With so many day-to-day responsibilities as a parent, it can be easy to forget just how crucial good oral hygiene and healthy teeth are for your kids.
However, healthy teeth and gums play a significant role in overall health.
When your kids are young, it’s the perfect time to install good dental hygiene habits.
In this article, I’ll show you why healthy teeth are so important and how you can keep your kids’ teeth healthy.
Why are Healthy Teeth so Important for Kids?
Your kids’ oral health will affect their whole body.
Oral health has been linked to multi-organ systemic implications.
For example, the state of your dental hygiene can:
- Affect insulin resistance
- Has implications on cardiovascular health
- Prevent pathologies
Even if your children still have their baby teeth, you need to help them take care of them and build good habits that ensure your kids’ dental health is in.
How to Keep Your Kids Teeth Healthy
There are actionable steps you can take to ensure your kids’ teeth stay healthy.
Let’s take a look.
1. Brush Twice a Day
Firstly, your children need to brush their teeth, at least twice per day (after breakfast and before bed).
You should start brushing your kids’ teeth as soon as their teeth start to appear, and that’s also the time you should start considering their first visit to the dentist.
Ideally, your children should be brushing their teeth for at least two minutes. To encourage them to do this, set a timer to help motivate them.
2. Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Choosing the right toothpaste is another key factor in determining how healthy your kids’ teeth are.
Fluoride toothpaste is approximately 25% more effective in preventing tooth decay than non-fluoride toothpaste.
However, there is evidence that suggests you should not use fluoride toothpaste until your kids are two years old, as it could lead to a condition called dental fluorosis.
As well as this, if your local water supply has high levels of fluoride, you may want to check with your dentist about whether fluoride toothpaste is the best option as that could also lead to them having too much fluoride.
3. Choose the Right Toothbrush
No matter how well we brush our teeth manually, we simply can’t clean teeth manually as effectively as an electric toothbrush can.
Other controlled tests have found that oscillating heads on toothbrushes can reduce plaque by up to 29.6%.
Many also have timers built in to them, so an electric toothbrush can encourage your kids to brush for the right length of time.
When it comes to choosing a toothbrush, we’d always recommend talking with your dentist first. They’ll be able to provide brand recommendations best suited to your children’s dental needs.
4. Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks
Naturally, the food your children eat is going to come into contact with their teeth.
If it’s sugary, that’s going to put them at risk of dental problems.
One of the main risk factors for early childhood caries is regular sugar consumption, so where possible, avoid sugary foods and drinks.
Help your children eat healthy foods without extra added sugar, and this won’t be a major problem.
It can be hard to avoid sugar, and no one can completely eliminate it. But, building good habits like drinking water instead of sugary drinks can help reduce the likelihood of caries and help your children’s teeth stay health in the long run.
5. Regular Dentist Visits
It’s nearly impossible to accurately judge dental health at home unless there are obvious problems, and you don’t want to wait until your child’s mouth is in pain before knowing there’s an issue.
In order to ensure their dental hygiene is good, you should make sure you regularly take your kids to the dentist.
The American Dental Association recommends taking your children to see a dentist by their first birthday, and after that, a routine check-up every six months.
How Can I Strengthen My Child’s Teeth?
There’s no silver bullet to strengthening your child’s teeth. But, there are some ways you can ensure their bodies have the building blocks in place to allow for, and support good dental health.
1. Ensure They Eat Calcium-Rich Foods
Foods rich in calcium like milk and cheese have a reputation for being beneficial to dental health, and that’s for good reason.
2. Have a Source of Vitamin D
Although it’s not often associated with teeth, Vitamin D plays an essential role in oral health.
It has direct effects on tooth mineralization, and helps with anti-inflammatory functions and the production of anti-microbial peptides, which help keep our teeth healthy.
Your kids can get Vitamin D from sunlight, or through a supplement.
3. Limit Acidic Foods and Drinks
One of the best ways to strengthen your child’s teeth is to avoid things that harm them.
Acidic foods and drinks like citrus fruit juice put your children’s teeth at risk.
Regular fruit juice consumption, in particular, has been linked to erosion, decay, and dentinal hypersensitivity, so it’s worth regulating how much your children drink.
Healthy teeth and gums have a significant effect on overall health.
It can be challenging to encourage your children to avoid sugary drinks and brush their teeth, but they’re both habits that will pay dividends in the long run when it comes to their dental health.
There are other ways you can keep your children’s teeth healthy, such as ensuring they get enough essential vitamins and minerals, and regular trips to the dentist.
As always, your child’s dentist will be able to provide accurate, and up-to-date advice, tailored to their exact needs.