One of the most important roles as a parent is to make sure our children are healthy. Healthy foods, exercise, rest, well check-ups, and a learning environment are essential for our kids to grow up at the peak of good health. There is one area that may be overlooked or not get the adequate attention it deserves in the overall health aspect of our children’s lives, or ours for that matter: our oral health. What does that even mean? Does that refer to our teeth? Yes, it does, and oral health plays a vital role in the overall health and well-being of the human body in general. We know our teeth are important, and we know that we need to teach our kids to brush their teeth and take good care of them, but good oral health doesn’t begin when children have a few teeth or a mouthful of teeth. Good oral health starts when life begins when babies have their first milk meals before their gums even begin to bud with tiny teeth. To have a healthy body in all areas includes a healthy mouth, and we know the good habits we teach kids from the beginning stick with them the rest of their lives.
Mouth Enemy #1
It’s no secret that our teeth are important. We’ve always been told how important it is to brush our teeth twice a day, stay away from eating lots of sugary, sticky foods, that lack of brushing and uptake of sugar equals cavities in our teeth, which leads to unpleasant dentist visits. A harsh reality, but full of truth. What guides our teeth down the path of destruction? Let’s unpack some facts:
- Tooth decay – The number one enemy of our teeth, tooth decay is the breaking down the enamel on our teeth. Enamel is the hard outer layer of our teeth, the protective shield that keeps bacteria and unwanted substances from hurting our teeth. The foods that kids love and frequent, like milk, bread, candy, sugary cereals, fruit juice, sodas, cookies, and cake, mix with bacteria in the mouth, saliva, and acid to form plaque, which sticks to our teeth. The acids formed by the bacteria can create holes in our enamel which causes cavities.
- Everyone has bacteria in their mouth, but some other risk factors for tooth decay can include: high sugar and starch diet, water without fluoride, high levels of mouth bacteria, low saliva supply, inconsistent and ineffective oral hygiene practice.
Healthy Kid Teeth Tips
No one wants cavities, especially kids. Cavities and dental issues can cause numerous problems for kids such as pain, trouble eating, trouble sleeping, affecting concentration at school, and self-esteem issues. They can become the catalyst for many other health issues. Being proactive and preventing these oral health issues before they even begin is the best way to ensure your child is body and mouth healthy. A great resource for parents is the Brilliant Guide To Children’s Oral Care from Brilliant Oral Care. The guide describes great ways and methods for you as you learn to help, teach and administer oral care to your kids. Some ways that you can help instill good oral care practices and responsibilities are:
- Make oral care a daily habit, even when they are babies. Young infants may not have teeth yet, but their mouth still contains bacteria and benefit from cleaning after feeling. There are infant mouth wipes you can buy containing xylitol, a natural bacteria fighter that can make cleaning your baby’s mouth easy and effective. Tooth Tissues Mouth Wipes by Brilliant Oral Care are excellent teeth wipes for babies. You can also use a lukewarm washcloth to wipe the baby’s mouth after feeding.
- Model good oral care habits and show your kids that you put into practice what you tell them to do. Brush and floss your teeth with them. Show them the proper techniques on your teeth, and they will learn and follow your example.
- Keep your twice-a-year dental appointments. As your children grow and develop, so do their teeth and mouth. It’s always essential to have a dentist check out their teeth and growth process, making sure there are no issues or problems that could arise.
- Make sure your kids have healthy foods to eat and limit sugary foods and beverages as much as you can. The more sugar they have, the more sugar they will want. Don’t give them access to it, and it will help them make healthier choices as they get older.
- Make brushing fun for your kids! Create a tooth brushing chart for them where they get to put a sticker on each time they brush. When they meet their weekly goal, they get to pick a treasure from a special box. Coloring books, crayons, stickers, small toys, or other rewards that are special and help motivate them to consistency in their oral care habits. Let them help choose their toothbrush, the color, style, or characters they enjoy, which is another positive motivation as they grow and learn to take more responsibility for their oral care.
Best Products For Your Child’s Oral Health
We’ve talked about what you should do and some helpful tips about good oral health for your children, but what about the items you need to use for the best result? Here are some great tools to help you and help your kids raise the bar on their oral health.
Babies And Toddlers
- We mentioned Tooth Tissues Mouth Wipes earlier for infants. There is also the New Baby Oral Care Kit, Finger Toothbrush, Wipe-N-Brush, Baby’s 1st Teether-Brush, Brilliant Baby Toothbrush, First Teeth Oral Care Kit, and Brilliant Spry Xylitol Tooth Gel (fluoride-free and safe for all ages!)
- Growing Kids Oral Care Kit, Brilliant Child Toothbrush (best manual toothbrush for kids), Brilliant Kids Sonic Toothbrush – Penguin (each character sonic brush is a soft bristle electric toothbrush for kids), Brilliant Kids Sonic Toothbrush – Duck, Brilliant Kids Sonic Toothbrush – Dinosaur, and Brilliant Spry Xylitol Tooth Gel (best toothpaste for sensitive teeth and removal of bacteria). There is also a fantastic children’s book about the importance of caring for our teeth called Sugar Bugs that will be a great tool in helping your children understand the importance of good oral health.
Happy Smiles = Happy Kids!
If you are or have been frustrated about getting your kids on board with getting excited about their oral health, you are not alone. It takes a little creativity, but there are so many ideas you can try, ways you can make it fun, and count it another thing you can do together. Watching you take care of your teeth will help them want to take care of their teeth. Put out the effort, responsibility, and fun you want them to have, and it will take root and grow, thrive, and flourish in your children. Healthy mouths create happy smiles. Happy kids bring us as parents joy. And joy is one thing we all can use these days.
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