Don't Make This Stupidly Silly Mistake With Your Kid's Teeth
We all make mistakes, but your kid's teeth need your attention. A shocking 42 percent of kids between the ages of 2 to 11 have experienced cavities in their baby teeth. If that's not bad enough, 21 percent of kids have gotten them in their permanent teeth. This is according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. So, let's talk about the biggest mistake you're NOT going to make with your kids teeth.
It's silly, but the biggest mistake is actually several small mistakes that add up to one big one. Are you ready for it? The biggest mistake that parents make with their kid's teeth is that they trust their kid too much. That's right, they trust their kid to brush, eat healthy, and don't give their kids the proper tools and instruction to develop good, lifelong habits. Now that you know, let's talk about how to correct this little problem.
Trusting Your Kid to Brush
Most kids haven't developed their coordination until at least 8 years of age. This means that even if your child means well, she may not be brushing properly. Your child could spend 20 minutes brushing their teeth and still fail to get the surface of their teeth clean. How is this possible? Kids need to be shown how to brush. In most cases, you may need to brush their teeth for them, or take their hand and help them get the motion just right. Your dentist can show you and your kid how to properly brush teeth, but that doesn't mean they will be able to do it on their own.
Look, your kid probably wants to do a good job. You know they are putting in the effort, but when a child is too young, they are not yet physically capable. It only takes five minutes a night to help your child brush their teeth. By taking the time now, you can help them develop healthy habits and set them up for success. Good habits start early. Avoid costly trips to the dentist and unneeded pain by helping your child care for their teeth.
Healthy Foods Can Cause Cavities
You want your child to eat healthy foods, but here is a little secret. Healthy foods can cause cavities if you don't take care to brush after eating. Bananas, raisins, apples and whole-grain snacks may seem like healthy options for your child, and they absolutely are healthy, nutritious foods. But they also contain sugars that can get stuck between your child's teeth. Most children have gaps in their teeth as they are growing, and this can cause food to get stuck, and deteriorate creating a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
The obvious solution is to brush after eating snacks. But there is another way to get around this as well. Serve sugary foods with meals. When you eat a meal, there is generally more saliva. Since saliva can help with digestion and prevent foods from sticking, this can keep their teeth healthier. After the meal, make sure they brush their teeth to keep their mouth healthy and clean.
Too Much Toothpaste
There are some controversial points about using fluoride, and some parents are afraid to use toothpaste with fluoride. The American Dental Association recommends that children 6 months up to 3 years of age use a small smear of fluoride toothpaste, or about the size of a grain of rice. No child under age 3 can do that on their own. Parents, this one is all yours. For kids age 3 to 6, a pea-sized amount is recommended. Parents, this one is your as well. For children with special needs, parents should dish out the paste or at least supervise. (SE a pattern forming here?) Toothpaste with fluoride has been proven to reduce and prevent cavities, but too much of anything and it can be harmful to your health.
Follow these basic tips for protecting your kid's teeth, and you can avoid a lot of drama, pain and disease later in life. Healthy habits started in childhood will stay with your kid the rest of their life. Encourage health-eating habits, restrict sugary foods and help your child to ensure that every brushing session is completed correctly. When your kid grows up and has a full head of healthy, vibrant teeth, they will thank you.