Teaching children proper oral hygiene isn’t always easy. Unfortunately, it is necessary for safeguarding their future. Your child could begin losing their baby teeth and developing their adult teeth as early as six or seven years of age. At that stage, they are still entirely dependent on their parents for instruction as well as appropriate examples. If you haven’t already been teaching your child how to brush and floss correctly daily, then your child’s beautiful smile could already be in trouble. Let’s look at the importance of starting oral hygiene young.
The Importance of Starting Oral Hygiene Young
When your child starts teething, you know their baby teeth aren’t permanent. A little cavity here and there probably won’t cause any permanent damage. However, your child’s gums are already susceptible to infection and permanent damage. If you aren’t caring for your baby’s gums and slowly introducing other aspects of oral hygiene at the appropriate milestones, then your child’s gums could become irritated or infected. Left untreated, a gum infection can have serious side effects.
Their Adult Teeth Come Early
Long before you see them, your child’s adult teeth are already preparing to come out. Between the ages of six and twelve, your child will gradually lose their baby teeth and their permanent teeth will fully come in. This is an incredibly important transition for your child, as it is the first time where they can be taught to care for their own permanent teeth. Anything that damages them is something your child is going to have to deal with for life.
As a result, it is vital that you teach your child to brush twice a day using a gentle, circular motion as well as a gently 45-degree angle against the gums. Take the time to show them how to floss properly, gently tracing the tooth upwards and just touching underneath the gum to clear any unwanted particles.
To bolster your efforts, make sure you’re going to your dentist in Bloomington every six months. The hygienist and dentist can help to point out potential weak spots where your child may be developing more plaque. This can help you to nip bad habits in the bud, giving your child a much better chance of growing up with a beautiful smile and healthy mouth.
When It’s Difficult
The simple fact is that children don’t always do as they’re told, but that doesn’t mean we can give up. If your child is unwilling to take proper care of their teeth, the best thing you can do is get involved in their routine. Try to make it fun, family event. Of course, this won’t work as well as your child gets older, but those positive memories from early childhood will help to build a positive association with their dental hygiene. While they’re still young you can try:
- Playing their favorite songs as you both brush/floss
- Getting them a sticker calendar for every day you brush and floss together
- Make faces in the mirror at each other in between steps
- Allow them to pick a favorite story or a particular toy to play with after they’ve brushed and flossed
If your child is still showing signs of needing help, talk to your dentist at Valley Alder Family Dentistry. You can discuss ways of sealing out tooth decay using medical-grade coatings that are designed to protect your child’s teeth. These sealants are most commonly applied to the molars, which can be difficult for a child to reach. However, your dentist will discuss the application of a sealant based on your child’s individual needs.