Most people understand the importance of keeping your teeth healthy. It prevents cavities and helps keep your teeth in your mouth for years to come. Here are some tips to help your child keep up with their dental health.
1. Brush in soft circles
The importance of brushing your teeth is well-known, but did you know brushing in a sawing, back and forth motion can actually hurt your teeth? Brushing too hard, or with a brush that has too-hard bristles, can lead to damage in the enamel and gums. Soft, circular motions with the toothbrush help clean your teeth without the damage.
2. Replace your brush regularly
Unlike a hairbrush, a toothbrush needs to be replaced often. After a while, it begins to lose its effectiveness in cleaning. Experts recommend replacing your toothbrush after three months or when the ends begin to look frayed, whichever comes first.
3. Use fluoride
Fluoride is a pretty common ingredient in dental products. However, not ever product has it. Most dentists recommend its use in preventing cavities, so make sure the toothpaste in your house contains fluoride.
Experts recommend flossing once a day, using gentle motions to clean out food and bacteria between the teeth. This can prevent decay and improve your breath.
5. Avoid smoking
Of course, this won't (or hopefully won't) be a problem for your child for many years. Cigarette smoke can permanently yellow the teeth and tongue and lead to bad breath. Smoking can also harm the body’s immune system, making it harder for gums to heal. It’s also a risk factor for gum disease. For the sake of dental health, it’s better to avoid smoking entirely.
6. Lessen sweet drinks
Sweet drinks like soda and juice make up a large amount of sugars the average person ingests a day. They can also lead to a larger risk of cavities. To prevent this, it’s recommended that sweet drinks only be taken with meals and in small amounts.
7. Use mouthwash
While it’s no substitute for brushing and flossing, mouthwash can complement healthy dental practices. Certain mouthwashes can help prevent gingivitis and control plaque. Look for a mouthwash that contains chlorhexidine for the most effective clean. Be sure to consult with your child's dentist about which mouthwash may be right for them.
8. Drink water after meals
Water is the healthiest beverage for the human body and that includes oral health. Having a small glass of water after a meal can help wash away any leftover bits of the meal or acidic residue left from food and beverages.
9. Eat crunchy produce
Chewing may not be the most fun type of exercise, but it can help your teeth. Eating crunchy fruits and vegetables, like apples or carrots, can get your jaw working and improve oral health.
10. See a pediatric dentist regularly
Even with regular brushing, flossing, and other healthy habits, there could still be oral problems you’re unaware of. Going to a dentist twice a year for regular checkups can help maintain oral health. Not only can they help treat current problems, but they can look for potential issues and offer ways to prevent them.