If you want your children to have the healthiest smiles possible, you need to start focusing on their teeth before they’re even born!
Healthy bones and teeth start in the womb. The better Mom’s diet is, the stronger you can expect your children’s teeth to be as they grow up. A diet that’s rich in Vitamin C and Calcium will give kids’ teeth a boost even before your little ones start teething!
Once your child’s teeth start to appear, it will be up to you to set them on the right dental path. You can use a soft brush on infants and toddlers. Then, as your kids get older, teach them how to stick to a thorough brushing regimen. Just be sure to watch them! Young kids aren’t always great at keeping things from going down their throats, and swallowing too much toothpaste can actually be toxic!
Speaking of toothpaste, your kids don’t need it until they’re about 18 months old as long as you’ve got fluoride in your water. Luckily, it will be all you need to keep their teeth clean. Once your children hit that 18 month mark, they’ll only need a small drop of toothpaste. In fact, that’s all they’ll need until they turn five years old. In the meantime, if your kids seem to have trouble NOT swallowing their toothpaste, give them a special low-fluoride paste.
What else can you do to help your kids build healthy teeth?
Cutting back on sweets is a must! Sadly, all of the high-sugar drinks and candy you see being advertised everywhere are the biggest cause of tooth decay. In fact, the bacteria that causes tooth decay feeds on sugar; it makes the bacteria stronger! (Of course, though, your kids will wind up eating some sugary stuff. So when they do, brush their teeth as soon as they finish.)
In addition to the sweets, thumb-sucking is a big no-no if you want your kids to have healthy teeth. It may seem innocent enough, but it can actually push your children’s teeth and jaw out of alignment!
Dummies can be used temporarily to help your children get over their thumb-sucking habits. Just remember that dummies can push everything out of alignment, too, so don’t use them any longer than you absolutely have to (and only use them during sleep times).
You’ll also need to take precautions to keep bacteria off of your dummies and out of your children’s mouths. For example, wash them anytime they fall on the floor or touch something dirty. And, whatever you do, never put dummies in your mouth to show children how to use them! This is a breeding ground for bacteria!
As your kids get older, make routine trips to the dentist. That way, your kids will learn that taking care of their teeth is normal, healthy, and an all-around positive experience!
Joanne Lemke is a final year creative writing student at UOW, who is looking to break into the corporate copywriting space once she graduates and hopefully go on to eventually some day write a book around her other passions, namely beauty, cooking and travel.