As a parent, it is crucial that you prioritize the dental health of your whole family. Not only is good dental hygiene key for their sparkling white smiles, it also ensures that you avoid toothaches, as well as gum disease, which can lead to other issues in the body. Fortunately, keeping you and your children’s teeth healthy is not difficult if you are proactive now.

Teach Them While They’re Young

The greatest advantage you can give your child in terms of dental health is teaching them proper dental hygiene from a young age. One in four children begin to display signs of tooth decay before they even begin school. Therefore, it is important for you to prioritize your children’s dental health once their first tooth appears, around six months. You should take them for their first dental appointment around this time and before the age of two. You can very gently clean your infant’s teeth with a soft brush or damp cloth. At about age two, introduce brushing to your child, and teach them how to do it themselves (with supervision, of course). Make sure your child visits the dentist regularly and begins to brush their teeth every morning and every night and you will set them up for dental success for their whole lives.

Give Them Dental Sealants

After age six, permanent molars begin to develop. At this time, you can bring your child into the dentist for dental sealants. These protective coatings are applied to the molars in order to prevent decay, significantly reducing the development of cavities, yet many parents are not aware of this tool for your child. Talk to your dentist about dental sealants.

Brush and Floss Every Day

In order to ensure your dental health and set a good example for your children, make sure that everyone in your household is practicing good dental hygiene. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day go a long way towards preventing both tooth decay and gum disease. You can practice good dental hygiene as a family so everyone knows that it is a value. Additionally, remember to change toothbrushes every three or four months.

Rinse After Meals

You also have the opportunity to promote dental health after you have eaten as a family. Teach your children to rinse with an antibacterial wash after meals to prevent any bacteria from causing gum or decay problems. Alternatively, chewing gum can stimulate saliva production, which protects the teeth by washing away bacteria and neutralizing any acid.

Don’t Smoke

Tobacco use significantly increases your chances of developing gum disease, as well as oral cancer. Reduce your risk of these health conditions and teach your children by example and don’t smoke or chew tobacco. If you are a smoker or use tobacco, quit. Regardless, talk to your children about the dangers of smoking and chewing.

Avoid Sugar

As your mouth’s bacteria breaks down sugar, it produces acids that are detrimental to your tooth enamel and can cause tooth decay. Therefore, you should be conscious of your sugar consumption, particularly when it comes to beverages. Teach your children to drink water instead of sugary juices, sodas, or flavored waters. Carbonated beverages also increase acidity in your mouth, so these can make the tooth decay worse. Additionally, avoid sticky candies, as these cause the sugar to remain adhered to your teeth.

At Smiles by Dr. Santos, we love providing children with the knowledge they need to have healthy teeth. Contact us for a dental clinic in Manahawkin!