Your children’s teeth are more vulnerable to decay and cavities than your own. You must be vigilant about your children’s at-home habits and professional dental care to prevent lifelong problems. Talk with the Vital Smiles Georgia team to ensure you are doing everything possible to promote good oral health in your children.
The following tips will help you get start your children off with good hygiene habits:
Begin dental hygiene in infancy.
- After feedings, wipe your child’s mouth with a damp cloth.
- As soon as teeth begin erupting, start brushing his or her teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- You can use a tiny amount of toothpaste, but make sure it does not contain fluoride until he or she is old enough to spit out the toothpaste.
Visit the children’s dentist early and regularly.
- Schedule your child’s first visit with the dentist as soon as his or her first tooth erupts.
- Maintain a schedule of visits every six month to ensure good oral health and to help prevent serious problems.
Learn proper brushing techniques.
- Brush your children’s teeth using a children’s soft-bristle toothbrush.
- Gently brush their teeth two to three times per day for two minutes each session. (You may want to use a timer to ensure you brush from the proper length of time.)
- Be sure to angle the brush against the gum line. (Your Vital Smiles Georgia team can help demonstrate the proper position.)
- Once you have thoroughly cleaned each tooth, gently brush the tongue as well.
Use care with toothpaste.
- Use a non-fluoride toothpaste until your child is old enough to spit out the toothpaste.
- After introducing fluoride toothpaste, make sure your children do not swallow it.
Learn how to floss properly.
- Floss at least once a day. (Your Vital Smiles Georgia team can show you how to properly floss your children’s teeth.)
- Floss each tooth by gently gliding the floss between the teeth, curving the floss around the sides of the tooth toward the gum line, then sliding downward.
Maintain good nutrition.
- Encourage your children to eat a variety of healthy foods.
- Minimize processed foods, starches, and sugars.
- Be sure to brush your children’s teeth after they consume sugary foods or drinks.
Watch out for sugars during bedtime.
- Do not allow your children to fall asleep with a bottle or sippy cup containing juice or milk. (This will keep your children’s teeth coated with sugar for hours at a time, quickly leading to dental problems.)
- If you need to provide a bottle or cup before sleeping, make sure it only contains water.
Keep things sanitary.
- Avoid sharing utensils or cups with your children.
- Do not put your baby’s pacifier in your own mouth.
- Note: The bacterium which causes cavities can be transferred from you to your children.
Protect your child’s mouth.
- Note: Your child’s teeth are vulnerable to injury during sports.
- If your child is involved in sports, make sure he or she is fitted with a mouth guard to wear during practice or during games.
Brush your child’s teeth after using asthma inhalers.
- Be sure to either rinse out your child’s mouth with water or brush his or her teeth after each use of an asthma inhaler.
- Note: The steroids found in asthma inhalers can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in your child’s mouth.
Be a role model.
- Make sure your children see you regularly brushing and flossing your teeth.
- Your children will learn many of their habits by watching you.
Keep your children healthy by starting these habits at home and partnering with Vital Smiles Georgia.