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Help Your Child Develop Good Oral Habits and Avoid Bad Ones

HelpYourChildDevelopGoodOralHabitsandAvoidBadOnes

We all have habits: things we do every day often without consciously thinking. Some of them are good; some not so much. And many of them took root in childhood.

That's why it's important to help your children form good habits in their formative years, especially regarding oral health. Here are 4 areas to focus on developing good dental habits — and avoiding bad ones.

Keep teeth and gums clean. The best defense against dental disease is stopping plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles, from building up on tooth surfaces. That means brushing and flossing each day, along with regular dental cleanings and checkups. You should begin cleaning your child's teeth as soon as they appear in the mouth with a clean towel or rag at first and later brushing them. Eventually, teach your children to brush and floss for themselves. Dental visits should also begin around their first birthday.

A nutritious diet equals healthy teeth. The saying, “You are what you eat,” is especially true about teeth. Help your child form a nutritious diet habit by providing meals rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, quality protein and dairy products. You should also restrict their sugar intake, a primary food for bacteria that cause tooth decay; try to limit sweets to mealtimes and avoid constant snacking.

Avoid habits with hidden dangers. Actually, this one is about you — and what you might be doing to increase your child's risk for dental disease. Avoid actions that increase the chances of transmitting oral bacteria from you to your infant, like kissing on the lips or licking a pacifier to clean it. You should also avoid giving your child night-time bottles or sippy cups filled with milk, formula or any sweetened liquid — likewise for pacifiers dipped in something sweet.

Steer them away from future bad habits. As children become teenagers, they're eager to stretch their wings. While this is normal and good, they can get into habits with dire consequences for oral health. You should by all means steer them away from tobacco use or oral piercings (tongue and lip bolts especially can wreak havoc on tooth structure) that can harm their teeth and gums.

If you would like more information on dental care for children, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”

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    "I would give her ten if I could. Dr. Williams has been my dentist for over twenty years. In that time, she has never broken an appointment with me. I am pretty type A when it comes to my teeth, and I like her because she always has great tips about how to take care of them. She is uber professional but has a good sense of humor. Her sense of humor is actually a pretty big deal when you have to sit with someone for an extended period of time. I've been in her chair for over an hour a couple of times. Once to get braces done and another time for a teeth whitening. Uncomfortable to say the least, but she went out of her way to ease the pain. I have not considered another Dentist ever since."

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    "Dr. Williams is an excellent dentist! It's pretty evident that she cares about her patients and she always goes the extra mile. Every visit to her practice is pleasant...she's truly such a patient and kind doctor. Highly recommend!"

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