Sponsored by the American Dental Hygiene Association, October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and we’re here to keep your family’s smiles bright this month!
Oral hygiene is important all year long. But as your kids head back to school or daycare, it’s a great time to check in with our pediatric dentists at Children’s Choice to make sure your children have an effective routine for their oral health.
As your children grow, you can keep their smiles healthy by helping them practice some of these essential oral health tips every day, as well as coming in to see us for regular check-ins.
What is Dental Hygiene?
Keeping your child’s mouth healthy is a daily practice. With a strong dental hygiene practice, you can prevent future dental issues and emergencies down the road, such as cavities or gingivitis.
That’s why we practice preventative care! We want your children to look and feel great every day — and that comes with learning how to care for their teeth at an early age.
Dental hygiene includes proper brushing, flossing, and keeping gums healthy. It also means protecting their teeth with a mouth guard when playing sports, eating a healthy diet, and coming into Children’s Choice at least once a year for a hygiene checkup and cleaning.
Why is Dental Hygiene Important for Kids?
Good dental hygiene helps support your child’s overall health. When your child’s teeth are straight and their jaw aligned, they’ll have an easier time chewing, which will improve their digestive system.
Healthy teeth can also improve their vision, as untreated bacteria buildup from cavities or gum infections can cause vision issues. Plus, a straight smile can boost their self-esteem in school and sports activities with peers.
Just like anything else you teach your kids, helping your kids develop an oral routine takes practice. Our pediatric dental hygienists love teaching kids about the importance of taking care of their teeth, and we’re happy to provide the best education to keep your kids healthy.
Here are some ways you can ensure your kid’s support their dental hygiene at home.
How to Practice Good Oral Hygiene at Home
It’s important to care for your child’s teeth early — even as early as 6 months old. Starting with wiping your baby’s gums after eating, your child should come in for their first visit to the pediatric dentist once their first tooth comes in.
When you come to see us at Children’s Choice, we’ll always make sure they’re comfortable and relaxed for their first dental visit.
You can help your kid’s teeth shine in between visits with regular brushing, flossing, following a tooth-healthy diet, and more.
1. Brush Twice a Day
Kids aren’t always the best at brushing their own teeth for the first few years. Holding a toothbrush and operating it properly can be a challenge for young children, and they often require assistance from you.
Children (and adults) should brush twice a day, once in the morning after breakfast and once at night before bed for at least 2 minutes each time. Regular brushing can prevent tooth decay, cavities, and eliminate plaque and bacteria from their mouth.
For kids who don’t enjoy brushing, we recommend teaching them games and apps to make brushing their teeth entertaining and fun.
2. Floss Daily
Flossing daily is a key to protecting your teeth and gums. Flossing can even protect your children from getting cavities or gum diseases.
While it can seem tedious at times, flossing is worth it for many aspects of your child’s oral health. As they grow and age, regular flossing can even decrease their risk of heart failure, as the bacteria in their mouth can migrate to other areas of their body if left untreated.
If your kids need help flossing, there are also plenty of kid-friendly flossing tools to help them get between their teeth easier. And our dental hygienists are always happy to give your kids tips during their next visit.
3. Rinse with Mouthwash
Rinsing with mouthwash is a step that can be forgotten easily, but is just as important for your child’s oral health.
After they’ve brushed and flossed, make sure your kids rinse with alcohol-free mouthwash. Mouthwash can help eliminate any remaining bacteria, which can stick around on their tongue, gums, and teeth.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that children under 6 years old should not use mouthwash, as they haven’t fully developed their swallowing reflexes and could accidentally swallow mouthwash.
For children old enough to use mouthwash, swishing around some mouthwash with fluoride can help protect their teeth against cavities. It can also clean up anything they may have left behind if they’re still working on their brushing and flossing skills.
Chew Sugar-Free Gum
We get asked this question at lot as children’s dentists, and yes, it’s OK to chew gum! We would recommend giving your child sugar-free gum, though, which is significantly better for their teeth.
Chewing gum can even help get rid of food residue, and is also pretty fun for kids to chew.
For your kid’s with braces, we’d recommend they chew gum sparingly, as the gum can stick to brackets and wires and make cleaning up a hassle.
4. Eat a Healthy Diet
The old saying your parents taught you isn’t entirely false: You are what you eat!
Choosing healthy foods that are good for your body (and teeth) can keep your kids feeling strong and protect them against common illnesses.
Processed foods and high amounts of sugar can lead to diabetes, a weakened immune system, and cavities. Fill your child’s meals with foods that have vitamin C, like apples. Vitamin C helps keep your baby’s gums free of inflammation and fights plaque when your kids chew them.
Come in and Visit Our Incredible Dental Hygienists Today
At Children’s Choice, our pediatric dentists, hygienists, and front desk staff are knowledgeable, friendly, and always ready to help you and your family!
We prioritize preventative dental hygienic care, which means we’ll protect your child’s teeth and gums in the long run from cavities and infections. This can also save you from having to deal with expensive treatments like deep cleanings and cavity fillings down the line.
At Children’s Choice, you’ll always have access to regular dental care.
Our dental professionals also love working with kids, so you can rest easy knowing that we’ll keep them smiling in our dental chair.
As frontline workers during the past year, we’re proud to serve you and your family in all your dental health needs. Schedule your dental hygiene visit with Children’s Choice today! >