As adults, many of us make a resolution, or perhaps several, for the New Year. If your children have not learned what those are yet, this is the perfect time to teach them about these year-long commitments, and teach them about better dental care at the same time. Oral hygiene is important from the get go, so the earlier they embrace these healthy habits the better.
Resolution #1: Regular brushing is a must
Adults know it, and kids should know it too! Brushing those pearly whites can help improve not only your child’s oral health, but also their overall health. It is your responsibility to assist your child with their brushing until they are 7 or 8 years old. When they have the dexterity to tie their shoes, they also have the capability to brush on their own. “Make sure they are brushing twice a day for at least two minutes,” said Dr. Lela Farmer from Scuba Smiles For Kids. This is a very important resolution for the oral health of your child. Also make sure the strokes are short and circular over both the front and the back of the teeth.
Resolution #2: Drink more water
Kids may love sugary drinks, but you should be teaching your child that water can be their best friend. Dr Farmer said, “When you drink water, it helps wash food debris and plaque away from the teeth.” Not only that but water also promotes saliva production which replaces minerals lost during the acid attacks from the mouth’s bacteria. When they are teenagers who can make their own drink decisions, we want them in the habit of choosing water, rather than choosing sugar-filled drinks, like soda.
Resolution #3: Flossing can be fun
We know brushing your teeth twice a day is important, but flossing them once a day, ideally at night, is just as important too. Food particles can get stuck in hard-to-reach places between the teeth which can lead to harmful build-up of plaque over time. The solution is to make flossing a regular part of their daily oral care routine. This is another important resolution for the oral health of your child. “You can even make it a family activity and floss together to make it fun, and something they’ll want to do more in the future,” said Dr. Farmer who stresses it is important to make sure to teach your child how to floss properly by showing them how you floss your teeth.
Resolution#4: Eat mouth healthy foods
Kids love chewy, sticky, sugary candy and treats, but their teeth sure do not love those kinds of foods. When your kids cut back on sugar, you should teach them to eat foods that are healthy for their teeth, such as dairy products which are high in calcium, or fibrous foods which can increase saliva and scrub away plaque and other food bits. Not only are those foods good for their mouths, but also for their growing bodies.
Resolution#5: Start off the new year with a trip to the dentist
This year may be particularly important to get your child in to see the dentist, especially if the pandemic has made you nervous to bring your child anywhere in public. Dr. Farmer is noticing that children who neglected seeing her in 2020 because of the pandemic are coming in for check-ups with larger problems with their oral health. “The cavities are bigger, and I am seeing more children with pain that could have been prevented. I cannot stress how important it is for you to make sure your child stays consistent with their dental visits at least twice a year.”
By teaching your kids these proper oral hygiene habits early in life, they can grow up with healthier teeth, and you have a greater chance of seeing their dentist for preventative care instead of dental emergencies. Make this a resolution that you keep, and we look forward to seeing the healthy smiles of your children in the new year.