A Healthy Mouth = A Healthy (and Happy) Person!
A beautiful smile is important. But did you know that your mouth health is the window to your overall body health? Dental hygiene is very important at a very early age and here are some tips to help them learn how to maintain their mouth on their own, based on their stage of life:
Children aged 12 months to 5 years old:
- As soon as your child has a tooth, it is time to start establishing the routine of brushing twice a day. As your child reaches 4 years old, you can begin to let him do the teeth-brushing but you will still need to be involved.
Now is the time to nip that bad pacifier or thumb habit. Prolonged use of pacifiers or thumbs might result in the need for orthodontic work at a later date. It is a difficult negotiation but here are some ideas to give your child closure:
Collect all of the pacifiers and have a “funeral” for them. After the service, either bury them in the back yard, or pass them to your garbage man.
If your child achieves a night without sucking his thumb, reward him for good behavior. Keep a chart and if he achieves two weeks, he has probably kicked the habit and deserves a big reward.
Control the sugar (and fructose, glucose and corn syrup) in your child’s diet. Even the natural sugars in juices can begin to decay teeth.
Children should be drinking multiple glasses of milk per day to build healthy bones – your teeth are bones!
Children aged 6 years old to 12 years old:
- Children should be not only brushing their own teeth, but it should be something they remember to do on their own, twice a day.
- Introduce flossing
- Control sugary drinks and overall sugar intake. Educate them on good food choices vs. bad.
- If you have been teaching good food, brushing and flossing habits, when your child turns teenager, he should know how to manage his own dental health without your help. However, teenagers are notorious for developing bad habits, such as drinking pop daily, so it is important for moms to continue to remind teens of proper dental habits.