A healthy, beautiful smile is important to most adults. In fact, 32% of people say they’re concerned about the look of their teeth. Many folks aren’t so fond of the dentist though either, but there are things parents can do to encourage good dental habits in their children. When these practices are developed at an early age, it’s much easier to reduce the risk of cavities, gingivitis, and other tooth problems.
Research also shows that around 60% of children will have some type of tooth decay by the time they turn five. In fact, tooth decay is one of the most prevalent childhood diseases in America. Parents can help combat tooth decay by helping their children floss daily and brush twice per day. Brushing should last for two minutes every time. Some electric toothbrushes come equipped with built-in timers, but parents can also use a small hourglass or the timer on their iPhone to help them keep track. They can help the time go by faster by turning on some music and wiggling along — as long as the kids do a thorough job. When they’re young, parents should make sure to check their work and make sure they’re really getting their teeth clean.
It’s important to focus on diet, too. While it’s a bit of a myth that sugar consumption directly causes cavities, a balanced diet is important for healthy teeth and gums. Parents should also limit how much natural and added sugar they eat and drink. This certainly applies to energy and sports drink consumption. Actually, popular energy drinks resulted in twice as much enamel loss in adults as compared to sugary sports drinks. In general, parents need to limit their children’s consumption of sports drinks, and energy drinks should rarely — if ever — be consumed.
If you check out Delaney Park Dental website statistics, organized sports can pose other hazards to kids’ teeth, too. Children who participate in contact sports or other types of recreation, including football, hockey, baseball, basketball, wrestling, soccer, martial arts, and more, should always wear a mouthguard during practice and games. This can prevent significant dental damage. Parents should make sure that mouth guards are always included in their child’s protective gear.
Ultimately, the best way to protect a child’s smile is to schedule regular dental appointments. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17.5% of kids aged five to 19 have untreated dental issues, in need of Invisalign treatment. Kids should receive a dental checkup and professional cleaning every six months, just like adults. These regular visits can catch those small issues before they turn into big, expensive problems.
Dental work is notoriously expensive, so enforcing these positive habits can help reduce your spending. That being said, you still may have to drop a bit more cash when your child loses their baby teeth. Research has found that the Tooth Fairy is having to pay much more than in the past. The current going rate for a baby tooth actually mirrors inflation and growing incomes. In the 1990s, a baby tooth was worth $1 or so. Now, kids may find $5 under their pillows. Still, that might be a small price to pay for a child’s healthy teeth and gums.
In the end, it’s up to the parents to inspire their children to keep up with good dental care so that healthy, lifelong habits can form. Consider your child’s bright, beautiful smile as a “thank you” for your efforts.