As the guardian of your child, you have many hopes and dreams for their life. You want them to be successful and happy in whatever they do. Although you probably don’t think as much about their future smile, lifelong oral care is an important part of their future that’s worthy of consideration.
Why is lifelong dental care so fundamental? Cosmetically, you want your child to have a bright, vibrant smile when they reach adulthood because a healthy smile can open many doors in their life. Although this is certainly important, good oral care also has a direct connection with a person’s overall health and wellness. A healthy mouth is a fundamental part of a person’s overall wellbeing. Truly, lifelong dental care can’t be overstated.
At Children’s Dentistry of greater Las Vegas, we would like to partner with you to help your child develop lifelong oral care habits. Our team receives many questions from parents concerned about their child’s smile, so here’s some of the tips we often share.
Build Lifelong Dental Care Through Good Brushing Habits
A healthy smile begins with the basics: proper tooth brushing. As a parent, you can start by brushing your child’s first baby teeth when they erupt from the gums.Simply use a soft, damp cloth to gently clean the teeth. As your child gets older, you’ll want to teach them how to brush their own full set of teeth. Good brushing habits include:
- Brushing twice a day: Ideally, your child should brush their teeth after their breakfast in the morning. Before they go to bed, make sure that they brush their teeth again. Brushing once a day (or even worse, not at all!) will make it easy for plaque, tartar, and cavities to develop.
- Brushing for two minutes: When children first start brushing their teeth, they’ll usually brush for a few seconds and triumphantly exclaim, “done!” It’s important to teach them to brush for two minutes per session. Using a timer on a phone or tablet is a great way to help your child keep track of the time.
- Brushing with the proper toothbrush: Your child is mostly concerned about what cartoon character is on the handle, but as a parent you should be more concerned with the state of the brush’s bristles. Worn bristles will not clean teeth and gums as effectively as a fresh brush will. The American Dental Association recommends changing brushes every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles have worn down significantly.
Build Lifelong Dental Care Through Regular Flossing
Although most children (and adults!) don’t want to floss, it’s a vital part of lifelong oral care. Flossing once a day helps remove food particles and bacteria that brushing alone can’t touch. Make sure you floss between each of your upper and lower teeth.
Many children don’t like flossing or find it inconvenient. Some parents find that using floss picks, which are small pieces of plastic pre-strung with floss, is a simple and effective way to encourage their children to floss. Don’t forget that most habits are better caught than taught; if your child sees you floss daily, it’s more likely that they will as well.
Build Lifelong Dental Care Through Healthy Eating
As your child’s smile begins to form during adolescence, it’s an important time to encourage them about healthy eating. Building good nutritional habits is not only good for the digestive system, it’s also wise oral care as well.
Sugary drinks like sodas should be avoided by children, particularly when they’re at school and they’re not able to brush their teeth right away. Although fruit juices are more healthy than soda, they are still loaded with cavity-inducing sugar. Consider watering down fruit juices, especially for toddlers and nursery age children. Also, teaching children that sugary snacks and candies are treats, and not a regular part of their diet, is helpful for the whole body, not just the mouth.
Build Lifelong Dental Care Through Regular Dental Visits
As wonderful as it is to teach your child how to take care of their own teeth, there’s no substitute for regular dental checkups. Once your baby’s first tooth pops through the gums, you should make an appointment for an infant dental visit within the next six months. From that time on, your child should get a regular cleaning every six months.
Why should your child see a pediatric dentist? Because the dentist has the tools and expertise to clean and inspect your child’s teeth in a way you simply cannot at home. For instance, tartar buildup cannot be cleaned with a toothbrush, making a semi-annual visit to the dentist an important part of lifelong oral care. Your child’s dentist can also give x-rays, recommend braces, and fill cavities (just to name a few!). Teach your child that the dentist is their friend, and their smile will thank them for a lifetime!
Build Lifelong Dental Care At Children’s Dentistry
If you live in the Las Vegas area, you should visit one of Children’s Dentistry’s ten convenient locations, including:
- North Las Vegas
- Las Vegas
- East Las Vegas
- Whitney Ranch
- Civic Center
- Boulder City
Our offices are open at family-friendly hours, including Saturday, so there’s always an appointment available that will fit your busy schedule. Each location is kid-friendly, and has been designed to make your child feel comfortable from the moment they enter the office until they’re done with their visit. Our offices also offer special needs dentistry to help families dealing with autism, Down Syndrome, or other developmental delays.
We accept Medicaid, as well as most other types of dental insurance. Dr. Delisle, Dr. Salar, Dr. Davis, and the rest of the staff are eager to help your child achieve the best smile possible. Call us at (702) 832-0508 or contact us online to schedule your child’s appointment.