A new year is here, and it is a great time to reflect on 2020 and pick a resolution for the year to come. We can’t think of a resolution that’s more important than improving your child’s health for years to come. Prioritizing your child’s oral health is a wonderful new year resolution, so here are a few ways that parents can contribute to improving their child’s oral hygiene:
Healthy Diet = Happy Teeth
An easy way to improve your child’s oral health is to look at what your kids are eating, and what’s in your fridge and pantry. Maintaining a balanced diet with the proper nutrients can substantially impact children’s oral and overall health. Consuming a variety of veggies, fruits, proteins, and high-fiber grains is one of the best natural defenses against cavities and gum disease. These healthy foods also help freshen breath, clean plaque from teeth, keep your gums clean, and your teeth strong.
Sugary foods and drinks like sodas, candies, juice, and unhealthy sweetened cereal can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Combine an unhealthy diet with poor oral hygiene habits and you’ve got a recipe for disaster! It’s best to avoid foods that are processed or high in carbohydrates, starches, or sugars. Those carbs, starches, and sugars cause plaque, the sticky clear film on your teeth. As that plaque stays on your child’s teeth, it creates acid that breaks down the tooth’s enamel and causes cavities. Cutting back on sweets and unhealthy foods as a new year resolution will help ensure your child has a healthy diet that will help keep the cavities away.
Consistent Oral Health Routine
Did you know that it takes about 66 days to make a habit ‘automatic’? That’s why consistency is so important when helping your child form a dental routine at a young age. The early years of childhood can make or break a child’s smile. Parents who help their children exercise healthy habits on a daily basis and teach them about the importance of caring for their teeth are much less likely to have dental problems down the road in adolescence and adulthood. Brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing daily are habits that will positively impact the oral health of your child.
Keep Up With Routine Dental Appointments
Many parents don’t know that their child should visit the dentist by their first birthday or by the time their first tooth comes in! If you’ve been procrastinating scheduling your child’s first (or next) dental checkup, January is the perfect time to get their smile on the right track. It’s important to establish a dental home early on and have your children see the dentist every six months for routine dental checkups and cleanings.
It’s never too late to start healthy habits at home with your kids, and now is as good a time as ever as you’re making new year resolutions. For more tips on practicing healthy habits at home, see our other blog posts.