Parents who want their children to develop good dental health know that they need to set the right example. The “Do as I say, not as I do,” approach does not instill confidence in children. The team at OKC Smiles has some thoughts to share on the subject.
If we want our child to exercise, we should get off the couch ourselves. If we want our child to decide on an apple when he wants an afternoon snack, we better not be snacking on chips and cookies. If we routinely stay up until 1:00 a.m, our adolescent will probably not learn the importance of recharging their physical and mental batteries with restorative sleep.
What about healthy oral habits? Do our children see us brush carefully after meals? Do our children find water bottles in our car cup holders or empty sports drink cans? Do we schedule twice-yearly dental visits for ourselves and our kids? Do we wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports? Do we floss every night?
Did you know that tooth decay is the second most common childhood health problem in the United States, after the common cold? That doesn’t make them inevitable. If you have a newborn or toddler, you have a terrific opportunity to establish daily habits for lifelong dental health.
In fact, there are important things to do even before your baby’s first teeth erupt. Remember not to put your baby to bed with a bottle. Wipe milk or formula off their gums with a soft, damp cloth after feeding. Don’t let your infant drink juice all day. If you want your baby or toddler to drink between meals, water is just fine.
When should you bring in your toddler for their first dental check-up? The American Dental Association recommends that a child sees a dentist before their first tooth appears or no later than their first birthday.
If your children are older and have had a lot of cavities, don’t give up. It is never too late to improve daily habits to keep teeth healthy. Even if your upbringing didn’t include an emphasis on oral hygiene, you can set your own traditions starting today.
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