Make Sure They Get Fluoride
In the United States, 75 percent of public community water contains fluoride. Letting your kid drink from the tap will get them a source of this mineral that prohibits tooth bacteria from making acid that weakens teeth. Many types of toothpaste also contain fluoride. There are some toothpaste brands available without fluoride and some parents are drawn to these because of a purported fluoride danger. It is true that too much fluoride can be problematic. Just like too much iron can be problematic. Fluoride is just a mineral, and it’s completely natural for our bodies’ to have exposure to it. Speak with your pediatrician and dentist before switching to a fluoride free brand if you are truly concerned about over-exposure to it. With that said, kids should not be using fluoride toothpaste unless they can spit it out while brushing, and even then, you don’t want to use more than a pea-sized amount. Kids dental appointments will usually also involve a fluoride treatment to the teeth after the cleaning.
Teach them How to Brush
By age two, many kids can brush by themselves with just a quick touch-up from mom or dad. Most kids this age can also get the concept of spitting out the toothpaste, so it’s time to introduce the fluoridated toothpastes. Before they can do these things, it’s important for mom or dad to brush the teeth at least twice a day without toothpaste or with a non-fluoride containing “training toothpaste”. With babies, the “brushing” can be done by polishing the teeth with a wet washcloth. It will serve the same purpose and the baby might be more receptive to this form of cleaning.
Talk to Them about Dental Health
Teaching your kids dental health importance is the first step in creating healthy habits for life. Telling them why it’s important to care for their teeth, why their teeth are so important and giving lots of positive encouragement when they do well will cement these habits for life. Setting a great example by taking care of your own teeth is another way to prepare your child for a lifetime of good oral health. Also, kids of parents with lots of cavities tend to get more cavities – so taking care of your own teeth positively affects your kids too.
Take Them to the Dentist
Making your kids’ dental appointments is the most important thing you can do for their oral health. Getting regular cleanings is extremely important beginning at 6 months of age or at the eruption of the first tooth.