The best way to protect your child's dental health is to get them to brush their teeth on a daily basis as early as possible. Tooth decay can begin as soon as teeth start appearing in your child's mouth. The Canadian Institute for Health reports that roughly 19,000 preschoolers every year require surgery to fill cavities, treat severe tooth decay, and perform tooth extractions – this equals to one out of every 100 preschoolers in Canada having advanced dental issues annually. Here is how you can protect your preschooler's teeth and help them develop healthy dental habits.
Start Brushing Ritual Early
You can start teaching your child about good dental practices before they even have teeth sprouting up in their mouths. After each feeding, moisten a soft cloth and run it over your infant's gums. You don't have to use toothpaste at this point as the plaque is easily wiped away. Once teeth start appearing, you should move to a soft bristled brush to clean your child's teeth and gums. Performing the brushing ritual on a consistent basis helps to instill the practice early in your baby's life.
Make Brushing Fun
Most children don't jump for joy at the prospect of sitting still for a couple of minutes while a toothbrush is rubbed up and down their teeth and around their gums. To combat the boredom a child feels (which can lead to them rebelling against brushing their teeth), you should try to make the teeth brushing time fun. Some toothbrush manufacturers include a line of toothbrushes that appeals to young children in their product selection. Take your child with you as you go shopping and let them pick out a toothbrush that appeals to them – this can increase the likelihood of them happily using the toothbrush.
If you have older children, you can recruit them into your plan to teach the younger children how to take care of their teeth. Small children like to emulate their older siblings and you can use this to your advantage. Having older children brush their teeth at the same time you are taking care of your preschooler's will make your younger children feel like they're a part of the family, and it teaches them that this is an activity your family does every day.
Good dental health relies on regularly removing the bacteria and plaque that cause tooth decay. The sooner your child starts practicing proper dental care – along with regular visits to a dental office like Dentistry Plus - the better off they and their teeth will be for years to come.