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Good Dental Habits For Kids | San Diego Pediatric Dentistry

5 Good Dental Habits You Need to Teach Your Children

Your child’s first dental visit should be before their first birthday or about six months after the appearance of their first tooth. Some may wonder why the first visit needs to be so soon. In short, its all about the bacteria that will call her mouth home. There are good, and bad bacteria. The more good bacteria she has, the less likely she will get cavities. Good oral hygiene habits should start as soon as possible. You can start brushing even before their first baby tooth shows up. Wiping your child’s gums with a clean cloth or gauze pad to remove biofilm (plaque) will help not only familiarize them with good hygiene practices, but its critical to help keep the balance of good and bad bacteria in check. In this blog, we explain 5 dental habits you need to teach your children and your teenagers to help minimize the harmful bacteria in your child’s mouth.

#1: Put Fluoride to Work for You

Using fluoride regularly will not only strengthen the enamel on your children’s teeth, it alters the metabolism of the harmful bacteria, making it harder for them to produce harmful acid and harm her teeth. In the last decade, the need for pediatricians to prescribe fluoride supplements has diminished less and less as most large cities in the United States requires tap water to be fluoridated. However, per guidelines, properly dosed (start with a grain of rice and working up to a pea-size) amount of kids fluoridated toothpaste is recommended once first tooth appears. Additionally, the giuidline makes the benefit of professional strength fluoride treatment clear. The Fluoride treatment should be done minimum of twice per year (ideally four) per the American Academy of Pediatrics. All parents are aware of preventing their child from swallowing fluoride

#2: Its Not Just Candy, Avoid Specific Foods

sure, you should teach your children to try to eat fiber-rich fruits and vegetables instead of sugary candies and sweets. But any sticky, carbohydrate rich food that is acidic is harmful for teeth. This includes organic raisins, no-sugar added “fruit” gummy snacks, Gummy Vitamins, Goldfish and other similar carbohydrate-rich sticky crackers. You should also encourage them to eat more cheese, milk, plain yogurt, and other dairy products. This is because the calcium, phosphates, and vitamin D in dairy products are crucial minerals for healthy teeth.

Children should avoid eating the following foods:

  • Sugary candies & sweets
  • Starchy, refined carbohydrates
  • Drinks with added sugar
  • Fruit juice
  • Lemons & other citrus fruits

#3: Floss Like a Boss

While it is important to brush our teeth regularly, you need to teach your children to floss where there are no spaces between their teeth. Flossing helps to disrupt the bacteria build up (biofilm) as well as remove the nutrients they need (food residue) to develop and cause cavities and gum disease between teeth. Flossing should be done at least once a day, and the before bed will give you the most bang for the buck.

#4 Brush Properly

When showing your children how to brush their teeth, emphasize the importance of how they brush and for how long. On average, most children who brush, only spend seconds with the tooth brush in their mouth, in contrast to the recommended 2 minutes. Also, teach them about gently brushing their gums, tongue, and the roof of the mouth to help disrupt the bacteria that causes cavities, gum disease and bad breath. Make sure your kids brush their teeth lightly using back and forth, up and down movements. Brushing too hard can cause gum recession with time.

#5 Going to the Dentist is Fun

Even if you teach your children everything that we have discussed above, you still need to make sure they regularly visit their dentist for checkups. A well-trained dental office can help you with preventive care, diagnose any issues early on, and help you reinforce and boost good oral health habits.

Talk to a San Diego Dentist Today

At Scripps Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we provide the people of San Diego with a wide variety of oral health care services. No matter if your child is dealing with a toothache or you just want a dental cleaning and check up, our board-certified dentists are prepared to assist you.

Call (858) 252-0577, or contact us to schedule your appointment with our team in San Diego.