4 Easy Ways to Improve Your Child’s Dental Health in the New Year
It’s the new year and, like it or not, talk of New Year’s resolutions is everywhere. Some people love the tradition of resolutions and faithfully make them every year. Others think it’s silly, and have never made a resolution and never will. Here at Pediatric Smiles, our staff is split on the topic — about half of us make them and half don’t.
In honor of the New Year, here are four easy resolutions (or call them goals!) you can make when it comes to your child’s dental health in 2020:
- Reduce sugary drinks. Offer water and milk as your child’s main beverage choices. Research shows that sugary drinks make up a huge portion of sugar intake in children. That’s not good for dental or overall health. According to pediatrician Natalie D. Muth, MD, MPH, RDN, FAAP, lead author of a policy statement on the topic from the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Heart Association, “For children, the biggest source of added sugars often is not what they eat, it’s what they drink. On average, children are consuming over 30 gallons of sugary drinks every year. This is enough to fill a bathtub, and it doesn’t even include added sugars from food.”
- Start flossing. As soon as two teeth begin to touch, it’s time to start flossing your child’s teeth. Flossing can be tricky for little fingers, so we recommend parents help their kids until they can start managing the task on their own. On average, kids can handle flossing independently around seven or eight years old, but you know your child the best and some kids need supervision until they are a bit older, around 10 years old.
- Download a brushing app. The goal for daily brushing is two minutes a day, twice a day. To make it more fun for your kids, download a brushing app that will make the two minutes go by in a flash. Some of our favorites are Disney Magic Timer, BrushDJ and Brusheez Toothbrushing Timer.
- Schedule regular check-ups. In addition to the daily, healthy habits of brushing and flossing, be sure to schedule your child’s regular check-up appointments. During these appointments, Dr. Francois performs a thorough examination of your child’s teeth, gums, and mouth and looks for areas that show signs of decay or other oral health issues. We will also clean their teeth and perform x-rays to help detect any underlying issues that may not be noticeable to the eye. We recommend a routine preventative appointment every six months.