START THEM YOUNG FOR A SMILE THAT LASTS A LIFETIME!
When a photographer snaps your picture, she might say, "Say, 'Cheese!" But what she really means is "show me your teeth." Your teeth are the star attraction in your smile, and you've got to take good care of your teeth every day so you can have a smile that's worth showing off your whole life.
Healthy teeth and gums are essential to a happy smile, but they're also important if kids are going to chew the foods that help you grow.
BABIES WHO ARE TEETHING WILL OFTEN HAVE AN INSATIABLE URGE TO CHEW ON ANYTHING THAT SOOTHES THEIR IRRITATED GUMS. YOU CAN GIVE YOUR BABY TEETHING RINGS MADE TO INDULGE THIS URGE. WE RECOMMEND REFRIGERATING THE RINGS TO MAKE THEM QUITE COLD AND BETTER SOOTHE SORE GUMS.
BRUSH AFTER YOU EAT
Get your kids in the habit of brushing after every meal. If brushing's not possible, teach them to, at a minimum, rinse their mouths out or to chew sugarless gum, which will generate saliva that can help eliminate bacteria.
Keep in mind too many sugary foods and fizzy drinks, like pop, are major causes of tooth decay. The longer these foods stay on your kids' teeth, the more damage they'll cause. Brush them away as soon as possible after eating.
Make brushing -- and flossing -- just before bedtime part of your kids' night-time ritual before you tuck them in. Don't waste the effort of brushing before bed by letting your kids then snack on candy bars or hard candies. That will just result in micro-organisms working on doing harm in their mouth all night long.
Use a pea-sized amount of paste on the toothbrush. If your child swallows the paste, an amount this small shouldn't cause him or her any harm.
BEWARE WHAT YOU EAT
And food's a good place to start when it comes to teaching kids good dental health. Don't let a sweet tooth put all your teeth in jeopardy!
Sweets -- snacks, candy, soda -- are all culprits that can cause tooth decay.
Encourage your kids to snack on healthier foods that are good for -- or at least not as bad for -- their teeth, snacks like nuts, popcorn, cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt and sugarless gum or candy.
If possible, limit sweets, such as sugary desserts and "sticky" foods, to meal times. The other foods eaten at that time can help limit the damaging effects.
Also be aware that some sugarless foods contain other ingredients that can be every bit as bad for our teeth as sugar, including some harmful acidic elements.
SET A GOOD EXAMPLE
Your kids might whine about brushing and flossing now, but they'll thank you later. Like when they get a clean bill of health from the dentist or when they are still flashing a healthy, happy smile well into their senior years -- many decades from now.
Practice what you preach. Brush with your kids. Floss. Don't eat sugary foods. Visit your dentist regularly.
GETTING REGULAR CHECK-UPS
Teach your kids that they'll only have one "adult set" of teeth, and they need it to last a lifetime. Part of maintaining good oral health is seeing the dentist regularly. For kids, that means about every six mouths.
Hopefully, if you've helped your child develop good brushing and flossing habits, you'll be getting "clean bills of health" from the dentist. Our dentists prefer preventing problems to treating them, but really how much treatment your kids will need from the dentist depends, in large part, on you and your ability to set your kids on a path to a lifetime of good oral hygiene. A few minutes spent each day brushing and flossing can save considerable time spent in the dentist's chair later.
Of course, some problems can arise no matter how good you or your kids' oral hygiene might be. Like any medical condition, though, "catching it early" can save considerable time treating any dental ailment.
And realize that dental diseases are closely linked to several serious general health conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, hypertension, diabetes and many more. Your oral health has an important role to play in your overall state of health.