It’s National Tooth Fairy Day! The Tooth Fairy is a magical tradition in many households – and she frequently helps encourage kids to keep their teeth healthy by leaving small notes of encouragement and rewards under their pillows as they move from their “baby teeth” to “adult teeth”.
While the Tooth Fairy’s visits may look different in each family, community, or culture, one thing doesn’t change – the importance of starting good dental health habits early. So, we’ve put together some tips to keep kids’ teeth healthy and make early habits a part of life-long wellness.
- Make it fun!
Children should brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes each session. Check with your child’s doctor about starting fluoride before his or her first birthday.
Even babies, are expected to “brush,” with or without teeth. According to the CDC, parents are encouraged to wipe a baby’s teeth or gums twice a day with a soft, clean cloth in the morning after the first feeding and before bed to wipe away bacteria and sugars that can cause cavities.
While busy parents have plenty to do and worry about, teaching your kids good dental hygiene doesn’t have to be a chore. You can make it fun by keeping up with their progress and offering rewards for meeting goals – like a sticker or a small toy to reinforce good behaviors. Personalize your child’s experience by letting them pick out their own toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste. By making brushing a family activity, you can make dental health a part of their daily routine for life.
- Eat Healthy Foods
Eating healthy foods is not only a good habit for dental health, it’s great for your child’s overall health. Avoid sugary foods and drinks like sticky sweets, sodas, and sports drinks; allowing sugar to set on your child’s teeth can cause decay and cavities.
- Floss and rinse mouth
Gum health is as equally important as tooth health. Daily flossing and mouth rinsing are encouraged to prevent cavities and oral diseases like gingivitis. Children should start flossing once a day when their teeth begin to touch.
- Keep dental appointments
Everyone should visit the dentist at least twice a year for routine cleanings and checkups. For children, their first visit should be within six months of their first tooth or around their first birthday. https://humanservices.arkansas.gov/about-dhs/dms/dental