We all know that kids are extremely active and that trying to teach them the essential tasks of life can be difficult, at best. The commotion and stress caused by anything new, especially any sort of inconvenience, can be incredibly trying for everybody involved. This is true when it comes to dental health and the need for fillings caused by cavities. Below are the top four ways to keep those pesky fillings at bay and keep those kids smiling with beautiful pearly whites.
1. Brushing for two minutes, two times each day
One of the easiest ways to help prevent cavities from forming is ensuring that kids know the right way to brush. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that everyone should brush their teeth for two minutes, two times each day. They say that encouraging this habit can not only keep children from severe tooth pain later, but also that having an unhealthy mouth can be a gateway to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. One of the easiest ways to encourage hitting the two-minute mark is to find a way to make it a game. Making up a silly song to hum while brushing or finding a fun timer and letting each child have a turn setting it can help them view brushing as something fun instead of a chore that needs to be done.
Second to brushing the recommended amount of time is flossing. Though it seems to take a back seat when most people talk about oral health, flossing helps prevent plaque buildup around the gum lines of teeth. Flossing helps remove food particles that get trapped between teeth in areas that a toothbrush can’t normally reach. In adding this step to the normal routine, you can help protect your child from tooth decay and gum disease – and have a little less scraping during the next cleaning.
Though both brushing and flossing are essential to help keep cavities at bay, sometimes food particles are able to hide in the nooks and crannies of molars and create decay. Sealants are thin protective coatings that are adhered to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, and according to the ADA, “sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars.”
4. Regularly scheduled cleanings
It seems simple enough, but life is busy and kids especially have a lot going on. Ensuring that they get to the dentist for their cleaning every six months will enable your dentist to catch decay and disease early and potentially have the ability to stop the adverse effects of poor dental hygiene. Most dentists recommend that a child’s first visit is no later than their first birthday. As soon as your child’s first tooth comes in, they have the potential for cavities. It’s recommended that before you bring them in for a visit to the dentist, you walk them through the steps of a typical cleaning so that they feel relaxed and prepared by the time they get in the chair.
While some of these things – brushing and flossing seem like no-brainers, sometimes it can be hard to communicate the importance of these things to small children. By creating games, or reward systems around brushing and flossing, you can help them understand the need for good dental hygiene and save yourself the stress of taking your child for fillings. Brushing twice a day for two minutes, flossing, using sealants, and keeping up with dental cleanings every six months are essential and easy ways to keep your kids healthy and smiling.
- Dental sealants.
- Take two minutes to brush.
- Importance of flossing and interdental cleaners.
- Your baby’s first dental visit.