Establishing good oral habits in childhood gives patients the best chance of achieving and maintaining optimal dental health throughout life. The saying ‘ you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ may be best illustrated when it comes to adults faced with having to commit to new daily oral health habits – it’s hard and can feel unrewarding due to ongoing dental health concerns. Developing healthy dental habits as a child forms a firm foundation for maintaining good dental care throughout a person’s life – and can actually keep a smile cavity free.
Protecting Baby Teeth is Not Child’s Play
It’s tempting to always focus on teeth – their health, beauty and number – and forget to acknowledge that teeth are part of a much bigger picture – the dental system. Though essential when it comes to eating – teeth have a much bigger role to play as they assist in jaw growth and facial symmetry and are crucial to normal speech development and healthy self-esteem. It’s easy to gloss over the impact premature tooth loss and dental pain has on a young child – as after all an adult tooth will soon replace the missing baby tooth – but the reality is that children’s early experiences with their dental health can set the stage for confident smiles or a whole lot of self-consciousness.
Focusing on the Basics
Just like most areas of life – when you’ve mastered the basics you’re off to a great start. Whether it’s a child learning how to read or brush their teeth – support and encouragement is needed to let a child now they’re doing a great job. Effective tooth brushing isn’t just about technique it’s also about spending enough time brushing. This is where a team effort from a child’s dentist and family goes a long way – as learning how to brush properly is best learned by been shown by the dentist and then reinforced at home by older siblings and parents. As regular dental cleanings and exams form part of the foundation of a child’s dental health, developing a trusting and relaxed relationship with dental staff enables a young patient to view taking care of their teeth in a positive light.