Did you know that nearly one third of five-year-olds are suffering from tooth decay? This is just one pediatric dental condition that is almost entirely preventable. In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, let’s discuss some extra ways you can improve and protect your child’s smile. While you may be diligent to adhere to all of these guidelines, there may be some areas that you could step up your game. As a parent, consider the following to boost your child’s oral health this year:
#1 Opt for Water: One of the sneakiest threats your child’s dental health is what they drink. Fruit juices, sodas, energy drinks and even sports drinks can be a recipe for dental disaster. These choices contain loads of sugar and acids that weaken tooth enamel, leading to decay, discoloration and other complications. Instead, help your child get into the habit of drinking water to hydrate throughout the day.
#2 Reward for Flossing: Just like adults, kids and teens don’t always follow recommendations when it comes to flossing. If your child is known for skipping this critical oral hygiene task, try offering a reward. Depending on your child’s age and interests, consider creative prizes like getting to stay up 15 minutes later after 5 days of flossing, or it could be something as simple as a small toy or sticker for a younger child. Kids of all ages respond very well to reward tactics!
#3 Set a Timer: Your child may be brushing twice a day, but are they brushing long enough. Try downloading a tooth timer app on the family iPad and encourage your child to brush for the full two minutes. You’ll be amazed at how much cleaner they can get their teeth and gums when they don’t rush through the task.
#4 Choose Treats Wisely: While it is not always practical to tell parents to eliminate candy, there are better and worse choices to be aware of. When it comes to small treats or candy, go for the chocolate instead of the sticky.
#5 Be an Example: Last but not least, make sure you realize the importance of how your own dental habits influence your kids. Be a good role model and let your children see you brushing and flossing each day. In addition, talk positively about going to the dentist so that they don’t dread going when it is their turn.
At Gilreath Family Dentistry, we love caring for young smiles. If it’s been over six months since your child had his or her dental checkup, please call our Marietta office today.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,