Healthy teeth are a cornerstone of overall well-being. Just because your child has baby teeth that will eventually be replaced is no reason to neglect dental health. Take control of your child’s diet and oral hygiene practices from the beginning to instill behaviors that promote a healthy mouth into adulthood. If you wish to learn more about this, visit how to start your child on proper dental habits.

Why should you start early?

There are a number of reasons to get a jumpstart on children’s dental health as soon as the first tooth appears.

1. It gets them used to having cleaning tools, like floss and a toothbrush, in their mouths.

2. It gives you the opportunity to shape their attitude toward dental hygiene at a young age.

3. As they age and are more exposed to sugary treats, their hygiene habits will help protect their teeth from damage.

While some parents opt to wait until age three or four for a dentist visit, scheduling an exam at one year old is a good idea as well. That gives the dentist a head start to prevent or correct any problems.

Oral hygiene tips
Tooth brushing is the most important dental habit to teach to a young child. Make it part of a set routine. For example, have your child brush before a bedtime story in the evening. Not only does it help create a schedule to follow, it also adds incentive to brush in order to hear a story. However, children are going to miss spots until they learn how to brush properly, generally around age nine. Dentists recommend that parents do a quick clean up after the child brushes to catch any missed plaque and debris. Flossing is a little more difficult for children, so you’ll have to do it at first. Usually once a child has enough dexterity to learn cursive, she can also learn to floss on her own.

Diet tips
Kids eventually discover sugar, even if you make an effort to focus on healthy eating. There are steps you can take to cut down on sugar intake and the damage it causes to teeth. First, don’t give your child a cup of juice to sip from all day. Limit juice to mealtimes so the teeth aren’t continuously being bathed in sugar. Encourage water drinking as much as possible. Limit snacking to three times each day as well. Continuous eating isn’t good for the teeth, as they need a break between meals to heal. Try to avoid snacks that are sticky or chewy, especially sugary candy. It can get lodged between teeth or in crevices and sit there for hours, causing decay.