Dental care is important from a very early age. It starts when a baby shows their very first tooth. And as a child grows up, parents naturally want to instill good dental habits in their kid.
If you currently reside in Clovis, California, you probably have access to several recreational opportunities, family-friendly events, etc. With the suburban feel of this region, many families likely get together more, leading to the children making more friends and enjoying activities together.
While the community here is safe and welcoming for children, this developed region has its share of unhealthy food options. Several fast food chains are around, with easily available high-sugar beverages and confectionery. There are also many dessert shops and bakeries offering cakes, cookies, and other choices. Needless to say, it’s not the best environment to instill healthy habits in your kid.
As a concerned parent, you might manage your baby’s dental health on your own. However, when the children reach the age group of 3-5 years, they learn more responsibility and independence. Now is the time to get them into the habit of regularly flossing, brushing, and eating healthy to maintain great teeth. Here are just a few perks of having healthy, strong teeth at this age:
- Keeping the jaw straight
- Helping future permanent teeth come in properly
- A great smile
- Proper chewing
- Proper speech
- Confidence among their peers
Fortunately, Clovis has a decent range of dental care institutes and private dental practices. While you can easily find an expert orthodontist in Clovis, CA, it’s important to know the basics. Wondering how you can best take care of your child’s teeth and gums at this age? Take a look at these tips below:
1. Use the Correct Brushing Method
At this point, brushing your kid’s teeth will be somewhat the same as the baby stage. Let’s make things easier by looking at the different steps:
- Using a gentle hand, brush the teeth for two minutes (or as close as you can get to that time)
- Use a soft-bristled, child-sized brush
- Put a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the brush
- The adult should do the majority of the brushing, though the toddler can also help
- Use toothpaste with fluoride, which can help to protect the tooth enamel
- Go for a mint-flavored toothpaste, as this will make it easier to move to adult toothpaste later
- When using a manual toothbrush, make gentle circular motions
- With an electric toothbrush, don’t use any brushing motions; just put the head on each tooth in turn
2. Know What Not to Do
While establishing good dental habits for your children, it’s also important to prevent certain actions. Some include the following:
- The child shouldn’t swallow the toothpaste
- They should spit out or wipe the excess, but not rinse; otherwise, they won’t get fluoride protection.
- Mouthwash is not recommended for this age group, as there’s a chance that children might swallow some of it.
- The child should stop their sucking habits at this age.
3. Make Brushing Easier and More Fun
Brushing may not be easy for young kids in the beginning. From the ages of 3 to 5, they’re just starting to assert their independence.
Have a reactant or difficult brusher? Try the following tips:
- Cheer the kid on or sing a song while brushing (look up some fun related songs they might enjoy)
- If they’re very stubborn, try brushing with distractions or take them to another room
- At some point during the day, read a book with teeth-brushing-related content with your child
- Brush your teeth together so the child sees it as a fun, bonding family activity
- Get the child excited by allowing them to select their brush in the supermarket. If the selection is too overwhelming, select a model with their favorite cartoon characters or in their favorite color.
- Try apps that make brushing fun for kids, such as a timer app or one with cute animations.
It may seem hard at times, but skipping the brushing will lead to more difficulties later on.
4. Focus on the Right Drinks
Most people may not realize how harmful certain drinks can be to their children’s teeth. In the preschool stage, your toddler might be saying they’re always thirsty. That’s not surprising, as they can be very active at that age.
However, water is the best option for a toddler’s dental health. Regular plain milk can also be a healthy choice.
What not to give?
The important point is not to give preschoolers overly sweet beverages. They don’t require it; plus, these drinks can increase the likelihood of tooth decay.
Even if the fruit juice packet says ‘no sugar added,’ it will still have natural sugar. Yes, that also leads to tooth decay. Diet soft drinks are probably the worst option, as they have acids that may directly damage the child’s teeth.
Instead of juices, try giving your child fresh whole fruits and vegetables. With the refreshing experience, your child will get more fiber and a filling snack with these options.
5. Limit High-Sugar Foods
There are also many foods with high sugar content. These’re all too easily available in the market, so limiting their consumption from a very early age is best.
The added sugar in some foods can result in tooth decay. Don’t use these snacks, candies, chocolates, and other sweets as rewards while bringing up the kids.
Instead, choose healthy meals plus snacks for your growing child. Plan various foods in your meals, including fish, eggs, veggies, cereals, grains, lean meat, etc. Milk, cheese, and yogurt are great for providing calcium to the body, which is healthy for our teeth.
When planning the best dental care for your child, remember that everything will not be perfect. They will be learning something new in the initial sessions, so take it easy. Even when you think a child knows how to brush properly, they might refuse to do it. As you try to create an oral health routine for them, things might change from day to day.