Many children hate hygienic activity. Showers are a waste of time to them. Why not eat food after it fell on the floor? Washing hands after using the bathroom? Forget it!
However, to this day many adults brush their teeth multiple times a day due to the habits instilled in them as reluctant children. Maybe the majority of us don’t own the most beautiful shining examples of whitestripped, never-touched-chocolate, perfectly flossed dentition, but we’re doing pretty good.
If you have small or young children, it’s up to you to keep their teeth clean for now, or teach them how. Of course, this requires time and effort on your part. But later in life, your children will thank you and it will be worth it.
Account for their Sensitive Teeth!
Young children have sensitive teeth that they are still learning how to use. They can’t take all the wear and tear you no doubt put on yours when you chew extra hard things, and they may not even have the muscles developed for that anyway.
It is best to treat sensitive teeth very carefully. Start out with softer toothbrushes (or your finger for infants), childrens’ toothpastes, and if you can afford to, try and get your child in for the occasional dentist visit. It’s also wise to give them fluoride tablets here and there, especially if your tap water does not include fluoride already. Fluoride helps to make teeth stronger.
Bad Gums Happen Fast
“[Plaque] can cause soreness, swelling, and bleeding in your gums” WebMD writes. This is doubly important for a child. You need to be brushing your child’s teeth frequently, and flossing as well.
Of course, this includes brushing your child’s gums too. Food particles and plaque can still get on their actual gums, and a rinse isn’t good enough to get it all out. So take care of their whole mouth, not just their teeth. Teeth and gums operate together and independently of each other on some level, and they need to be treated accordingly.
Get Braces Early
Understand that when we use the word “early,” we don’t necessarily mean too early for your child to have braces. But don’t wait too long once you know they are needed. Braces are extremely expensive but you might be able to save on the cost if you do your research.
See, braces aren’t just for straightening teeth, they help with overbites and underbites as well. With an overbite or underbite, your child’s jaw could grow wrong and they may have permanent problems with their mouth. This is also where semi-regular dentist visits come in. The dentist will let you know if and when your child needs braces, retainers, headgear, and the like. So the more you’re able to see the dentist, the better you’ll be able to prevent these sorts of things from happening.
Cavities, Cavities, Cavities
When it comes to dental disease and cavities in children, the parents actually play a bigger role than you might think. According to the WDA, infants are at risk if their mothers don’t take good care of their own teeth, due to transmission of germs. It’s also good for parents to keep sugary things away from them, at least in large.
Of course at any age, children’s teeth can get cavities, so maintaining proper oral hygiene for your child is very important from that angle alone. Maintaining a careful stance on sugar, as well as regular brushing and flossing, should follow them as they grow up, so when they’re of age to start doing these things themselves they can carry those habits on.
Reinforce Positive Attitudes about Dental Care
According to WebMD, most children lack the coordination to brush and floss their own teeth until they’re about 6 or 7. But as early as you feel is reasonable, teaching them to take the reigns sooner than later may be a good idea.
Colgate’s website has an interesting and unusual piece of advice, but insightful nonetheless: don’t instill fear. Since some children are reluctant to oral care, many parents have been known to tell stories of scary dental procedures and surgeries. However, as Colgate writes, “Making the dentist a source of fear can even lead to an unhealthy avoidance of dental appointments in adults.” Rewarding kids for the right actions will work better than scaring them for the wrong ones.
Stay Ahead of Your Finances!
We already talked about discounted braces, but dental care as a whole is still incredibly expensive. There are actually quite a few ways you can save on dental and oral care. Workplace health plans are required to offer dental benefits for children, but in case you don’t have your insurance through your workplace, the Balance has put together a great list of ways to avoid putting yourself in more debt. These are some of the highlights:
- Get your cleaning done at a dental school
- Be aware of what you may or may not need this checkup (for instance, maybe you can hold off on teeth x-rays until next time)
- Ask about cash discounts
- Set up a Payment Plan
- Purchase Dental Discount Plans
A lot of people give up when it comes to dental care because of the cost, and not only is this bad for your teeth, but there are several ways around it that you can take advantage of. You just have to look.
Do you have anything to add about raising little ones to take care of their teeth? Feel free to reach out!