Health in 2017

Happy New Year from Dental Town! We hope you enjoyed the holidays and are ready for another exciting year. Whether you make New Year’s resolutions or not, the New Year is always a great time for change. This year, we’re encouraging parents to help improve their children’s oral health. In this article, we’ll share a few ideas on how you can do exactly that.

Teach Good Habits

It’s important for everyone, children and adults included, to brush twice per day and floss at least once per day. In order for this to happen regularly, it must become a habit. You can start teaching this at a very young age, even before your child has teeth.

Brushing your infant’s teeth early and often will help get them used to brushing their teeth. That way, when they’re old enough to brush their own teeth, the idea won’t seem so foreign to them. As they get older, you can also encourage the habit by brushing and flossing with them, showing how you love to keep your own mouth clean. Some kids will still fight against brushing their teeth, but it’s important to be firm with them. Cavities and tooth decay can cause them a lot of pain that we want them to avoid.

Not only should you teach them good habits about the frequency of brushing, but you should also teach them how to brush their teeth. You don’t want your child spending the next year only brushing the front of their teeth or just one side, or forgetting to floss their molars.


Brush before bedtime

Sugar and plaque in the mouth encourage bacteria growth and lead to tooth decay. Depending on the age, children often sleep 10-12 hours each night. If they do not brush their teeth before bedtime, they’ll give sugar and plaque a lot of free time to cause damage.

Not only should they brush their teeth before bedtime, but you should take care to ensure they don’t eat or drink anything (besides water) before going to sleep. A late night snack might seem harmless enough, but again, 12 hours is a long time to allow that food to stay on your child’s teeth. A common problem is juice or bottles of formula or breast milk. It might help calm a child down before bed, but make sure to brush their teeth after giving them a sugary drink.


Add some music to the routine

If you’re having trouble convincing your children that brushing is fun, why not add some music? Mouth Healthy has put together a playlist of 7 great songs for brushing teeth. This can help in a few ways:

  • It makes brushing teeth more fun
  • The songs are usually close to two minutes, the right amount of time for brushing teeth
  • They often teach how to properly brush teeth

So check out the Mouth Healthy playlist and see which ones your children like the most.


Give them a new toothbrush

Giving your child a new toothbrush is great for two reasons. First, it’s actually important to replace their toothbrush every three to four months. This keeps the bristles strong enough to clean their teeth and is preventative against bacteria growing on the toothbrush.

Secondly, new toothbrushes can be fun! Let your child pick out their new brush for 2017 – many toothbrushes are available with famous cartoon characters or superheroes, and your kids will be more excited to use their choice.


Dental Sealants and Fluoride Treatment

Your dentist can provide preventative care like sealants and fluoride treatments that will help keep your child’s mouth healthy. Sealants are small coatings that are applied to a child’s teeth. They prevent tooth decay and cavities by keeping food and germs out of the grooves of teeth. They are easily and quickly applied, and can last between five and ten years.

Fluoride is very important for healthy teeth. In many locations, tap water has small amounts of fluoride that can help harden tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay. It’s also important for children to use toothpaste with fluoride. If you don’t have access to tap water with fluoride, or if your child is experiencing some early signs of tooth decay, your dentist can provide a fluoride treatment.

A fluoride treatment is quick and painless. The dentist simply paints a thin layer of fluoride on your child’s teeth, helping to strengthen their teeth and prevent decay.
Encourage them with activities
There are plenty of online resources that provide activities and games designed to teach and encourage children to take care of their teeth. Visit Mouth Healthy Kids or check out these craft ideas.


Visit the Dentist for Regular Cleanings

It is recommended that your children visit the dentist about every 6 months for a cleaning. Not only will your dentist clean your children’s teeth, but they will also inspect your child’s teeth to ensure everything is healthy, recognize problems in early stages when they’re easier to fix, and help teach your child how to take care of their teeth.

Here at Dental Town, we have extensive experience working with children. We know how to recognize the typical oral health problems in children, and we love working with kids to teach them how to care for their own teeth.

If you’re in the North Atlanta area and looking for dentists who specialize in caring for children, then contact us today to schedule an appointment and discover the Dental Town difference for yourself. Our staff would love to meet you at any of our four dental offices in Alpharetta, Cumming, Canton, and Forsyth. Together, we can ensure your child has great oral health in 2017.

Sources:
7 Ways to Make Dental Hygiene Fun for Kids
Simple Strategies for Parents to Improve their children’s oral hygiene
A Mom’s Guide to Fluoride
8 Ways to Protect your child’s teeth