Dental Health: Tips for Kids for a Lifetime of Healthy Smiles

We are very passionate about making sure our youngest patients have healthy smiles. We strive to teach them why it’s so important to keep their teeth and gums healthy. Our team gives them helpful tips for brushing and flossing and we do our best to make it fun for them to turn these dental health lessons into lifetime habits.

Child Dental Care Tips

By getting children excited about daily dental health and hygiene, tooth decay can be prevented. Brushing and flossing may not be at the top of your child’s list of favorite things to do, but you can make it more fun.

Here are some simple ideas to make brushing fun:

  • Choose a toothbrush and toothpaste that your child will like and want to use.
  • Teach children the proper brushing technique to help encourage them to develop good oral health habits.
  • Brushing your teeth doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with these simple steps to get your kiddos off to a good start.
  • Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums.
  • Move the brush back and forth gently. Use short strokes over the fronts, backs and tops of your teeth.
  • Don’t scrub hard along the gum line; you can irritate your gums.
  • Don’t forget to brush and floss behind your top front teeth and behind the bottom front teeth. These areas are prone to tartar buildup and need attention.

Healthy Snack Choices for Healthy Teeth:

Fruit, veggies, cheese and nuts are better for teeth than cookies, candy and chips, but children sometimes need to be encouraged to make healthy choices. If you want to improve your children’s eating habits, consider these tips to make the process fun for them. (These healthy snack choices will help your kiddos’ dental health too!)

  • Make healthy food convenient. Hungry kids don’t want to wait while you chop carrots, wash an apple or cut cheese into cubes. Have a container of pre-prepared healthy snacks in the refrigerator. They’ll be ready when they get home from school and their tummies start to rumble.
  • Give your kids a list of healthy snacks, take a trip to the supermarket and let them fill a basket and pay at the checkout. At home, put the snacks in a special box and label it with their names.
  • Save sugary and starchy food for mealtimes.
  • Encourage children to drink more water, instead of sugary juice and soda to help prevent tooth decay.

Dental Visits

Getting your child into the habit of going to see the dentist will serve them well throughout their life. Here are some dental health tips to help them look forward to each visit.

  • Children should have their first visit after their first tooth appears and no later than their first birthday.
  • Prepare your child for what to expect by reading children’s books about dentist visits.
  • Don’t reward your child for going to the dentist, as this implies it’s something to be endured. Turn the visit into part of a fun excursion instead. Go to the movies, the park or another fun destination before or after your appointment.
  • Stay calm and let the dentist handle it if your child gets upset.

Related Article: What to Expect During Your Dental Appointment

Prevent Tooth Decay

Did you know that cavities are preventable? Below are some staggering statistics that can impact your dental health:

  • Cavities are more common in children and more common than any other infectious disease. They are 7 times more common than hay fever and 5 times more common than asthma; even more common than Type 2 Diabetes.
  • More than half of all children in the United States have had some tooth decay.
  • Children’s cavities often go untreated; approximately 40% of children between the ages of 2-11 have untreated cavities.
  • Cavities can affect a child’s overall health and lead to other disease, if not treated.
  • Dental disease can lead to difficulty sleeping, eating, smiling, playing and paying attention in school.
  • Academic performance as well as self-esteem can be impacted by dental health issues.
  • More than 80% of the children’s cavities are on the chewing surface of their teeth. Dental sealants help protect against this type of cavities. Ask if sealants are a good option for your child.
  • Fluoride has been proven to be the most effective way to prevent cavities. Other than fluoride toothpaste, ask your dentist to suggest additional ways to make sure your child is getting enough fluoride.

The month-long observance of Children’s National Dental Health Month brings together dedicated dental professionals, health care providers and educators to promote the benefits of dental health to children, their caregivers, teachers and others.

It’s easier said than done, but with a little patience and creativity, your kiddos can develop healthy dental habits at an early age. Don’t forget … scheduling regular dental visits helps children to get a good start for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

Schedule your appointment to meet with any of our skilled dentists at one of our three conveniently located dental office locations within the Kansas City area, including Lee’s Summit / Independence, the Country Club Plaza and Downtown Kansas City. The gentle dentists and expert team at Thomas L. Anderson and Associates look forward to working with you to treat your dental emergency, achieve proper oral health and a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. If you have any questions about your dental insurance benefits, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We are happy to review your policy! Please give us a call today to schedule an appointment and become part of our dental family.

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