Whether or not you are into making New Year’s resolutions, when it comes to the oral health of your children, there are three resolutions you will want to commit to keeping:
- Brushing teeth twice a day and after high sugar meals and snacks
- Daily flossing
- Avoiding damaging behaviors
When you and your child attend to these three things on a regular basis, you can rest assured that the foundation for optimal oral health will be strong and their smiles will stay beautiful and healthy for life!
Let’s look at each one a little more in depth.
2 x 2 Brushing Many parents are not aware of the fact that, from the time before the first tooth erupts, children’s mouths should be kept clean. Just like adults, plaque can build up on those little pearly whites and cause tooth decay – especially after eating high-sugar meals and snacks. According to the American Dental Association, the 2 x 2 rule should be a resolution you keep far beyond the new year. The rule goes: brush teeth 2 times a day for 2 minutes to keep them healthy and strong.
Proper Flossing Many people forego flossing until they have the unpleasant sensation of food stuck between their teeth. Beginning the flossing habit early in life is important. Many cavities start between teeth due to lack of flossing in areas a toothbrush can’t reach.
To floss your children’s teeth, take a length of floss about 12 to 18 inches and holding a short section between your thumb and forefinger curve it around each tooth and slide it up and down between the teeth being sure to reach just below the gumline and all the way up. Don’t apply too much pressure. Flossing should be done at least once a day, preferably when you brush after eating.
Protect Those Pearly Whites As children get older, they may want to participate in sports. Some of these activities require special gear for protection. A mouthguard is a must for contact sports. Ideally your child will have a custom-made mouthguard; these provide the best protection for your child’s teeth and are more comfortable than OTC mouthguards. Sometimes the inevitable happens and a tooth is broken or damaged from organized sports activities or simple accidents. Learning how to treat a dental emergency is a great resolution to make. The ADA has some tips on first-aid for dental injuries here.
At Gallatin Valley Pediatric Dentistry, we provide specialized dentistry for infants, children and teens. Let us help you help your child establish a firm foundation for oral health. Call us today to schedule an appointment.