People who are health-conscious realize that they must follow a good diet and exercise routine on a regular basis. However, many people still do not realize how important oral health truly is. It is important to be aware of having a healthy mouth in order to have a healthy body. The same goes for oral hygiene, as it can help us live a longer life. Some might say that the earlier good heath habits are learned, the longer your life may be.
Whether your toddler has a mouth filled with teeth or only a few poking through, it’s time to start thinking about oral hygiene and their smiles. Taking your child to the dentist at a young age is the best way to prevent problems such as tooth decay, and can help parents learn how to clean their child’s teeth and identify his or her fluoride needs.
Most experts recommend that you take your child to their first dentist appointment within about six months of their first tooth’s arrival, or by the time they turn two. Bringing your child to the dentist early often leads to a lifetime of good oral care habits. The earlier you start, the better your child’s relationship with the dentist will be, and the less chance you have of melt downs when a frightened preschooler is in the dental chair for the first time.
As part of the natural learning process, little ones are expert observers and love to mimic. As the parent, you can take advantage of this from an early age to instill healthy oral habits. The sayings, “The earlier the better,” and “Set a good example,” are sure to apply here. After all, tooth decay can occur as soon as teeth appear. Therefore, brush and floss daily while your child is watching, and he’ll intuit at an early age the importance of your good habits. As soon as they show interest, give your child a toothbrush of their own and encourage them to brush with you.
Most children don’t have the dexterity necessary to thoroughly clean and floss their own teeth until they are a bit older, so you’ll have to help him brush and floss in the morning and at night before bed. Try different tactics to make brushing and flossing fun: flavored toothpaste, a toothbrush/flosser with a favorite character on it, or singing songs about brushing. Incentives, such as rewards and reinforcements for having good oral hygiene is also a good way to make sure your child is on the right track. Remember, every child is different, but the primary goal is to instill healthy oral habits at an early age to set them up for a lifetime of healthy, cavity-free teeth.