Posted June 20, 2011
Do your kids know what it takes to make an attractive smile? Kids may think a smile is just about grinning and showing their pearly whites. But a pretty smile involves having healthy teeth and gums they are comfortable showing to others.
Most kids do not know how to take care of their teeth on their own. They need coaching from their parents to develop good oral health habits they can practice the rest of their lives.
Unfortunately, tooth decay is the single most common chronic disease that kids face today. It is five times more common than hay fever and seven times more common than bronchitis. Six out of 10 children in the U.S. have cavities. Since the root system from baby teeth lays the foundation for permanent teeth, kids with significant cavities may experience problems with their teeth as adults.
Here are some good dental habits to teach your kids:
- Tooth brushing and flossing – Parents should encourage kids to brush their teeth for at least two minutes after breakfast and before bedtime; floss teeth at least once each day to remove food trapped between teeth and under gums
- Make brushing fun – To encourage kids to develop good habits, purchase a tooth brush in your child’s favorite cartoon character or color, as well as floss or floss picks in flavors and fun colors
- Model good dental behavior – Kids often model their behavior after their parents, so make sure you are a good role model by brushing and flossing your teeth on the same schedule
- First tooth, first year, first dental visit – The American Dental Association recommends that parents schedule their child’s first dental visit at age 1 or when the first tooth appears; plan ongoing appointments for your child for checkups and cleanings as directed by your dentist
- Healthy eating – Make sure kids consume nutritious foods and drinks that are low in sugar; avoid snacks and sweet drinks in the evening after your child has brushed and flossed
Do your kids regularly brush and floss their teeth? How often do they visit the dentist for checkups and cleanings? – Scott Delisi, Ameritas Group