Did you know that tooth decay and other oral health diseases are mostly preventable? Still, 42% of children in the U.S. between 2 and 11 years old have had dental caries (tooth decay) in their primary teeth (1). With February being National Children’s Dental Health Month, we have gathered dental tips to teach kids and resources from the American Dental Association to share!
1. Be an Example
Any time we want to teach good behavior to our kids, we start by setting the example. Kids are always copying what adults do, so use that to your advantage! Invite the kids to brush their teeth when you are going to brush yours, show them how you floss, and you can even tell them about your dental appointments. When they see that it is part of your daily routine, they will understand better why it is a part of theirs.
2. Brush Twice a Day
Brushing might be the single most important thing you’ll do to prevent tooth decay. And you can start cleaning your kid’s teeth as soon as the first one comes out! It’s recommended to use a soft cloth for wiping or small soft toothbrush with water until they are 2 years old. Then you can begin brushing with a tiny amount of fluoridated toothpaste (make sure they spit out the toothpaste).
3. Go to the Dentist Every 6 Months
In Utah, untreated tooth decay was found in 19% of children between 6 and 9 years old (2). A lot of times tooth decay is not visible or obvious, that’s why going to the dentist regularly is so important. Your child’s first dentist visit should happen within 6 months of their first tooth and then every six months after that.
4. Develop Good Dietary Habits
For healthy teeth, it’s best to skip the sugary drinks and treats. Soda and fruit juice contain a lot of sugar, which directly contributes to tooth decay. Instead, opt for water and healthier snacks such as raw vegetables, high-fiber fruits and cheese. Remember to be a good example on this aspect as well!
5. Don’t Share Germs
Bacteria can easily be transmitted through saliva so avoid sharing utensils and cups, and cleaning pacifiers with your mouth instead of using water. These germs can start the process that causes cavities even before babies have teeth! (3)
Here at Root for Kids, we are grateful to partner up twice a year with dentists, dental hygienists, faculty and students from the Dixie State University Dental Hygiene program to provide a free dental clinic for our clients. Click here to donate and support more initiatives like this.
(1) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
(2) Utah Department of Health
(3) American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
13 comments on “5 Dental Tips to Teach Kids”
It’s really important to teach kids the importance of oral health. Thanks for sharing.
O Wow such interesting blog about the dental tips for kids. I want to share some experience with my niece that she was suffering from dental problems. I will definitely recommend my niece ‘s mother to follow your tips.
My kids are getting older, so I wanted to make sure I’m getting them to the annual appointments they need. I didn’t know in Utah, 19% of children between the ages of 6 and 9 had tooth decay. That’s something I wouldn’t want for my kids, so I’ll look around for a kids dentist office that my kids could go to every 6 months!
I completely agree that soda and fruit juice contains a lot of sugar, and in order to avoid cavities, one should develop good habits. Unfortunately, my kids eat all kinds of sugary sweets and now they have developed cavities, even though I have tried to prevent this. I will need to find a good local service so I can take them there to get their cavities fixed.
I like your tip about seeing the dentist every 6 months. When it comes to the oral health of your child, it’s important to find a reliable dentist. My friend wants to find a new dentist, so I’ll help him find one with experience with kids.
Taking a child to the dentist seems really difficult when they are young. It is good to know that you should go every six months. It might also be smart to go to a dentist that has a way with kids.
You’re right when you said that tooth decay is preventable. I think I’ll set an example to my kids and let them visit a dentist with me so that they won’t be afraid when it’s their turn to sit on the chair. I’ll make sure to tell them to brush at least twice a day so that they’ll have healthy teeth.
Thanks for the advice to develop healthy dietary habits for your kids by giving them veggie, fruit, and cheese snacks to help protect their teeth. I’ll admit that I sometimes slack off and let my kids eat candy as a snack when I know I shouldn’t. Their baby teeth are starting to get to the point where they could fall out, so I will look into finding a dentist so their teeth can be checked out.
I found it interesting how tooth loss and poor dental hygiene is directly related to inadequate diet and nutrition. Someone recently told me that some disease can also damage your teeth or even lose them. Thanks for sharing this article and letting me know the importance of visiting a dentist.
I love how you said that kids are always copying things adults do because it’s so true. My daughter has picked up all kinds of habits just from watching my wife and I go about our daily lives. I’ll try to be a better example for her.
One of my fears for my children is that they develop cavities and lose their teeth early. It’s true that tooth decay is not always visible or obvious, so it’s important that their teeth get checked as often as possible. I think I’ll take them to a family dentist so they can get regular checkups on their oral health.
My children are now at an age where they’re going to brush their teeth on their own. You’re right about saying that they’ll start getting good oral hygiene habits if I start an example for them. I think I’ll take them to a dentist so that they’ll learn how to brush their teeth and have their teeth checked for cavities as well.
I totally agree when you said that if we want our kids to have good behavior, we should teach them by setting the example. My wife told me that now that our son grew up, she wants to take him to the dentist so that he can get a general oral checkup. I will help her look for a reliable dentist near us so that we can be taking our son to the dentist.