Many parents don’t realize the link between dental health and total body health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood illness in America. In fact, 25 percent of children ages two to five and 50 percent of kids 12 to 15 are impacted by tooth decay.
Helping your kids develop good oral health habits can ensure that they enjoy strong, healthy smiles. Consider these tips:
Beginning when your child is just an infant, you can take proper care of their smiles. Wipe your baby’s gums with a moist cloth before bed. By age two, you can introduce a toothbrush with just water. Children three and older should brush with fluoride toothpaste.
Encourage a balanced diet
Make sure your kids eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Limiting snacks between meals will also help protect teeth.
Take extra steps
Talk with your child’s dentist about dental sealants. These thin plastic coatings cover the pits and grooves in back teeth, which keeps food from getting trapped and creating a fertile ground for decay-causing bacteria. Your dentist may also suggest fluoride applications for added benefit.
Be a role model
If your children see that you spend time brushing and flossing your teeth, they will be more likely to follow suit. Explain that you only get one smile, so it’s important to take care of it.