My Blog - Children's Medical Center

Posts for: June, 2019

As parents we already have the life experience to understand the importance of good dental hygiene and routine dental care. Most adults have experienced the agony of a toothache or a cavity, or the shock of a tooth chipping at some point in their life. But parents often find it quite a struggle to encourage these same healthy dental habits in their children. Proper dental hygiene is extremely important in a child’s overall growth and development, even for baby teeth, as decayed or infected teeth can interfere with a child’s nutrition, speech development, and can even impact the child’s permanent teeth in the future.

While getting your child into a routine habit of taking care of their teeth can be difficult, there are a few things you can do to help make it easier. Here are a few tips to help get your kids started:

When Should A Child Start Brushing?


The easiest way to encourage and develop healthy hygiene habits in children is to start as young as possible. For dental hygiene, this means beginning to brush and care for teeth as soon as their first tooth appears. Pediatric dentists even recommend cleaning a baby’s gums after feedings, long before their first teeth appear. Parents will have to do this for their children at first but starting when your child is a baby helps establish healthy routines for their future.

Make Dental Care Fun For Your Child


Many children often try to avoid brushing their teeth and taking care of their dental hygiene. This isn’t because they are lazy or gross, they simply don’t find the task interesting or fun and they don’t have the life experience to understand the importance of it yet. Parents can help by making the experience fun and exciting for their children. Choose fun and colorful toothbrushes your child will like. If they are old enough to choose their own brush, let them. Use the time as an opportunity for your child to spend quality time and connect with you – turn brushing into a game or sing songs while your child is brushing. Finally, when it is time for your child to see a dentist choose one who specializes in pediatrics as they will try to make the experience more comfortable and fun for your child.

Using A Healthy Diet To Improve Dental Health


A healthy, well-balanced diet is important to your child’s dental health and their overall health and well-being. Foods rich in Vitamins A, C, and D, and calcium such as eggs, nuts, fish, green vegetables, beans, and poultry are important to a healthy diet. These days, many processed foods are high in sugar, starch, and carbohydrates, which can all be harmful to teeth. An unhealthy diet speeds up tooth decay and increases other issues with dental health. Try to avoid foods high in sugary, and especially pay close attention to the amount of sugar in juices and drinks.

Schedule Your Well-Child Visit Today


Your child’s pediatrician will also check their teeth for any signs of concern during their well-child visits and will let you know when it is time to see a dentist. Contact Children’s Medical Center to schedule your child’s well-child visit with one of our board-certified pediatric doctors. We have four convenient office locations in Palm Harbor, Westchase, Trinity, and Lutz. We also have extended hours and are open 7 days a week! We look forward to meeting you and your child soon! 

Hand washing is one of the best things we can do to protect ourselves from the spread of germs and illnesses surrounding us every day. As parents, we want to encourage our children to develop healthy hygienic practices, but it is often difficult for children to understand the importance of hand washing. However, with consistency and practice you can teach your children to make proper hand washing become a habit they will carry with them throughout their life. Here are a few tips that will help parents encourage healthy hand washing practices:

Explain Why Hand Washing Is Important


Children are naturally curious and love to ask “why”. This curiosity is what they use to learn life-long habits and behaviors and how to tackle the world around them. The good news is that there is a simple explanation you can provide to answer “why” hand washing is so important. You should remember to handle the question with care and answer in an age-appropriate manner that will explain hand washing helps prevent the spread of germs without scaring your child.

Lead By Example


Leading our children by example is often one of the best ways to get them to make something a habit. If your children see you washing your hands on a regular basis, they are more likely to want to pick up the routine too. Try to incorporate regular hand washing into different parts of your daily routine – for example, wash your hands as soon as you get home, before and after meals, and after playing with pets.

Make Hand Washing Fun And Exciting


Hand washing can seem like a mundane and boring task, but it doesn’t have to be. You can make the experience fun and exciting for children by investing in fun liquid hand soap, a steep stool that will make it easier for them to reach the sink, and their own personal hand drying towel. To encourage your children to wash their hands long enough to effectively kill germs – at least 20 seconds – make it fun by using that time to sing a song, dance, or count out loud. Finally, make sure you end the experience by offering your child praise or a reward. A reward for a child doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, often a sticker or a high-five is enough to satisfy a child. Children love receiving praise, especially from their parents, so this can be an important step in making healthy hand washing practices a routine.

What To Do If Your Child Gets Sick


Even with the best hygienic practices, everyone still gets sick on occasion. Everyone in the family should continue to wash their hands routinely to prevent the spread of illness to other family members. If your child does come down with symptoms of an illness, contact their primary care provider at Children’s Medical Center to schedule a sick visit. We will do our best to get your child seen as soon as possible.