Today is National Tooth Fairy Day and children everywhere are hoping to lose a tooth in hopes of receiving more than last year’s average of nearly $4 per tooth. The Great Expressions Dental Centers “tooth fairy” would like to share the following tips with you to ensure their children’s teeth are worth the 2014 going-rate, while helping prevent potentially painful and expensive problems down the road.
· Teach proper brushing and break bad habits. While your child is young, it is key to introduce healthy oral health habits. At three years old, begin teaching them how to brush their teeth using only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Try to break thumb-sucking and pacifier habits by age four.
· Set a good example. Children are known to mimic, so make sure you are setting a good example of good dental hygiene by letting your children see you brush and floss daily. Turn it into something special you do together by brushing to your favorite song or creating a tooth brushing dance.
· Limit snacking and eat healthy. Bacteria are created by the acid in sugary and starchy foods that slowly destroys teeth enamel. Every time those foods are consumed an acid bath starts, which lasts 15 minutes. Give your mouth a break in between meals, which includes not sipping on milk or juice. Stick with water.
· Regular visits with your dentist. The first visit to the dentist should happen before a child’s first birthday so that parents can learn how to go about cleaning your child’s teeth and to ward off the dangers from bedtime bottles and sippy cups that contain milk or juice. Healthy gums lead to healthy teeth. By the time your child is five, dentist visits should be happening every six months.
· Brush and floss daily. As soon as two teeth touch, it is important that children brush their teeth twice a day and floss. Brushing two to three times a day and flossing one time a day is critical to remove the bacteria that causes bad breath, gingivitis and cavities.
· Orthodontic evaluation. Orthodontics is more than just straightening teeth. Children grow quickly and orthodontists are trained to detect problems with the growth and development of the teeth and jaw. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends an orthodontic evaluation by seven years old.