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Challenge: Start Today: Healthy Habits

Healthy Teeth for Kids: How to Encourage Oral Health Care

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Dental care should start the moment your child is born. The sooner you start, the sooner your child is going to develop good dental hygiene habits. This is going to greatly reduce the amount of dental issues that can occur at various times throughout life, and save you a lot of money on dental bills. Here are some tips that will help get your child on the road to good dental hygiene habits.

1. Visit Your Dentist

As soon as your child’s first tooth comes in, it is time to start taking them in for regular visits to the dentist. You may want to find a dentist who specializes in babies and children if your own does not. “Early visits can mean early prevention of a number of serious dental issues, including cavities. Once your child is old enough, your dentist can also begin to teach them about proper dental hygiene,” suggests Dr. Navid Rahmani from NYC Dental Implants Center.

2. Start Brushing Right Away

As soon as your child is born, it is time to start brushing. No, they don’t have teeth, but bacteria can still form in their mouths at this age, and you need to clean their gums regularly. This will also get you into the habit of brushing regularly once they begin cutting teeth. You only need a tiny amount of toothpaste for babies, and for children three to six years, just a pea-sized amount. By the time they are five or six, they should be brushing their teeth on their own.

3. Use Fluoride

Infants and toddlers need fluoride in order to prevent early tooth decay. Fluoride is a natural mineral that can be found in all water sources, and it is necessary for healthy teeth. You may not find fluoride in bottled water, so if this is what your children drink, make sure that they have another source of fluoride. Discuss it with your dentist if you are unsure of their needs, including how much fluoride they should be consuming. Your dentist may also recommend in-office fluoride treatments if your child is not getting enough.

4. Be Careful with Pacifiers

It has often been said that continued use of pacifiers can lead to crooked teeth. But, there are also other things you need to worry about if your children use pacifiers. For instance, you should never dip a pacifier into sugar, honey, or anything that is sweetened. This can lead to cavities, which will only worsen over time. Also, never put the pacifier in your own mouth, because bacteria can pass from your saliva to your baby’s mouth. If you do put it in your own mouth, be sure to clean it before giving it to your baby.

5. Keep Healthy Snacks for Long Drives

Your kids are going to want to snack if they are stuck in the car for long periods of time. Instead of giving them sugary treats that promote tooth decay, keep a stash of healthy snacks in your car, such as fruit and nuts, along with bottled water and other drinks that do not contain sugar and are non-acidic so they don’t promote tooth decay.

6. Maintain Dental Hygiene on Vacations

Obviously, vacations are a time to relax, but this does not mean that you can relax when it comes to dental hygiene. Make sure that you and your kids always brush and floss twice daily, even while on vacation. This will ensure that routines are not interrupted, and that your children don’t get out of the habit of brushing and flossing regularly. Even a bit of slacking off can cause them to start slacking off when they are home as well.

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