How to Stop Tooth Decay at Home
Learn how your dental care habits influence your child’s oral health.
As a parent, preventing cavities and ensuring your child has a healthy smile for life is always on your mind. But many parents don’t realize how their own oral care habits play a significant role in their child’s journey toward preventing tooth decay and optimal oral health.
Studies show that parents’ oral care habits predict their child’s oral health.
Kids are masters of imitating those around them. Not only do kids repeat the words they hear and try to mimic their parents’ actions, but they also pick up on their parents’ behavior. This is why the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ approach to teaching isn’t always quite successful.
These factors explain why when it comes to oral health, the behavior and habits of parents or primary caregivers have such a significant effect on kids. Numerous studies support a strong correlation between parents who prioritize oral care habits and kids with an optimal level of oral health.
To put it simply—when kids see their parents practice healthy oral care habits on a daily basis, they are far more likely to imitate this very same behavior.
Improving your child’s oral health starts with improving your own oral health.
Getting your child on track for a healthy, cavity-free smile begins first by evaluating your own oral health.
Do you suffer from tooth decay, gum disease, or other oral health issues? Chances are high that the lifestyle factors causing your dental problems are the very same ones causing trouble for your child. By addressing your oral health first you’ll be able to be a role model of optimal oral health for your family.
Your family’s at-home oral hygiene routine plays the biggest role in cavity prevention.
The single most important thing you can do to stop tooth decay at home is to practice a thorough at-home oral hygiene routine. Your kids should be included in this as soon as you notice their first tooth coming in.
Follow the 2×2 method for brushing and floss at least once daily.
The American Dental Association’s 2×2 method is an easy way to remember to brush twice a day for two minutes. Your kids should brush just as often and for just as long. Investing in a cute sand timer can help ensure your kids brush for the full two minutes each time.
Flossing should also be done on a daily basis, ideally before bed. The best sequence of events is to first floss and then brush to remove any dislodged debris.
You can further improve your family’s oral health by adding a tongue scraper and mouthwash to their regimen. Be sure to only select ADA-approved mouthwashes and fluoride toothpaste for yourself and your children.
Make oral hygiene a family affair by brushing together.
The most effective way to help kids develop lifelong oral care habits is to do it with them. Whenever you can try to brush together as a family. If mornings are a bit hectic, maybe gathering for a bedtime brushing will work better.
You can add to the fun by timing your brushing session with two minutes of music or tell your kids jokes while they brush.
A nutritious diet based on tooth-friendly foods supports your family’s oral health.
It’s no secret that sugar and tooth decay go hand-in-hand. This is one way that shows how diet can either have a positive or negative impact on your family’s oral health.
Encouraging your family to eat healthy meals and snacks improves their oral health and overall health.
There’s nothing wrong with indulging in dessert or a bag of chips. But if you’re noticing that your family has been consuming a lot more sugar, starches, and simple carbohydrates lately, it might be time to make a change.
A healthy diet made of a variety of whole foods is good for the body and smile. Crunchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits are great for keeping teeth clean while dairy products can be beneficial for strong teeth.
Remember to always consult your family’s doctor or a nutritionist before making any big dietary changes.
Regular dental appointments help your family maintain all the hard work they put into their oral health.
With your family’s oral hygiene routine and diet in check, the final thing to do is ensure you and your kids see a dentist at least every six months.
Regular dental visits are a crucial part of preventive dental care.
Even though a flawless at-home oral care regimen is the foundation for cavity prevention and optimal oral health, it isn’t a substitute for dental visits.
Your dentist and your child’s pediatric dentist will be able to notice signs of trouble, such as tooth decay, long before you notice obvious symptoms. Regular dental cleaning appointments are also necessary for plaque removal and healthy gums as this deep cleaning can’t be replicated with even the most advanced powered toothbrush.
Book an appointment to see how the Pediatric Dental Specialists team can help your child on their journey towards a beautiful, healthy smile.
During your child’s first appointment you’ll meet their new pediatric dentist and, after an examination, get the lowdown on your child’s current level of oral health. You’ll also have a chance to share your family’s oral hygiene routine and get expert insight into how you can improve your child’s oral care habits.