Encouraging Healthy Habits: Protecting Your Children's Teeth

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!