Teaching Children About Oral Health

Oral hygiene is important for people of all ages. Young children, in particular, can benefit from good oral health habits. Setting good habits with your children can improve their overall health and prevent oral problems like cavities and gingivitis, so use these tips to teach children effective habits.

Brush and Floss Daily

Children should understand the importance of brushing and flossing at a young age. These simple activities are the best ways to prevent tooth decay. Regular brushing helps to remove plaque build up on the teeth, while flossing helps remove food and residue that is lodged between the teeth and underneath the gums.

To help your children with brushing and flossing, make sure they have the right tools. You can purchase floss and toothpaste made specifically for children, and parents should help children with brush until the child has the manual dexterity to tie their shoes. Also, make sure to change out their toothbrushes regularly.

Eating a Balanced Diet

Poor eating habits can contribute to oral health problems. It is especially important to limit the amount of starchy and sugary foods your child consumes. These foods can cause plaque to build up on the teeth, and they are one of the main causes of decay. If your child does consume these foods, have them rinse their mouth with water after eating. It is also a good idea to give your children drinking water with fluoride.

Visit the Dentist

Part of establishing good oral hygiene with children involves visiting the dentist. You can schedule regular checkups with the dentist for a thorough cleaning and inspection. It is also important to visit the dentist if your child experiences a mouth injury or loses a tooth.

When you establish good oral health habits, your children will be less likely to develop cavities or gum problems. It is important to implement these tips sooner rather than later because as your children get older, they need to understand and practice good oral hygiene on their own.

How to Find a Good Pediatric Dentist

Finding your child a dentist is something like hiring a lawyer – you don’t want to just pick one at random. That being said, it is recommended that kids see their first dentist when either their first tooth grows in or they reach their first birthday for their best chance at establishing healthy, lifelong oral hygiene habits.

How should you go about picking a pediatric dentist, however, and how can you be sure to find one that is experienced, professional and yet still great at making little ones feel at ease? When it comes to the initial search, consider the following.

Casting a Net to find a Qualified Pediatric Dentist

When on the hunt for a qualified pediatric dentist, you may find it helpful to:

  • Consult friends or family members. A personal recommendation from a long-time client is tough to top.
  • Check out the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry database and search it for professionals in your area.
  • Ask your pediatrician. Few people have a better grip on child health care needs and offerings in your community than your existing pediatrician.
  • Search local review sites. This is also a great way to gather more information about a potential pediatrician you haven’t quite decided whether to see.

Once you have a few prospective professionals, you can start to research them further by name.

Additional Considerations in Choosing a Pediatric Dentist

Some parents prefer to have their children visit the same dental office that they do. If this sounds like you, that may be fine, depending on the age of your children. However, many younger children benefit from cheery, brightly colored environments designed and intended for kids. They also may find that the waiting room in pediatric dentist’s offices generally have more to offer the younger set than a few old magazines.  

Finally, consider the unique needs and personality traits of your child. If they are generally timid or fearful of the dentist, you’ll want to factor this in in making your final decision and be sure to choose an office where he or she will feel especially comfortable and at ease.