What You Should Know
As a parent, you naturally want what is best for your child. Many parents are unaware of how oral health and dental care plays into that. According to the Center for Disease Control, tooth decay (cavities) is the number one most commonly occurring infectious disease among children. This leads to children experiencing toothaches in high numbers, missing days from school, and experiencing overall discomfort. Tooth decay is not a trivial thing, but a condition that can create significant discomfort for your child and even make it difficult for them to eat, speak clearly, and engage in normal daily activities. If you live in the Chicago area and think that this will not happen to your child, statistically, it most likely will. Brushing and flossing at home will help, but it is not enough. You need to bring your child to our kid friendly dentist office twice a year so that we can examine and clean their teeth. By doing this, we will be able to remove the plaque and bacteria that can lead to cavities in the first place.
Resources You Can Use at Home
In addition to visiting our kid friendly dentist office, it is important that you practice good oral hygiene at home and teach your child to do the same. In our dental office, we work with a lot of children under age eight and understand how challenging it can be to get them excited about brushing teeth. Kids are busy and asking them to stop riding bikes, building Legos, or playing dress up to brush their teeth can lead to conflict fairly quickly. We get it. At Smiles On Michigan, we can work with young children and are under no illusion that they are fascinated by oral health. Our job, however, is to change their opinion of dental care and show them that it can be fun and interesting. This way they will want to brush and floss their teeth, even without being told. With that in mind, we have a few resources that we have found to be helpful and suggest that you try them at home.
If you live in or around Chicago, we invite you to schedule an appointment with our dental office so that we can examine your child's teeth and teach them how to brush properly. Even if your child is already brushing, there is a good chance that they are doing it wrong and missing a lot of the plaque that has built up on their teeth. A simple video tutorial is a resource you can use at home. You can find one on the American Dental Association's website or even on YouTube. Playing a video that shows your child how to brush is a good reminder for them and, since they are used to receiving information this way, they are likely to receive and digest it better than if you reminded them.
Once your child is brushing correctly, it is time to turn your attention to how long they are brushing for. At Smiles On Michigan we encourage all of our patients to brush for two minutes, twice a day, regardless of how old they are. This, however, can be difficult for young children that find it hard to focus on a task or to stay still. As a kid friendly dentist, we want them to brush their teeth but staying still isn't a requirement. Try making it fun to brush teeth by playing their favorite song for two minutes and letting them dance and brush. You can also play a two-minute video clip or cartoon for them while brushing. The American Dental Association has an entire section of their website devoted to these short videos and watching them will get your child used to brushing for the full two minutes. We have worked with families throughout the Chicago area and have found that using media works far better than standing there with a stopwatch. The goal is to create positive associations between dental care and having fun so that your child will continue to brush their teeth as they grow.