I am proud to say that I have all my own teeth at the age of 65. While that may not sound unusual to some people, everyone in my family who is my age or older wears dentures. I always tell people that that flossing is the key to good dental health. I have arthritis in my hands, but I don't let it keep me from flossing every day. My trick is to use those little "flossers" you can buy at the drug store. They have plastic handles floss stretched out on top of the handle. These make flossing easier on days when my arthritis is acting up. I started this blog to let other people know that they can keep their teeth healthy into old age when they take care of them. If you have hand pain, find ways to make flossing easier, like I did.
Once your child starts regularly seeing the dentist by the age of one, you'll need to promote healthy oral care habits at home to ensure that each dental checkup reflects healthy teeth and gums. Proper dental care involves more than brushing twice a day, even as a young child. Here are a few ways you can help your little one ace their oral exam each time they visit the dentist:
Choose the Right Snacks
Not all foods are created equal when it comes to oral health. Sugary foods and snacks like chips, cookies, and even crackers contribute to tarter and plaque buildup, which can lead to cavities and the need for professional dental intervention. Luckily, your little one doesn't have to starve just to keep their teeth healthy – there are a variety of foods you can choose for snack time that promote healthy teeth and provide plenty of energy to get through the day. Consider these options:
Most crunchy vegetables work well to keep teeth clean between brushing sessions. Try serving carrots or celery with a little hummus, or using cabbage in place of chips to create fun variations on traditional snacks.
Focus on the Importance of Water
Water is extremely important for healthy oral hygiene because it doesn't contain any ingredients that promote tooth decay. In fact it's the perfect solution for naturally rinsing away bacteria and food particles throughout the day thanks to its fluoride content. By making water a mainstay in your child's day, you're minimizing the opportunities for them to drink juice, soda, and other beverages that tend to have a negative effect on teeth, health, and concentration.
Choose water for meals and snacks for the best results, allowing for a small cup of juice or other sweet drink just a couple times a week. Not only will this help protect your little one's teeth, but it will help to instill healthy hydration habits that can be maintained through adulthood.
Make Brushing a Fun Task
By taking the time to make brushing fun, you'll enjoy a bonding experience with your little one and encourage daily brushing routines that don't involve a lot of complaining or tantrums. Turn brushing time into a short dance party by putting on your child's favorite tunes and taking turns dancing while you brush your teeth together. You can also play 20 questions by having one person ask the questions while the other answers yes or no by shaking their head while they brush their teeth. When the questions are asked, it's time to switch roles!
Create a Reward System
To help keep your child on track with a daily brushing regimen, create a reward system where they get a star for each day that they remember to brush their teeth. Once a specific number of stars are earned (consider 7 stars for a full week of brushing) you can present your little one with a small reward that supports proper oral care. A new character book about visiting the dentist, a colorful toothbrush that glows in the dark, and dessert flavored toothpaste are all great options.
With the help of these tips and tricks, you should find that your child develops an interest in taking care of their teeth that will grow with them as they age into adulthood. Check out sites like http://www.claremontdentalinstitute.com for more info.