This post is sponsored by the American Dental Association. All of the thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own.
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and seeing as I’ve learned a few things about what it takes to ensure good dental health for my kids over the last few years, I thought it seemed fitting to compile a list of tips that might help to educate others. I was under the impression that I knew a lot about the importance of dental health when it came to our kids when our oldest was born, but the truth is, I had a lot to learn. I’ll never forget the first time I took our first born to the dentist and I heard the words “he has a cavity”. I didn’t get my first cavity until after I turned thirty. We brushed his teeth both day and night, and even flossed. I was totally dumbfounded. How could this have happened? As it turns out, good dental health habits take place throughout the day, not just by brushing in the morning and at night. Thanks to our amazing dentist, and some additional education along the way, we learned to develop some great dental habits, and we’ve banished some not-so-good ones. I’m hoping that by sharing what we have learned, it will help to educate other parents on the do’s and don’t of good dental health.
1. It’s never too early to start
One of the most important things that I have learned about dental health for kids, is that it’s never too early to start. From the time you have an infant, you can get them used to the feeling of brushing their teeth, even just by gently massaging a wet washcloth on their gums. Above and beyond what you do at home, it’s a good idea to visit the dentist with your kids earlier, rather than later. When I had my firstborn, I was under the impression that he didn’t need to go until after he turned two, but I was wrong. Most dentists will start seeing kids as soon as they start getting teeth, or when they are around one year old. It’s a great idea to get your kids set up for routine visits as early as possible.
2. Brush morning and night, and floss too
This one might seem kind of silly, since as adults, we know about the importance of brushing at least twice daily and cleaning between our teeth, but it seems that sometimes people don’t apply this same logic when it comes to their kids. Not only can the foods and drinks that your kids have during the day lead to cavities and decay, but we also have bacteria in our mouths that can do the same. Brushing regularly is a great way to combat this, and flossing ensures that you’re getting the stuff in between their teeth that brushing alone can’t reach.
3. Don’t be afraid to jump in and help
As much as we want our kids to be tooth-brushing experts, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes they need a little bit of help to be sure that they’re really doing a good job. Don’t be afraid to help your kids brush their teeth, or even to do it for them when they are young. You want to be sure they are brushing, and even flossing efficiently, and they might need a little help with this. I’ve also found that doing things like setting a timer for 2 minutes so that your kids know exactly how long they should be brushing for can be helpful.
4. Don’t be scared of Fluoride
According to the ADA, tooth decay can start as soon as those first teeth start poking through, so it’s important to get started on using a toothpaste with fluoride that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance, from the very beginning. If your child is under the age of three, a sliver of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice will do. If they’re over the age of three, a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is perfect.
5. Avoid juice and sugary drinks and opt for tap water
I suppose that it goes without saying that drinks like juice and soda are full of sugar, and sugar increases your risk of cavities. Getting your kids in the habit of drinking water early on is the way to go, especially if that water contains fluoride, and a lot of tap waters do. Fluoride has been shown to reduce cavities by 25%, so when your kids are thirsty, offer them water.
These are just a few of the tips and tricks that I have learned over the last five years, but the ADA has tons of great resources and dental advice to offer for kids, so I’m going to link them here:
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the American Dental Association.