Parents can help their kids have healthy teeth and gums by promoting good oral hygiene habits, serving healthy foods and providing regular dental checkups.
Offer water, low-sugar juice and milk for snacks and drinks. These encourage the production of saliva, which helps fight acids that damage tooth enamel and can lead to cavities.
1. Brush Daily
One of the best ways to promote healthy gums is to brush daily. This is true even if your child’s teeth are not fully grown.
Make sure to brush with a soft bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste with nano-hydroxyapatite and fluoride to keep their teeth strong. You should also encourage them to floss at least once a day and use mouthwash (preferably with antibacterial ingredients).
You can help your kids understand the importance of oral health by making it part of their daily routine. You can also help them avoid gingivitis, which is the early stage of gum disease and characterized by red and puffy gums. If untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, which destroys the bone that supports the teeth and is linked to tooth loss.
2. Floss Daily
Flossing is one of the most important steps to take for healthy teeth and gums. It helps remove plaque and food particles between the teeth and gum line, and it can also help prevent gingivitis.
It’s recommended to floss daily using the “loop method”. To start, unravel a length of 18 inches of floss and wrap most of it around the middle fingers on both hands, leaving a few inches of floss between each finger.
Gently guide the floss between each tooth, rubbing against the side of the tooth and beneath the gum line. Be sure to use a clean section of floss each time. This will avoid cutting or bruising delicate gum tissue. Flossing can also prevent the build-up of bacteria, which can lead to gum disease and bad breath.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is one of the best ways to help prevent tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer. It also helps prevent other chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Avoid consuming sugary, carbohydrate-rich or acidic foods throughout the day and only eat them at meal times. This allows the body to produce more saliva which helps wash away food particles and neutralizes harmful acids before they damage teeth.
Make sure to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein-rich foods. These foods are rich in nutrients like calcium and phosphorous which help strengthen teeth and prevent tooth enamel erosion. Other important nutrients include folic acid (which reduces gum disease), potassium and magnesium. Meats, eggs, dairy and calcium-fortified tofu are all good sources of these minerals.
4. Schedule Regular Checkups
One of the most effective ways to help your kids have healthy teeth and gums is to make sure they are getting regular dental care. This includes brushing their teeth twice a day (once after they wake up and once before going to bed) and flossing once a day. You should also use toothpaste that contains fluoride, which strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent cavities.
In addition, it is important to teach your children to drink water instead of soda and juice. These drinks are high in sugar and can cause tooth decay. You should also avoid putting your kids to bed with bottles or sippy cups because these can also lead to tooth decay.
Make sure to schedule your kids for dental checkups and cleanings at least every six months. This can help you spot problems early and will get your kids used to visiting the dentist so they are not afraid of it as they grow up.
5. Avoid Sugary Snacks
Sugar is a major food source for bacteria that causes plaque, which leads to cavities. Water and healthy snacks that provide nutrients like protein, calcium and vitamin C (think dairy products, leafy vegetables and citrus fruits) are better choices.
Snacks that are chewy or require a long amount of time to chew promote saliva production, which helps wash away food and neutralize harmful acids that can damage teeth. For example, a stick of sugarless gum with the added ingredient xylitol increases saliva flow to help reduce harmful bacteria and encourages good dental health.
Try making a fun activity to help kids understand why it is best to avoid sugary snacks. Use a white plastic bottle to paint to resemble a tooth and splatter with runny flour to represent plaque and food.