Oral diseases affect about 3.5 billion people around the world. In fact, about 514 million children suffer from caries of primary teeth. Teaching your child about their oral hygiene now can help them avoid cavities and gum disease later.

Otherwise, neglecting their oral health could lead to other health issues.

Here are seven tips from your pediatric dentist in Elizabethtown to help improve your child’s oral hygiene. With these habits of healthy teeth, you can help them maintain beautiful smiles. Read on to learn more!

1. Brush and Floss Daily

Make sure your child brushes twice a day to maintain their oral health. Brushing twice a day removes bacteria, plaque, and food particles that could get trapped between their teeth and gums. When left after meals, bacteria and food particles can mix to form plaque.

Plaque is the clear, tacky film that can stick onto or between your child’s teeth. Plaque can release acid, causing cavities to form.

It can also harden into tartar. You can’t clean tartar off your child’s teeth with a normal toothbrush. Instead, they’ll need to visit their Elizabethtown kids’ dentist to have it professionally cleaned away.

Stand in front of the mirror with your child to show them the proper technique for brushing their teeth. They should hold the brush at a 45-degree angle, slanting into the gum line. Show them how to use small, circular motions while brushing.

Use slow, vertical sweeps away from the gums to clean away bacteria before plaque forms. Make sure your child isn’t brushing back and forth against their teeth.

They should also avoid brushing too aggressively. Otherwise, their gums might bleed.

Brushing too hard won’t remove plaque or bacteria faster. Instead, it can cause your child’s protective tooth enamel to wear down. It could make their gums more sensitive or cause gum recession.

Make sure they’re flossing before bed, too! Flossing will clean away bacteria and food particles that get trapped between their teeth. It can catch bacteria their toothbrush missed.

2. Use the Right Tools

Talk to your Elizabethtown dentist about switching your child to fluoride toothpaste. You can also discuss fluoride treatments during their next visit to the dental clinic.

Fluoride is a natural mineral. It’s naturally retained in our teeth and bones. Fluoride could help prevent tooth decay by strengthening your child’s teeth.

Strengthening their teeth can help protect their smiles from bacteria and plaque.

Your child can also start using a mouthwash that contains antibacterial ingredients. Mouthwash could help prevent plaque formation and control gum disease. It also helps prevent tooth decay by reaching crevices that are difficult to floss or brush.

Replace your child’s toothbrush every three months. Change it more often if the brush’s bristles look frayed. A worn-out toothbrush won’t clear away plaque effectively.

In fact, the frayed bristles might even damage your child’s teeth.

Consider switching your child to an electric toothbrush this year.

3. Adjust Your Diet

Talk to your Elizabethtown dentist about the foods your child eats and how they can affect their oral health. Try to encourage your child to eat tooth-healthy foods, including dairy products.

Cheese is low in sugar and high in calcium. It’s also rich in casein, which can fortify your child’s tooth enamel. Cheese’s high phosphate content helps balance pH levels in the mouth, which can preserve tooth enamel, too!

Yogurt provides probiotics and calcium, which can combat bad breath, gum disease, and cavities.

Other tooth-healthy foods include:

  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Leafy greens
  • Apples
  • Pears

Minimize your child’s intake of carbonated soft drinks, starchy foods, and sweets to protect their teeth.

Make sure your child is drinking plenty of water as well. Water cleans away food particles and keeps our bodies hydrated!

4. Start Young

Focus on your child’s dental care while they’re young. Starting early can help them recognize the importance of their oral health. It can also minimize the risk that they’ll develop dental anxiety.

If your child does have dental anxiety, make sure to talk to your Elizabethtown dentist. They can provide helpful tips for relieving your child’s anxiety. They might recommend sedation dentistry as an option.

5. Lead by Example

Show your child how you prioritize your oral hygiene. Let them wash you brush and floss your teeth each day. They’ll begin to recognize what healthy dental habits look like before mimicking you.

Brushing together can also help you confirm your child is brushing and flossing their teeth.

6. Make It Fun

If your child views brushing their teeth as a chore, try to make it fun.

For example, you can choose fun-shaped toothbrushes that feature their favorite characters. You can also find brushes that play music while they brush. Consider playing music when you brush together.

Break out a few dance moves and turn brushing into a dance party!

7. Visit the Dentist

Only 64% of adults have scheduled a dental exam or cleaning in the past year. Meanwhile, 87% of children between the ages of 2 and 17 visited their dentist. Regular dental appointments can set your child up for success as an adult.

You can instill the importance of routine appointments while your child is young by visiting the dentist twice a year.

Visiting the dentist twice a year will allow the dentist to assess your child’s oral health. They can make recommendations to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Preventive dentistry can save you time, money, and stress in the long run.

Remember to schedule your child’s first dental appointment while they’re young. Visiting a kid’s dentist can help them feel more comfortable with appointments. In fact, they might even get excited to show off their healthy smiles!

Use These Tips From Your Pediatric Dentist in Elizabethtown

Don’t allow your child to neglect their oral health. Instead, use these tips from your pediatric dentist in Elizabethtown. With help from your dentist, you can set your child up for success as an adult!

Remember to visit the dentist twice a year, too!

Need to schedule your child’s next appointment? We can’t wait to see you both!

Contact us today to schedule their visit!