It’s no secret that kids don’t always have the best oral health routines, which results in multiple cavities by the time they get into the dentist’s office. Some causes include: eating too much sugar, not brushing thoroughly enough, not flossing, and skipping brushings.
But have no fear, here is a list of classic mistakes parents make when it comes to oral health, and tips on how you can avoid them.
1. Letting kids brush alone It might be easier to send them to the bathroom and tell them to brush their teeth before bed, but could be a huge mistake. When kids are brushing their teeth, especially if they are new to the habit, they need supervision. If kids are younger than 8, they lack the motor skills needed to brush effectively.
Tip: Make brushing part of your family routine. Try to have everyone brush together before story time for example. This is a great way to watch your kids brush, while getting some family time with them before bed. It also helps that they will see you brushing at the same time, so that they can pick up tips from you.
2. Not taking regular trips to the dentist Kids need to attend regular dentist visits just like adults do. The trick to starting your child off on the right foot when it comes to oral health is to schedule the first dentist appointment early. If you don’t start bringing your child to the dentist until they are 2 or 3 years old, then you are making a big mistake. Waiting a long time for the first visit lets issues in the mouth run rampant.
Tip: The first trip to the dentist should happen six months after the eruption of their first tooth. This is ideal timing because it allows for early detection of any oral health problems. If you wait until they are 2 years old to bring them to the dentist then they are likely to have decay and cavities. If their first trip is filled with pain and bad news, then a cycle will begin, one of fear and loathing for the dentist. Avoid this by making your first appointment early.
3. Not using fluoride The American Dental Association recommends fluoride and studies show that it is the best way to prevent cavities, so make sure you use it! Toothpastes with fluoride in them are the norm for most households. If you drink a lot of bottled water, you might be missing out on fluoride.
Tip: Talk to your dentist about how much fluoride your child needs to keep them cavity free and which toothpastes are right for them.
The best thing you can do as a parent is to instill good oral health values in your children and ask your dentist about any dental questions or issues that you might have.