Quality Dental Habits That You Should Start Young

There are some things that are most easily learned when you are still young: foreign languages, manners and good dental habits. Plus, it’s much easier to convince a 6-year-old that flossing is cool as opposed to a 16-year-old. Here are a few dental habits to focus on while your children are still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Brushing And Flossing

Children are creatures of habit. The earlier you can start brushing and flossing twice a day, the better. Parents should take care of children’s teeth until the are around age 2. At that point WebMD recommends that kids start practicing brushing their teeth and flossing with parental supervision. Children should start doing it on their own around 6 or 7. A good rule of thumb is that if your child can tie their own shoes they should be dexterous enough to care for their own teeth.

Make sure your child has a toothbrush designed just for them — a small head, a small handle, soft bristles and a fun bright color.

Consistency will help your child see the practice as a non-negotiable part of daily life. Plus, if you make the process fun by letting your child brush to their favorite song or rewarding them with a sticker chart, they might even look forward to it!

Regular Dental Appointments

Each time you take your child to the dentist it will become a little less scary and a little more fun. They will get to know the staff and will know what to expect. Make sure to visit the dentist at least two times a year. The American Dental Association recommends scheduling your child’s first dental visit within 6 months of the first tooth appearing.

Mouthguards Are A Must

If your child plays a contact sport, be sure to protect their teeth with a mouth guard. It can save you from expensive (and painful) trips to the dentist.

Flouride is Your Friend

Fluoride is a natural mineral found in water that keeps teeth healthy and strong. It is especially important for young teeth — WebMD reports that the most important time for fluoride is between ages 6 months to 16 years old. The city where you live may or may not put fluoride in the water. The best way to find out is to visit the Center for Disease Control’s database. If your home does not receive fluoridated water, use a toothpaste or mouthwash containing the mineral. You can also get a highly-concentrated fluoride solution applied to your children’s teeth at their dental appointments.

Ditch The Pacifier

Pacifiers are sometimes the only thing that can calm a baby and keep his or her parent’s sane. But, it’s important to phase pacifiers out at an appropriate age. Parents.com suggests getting rid of pacifiers at the very latest by age 4. Around this time it can start causing dental problems. Some experts urge to cease all binky use even earlier. If you can hack it, ditch the binky as soon as possible.

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