Teaching Your Children About Proper Oral Hygiene

Good nutrition and oral hygiene care practiced at home are extremely important during the teen years. Proper diet, brushing, and flossing all play a significant role in maintaining a healthy smile and preserving teeth during these challenging years.  Cavities and periodontal (gum) disease can be a threat to teens as well as adults. Recent survey results show that bleeding gums were most prevalent among adolescents and those three-fourths of 13-17 year-olds had gums that bled.  Adolescents also have particular issues not shared by younger age groups.  These concerns include: oral piercings, mouth guards, eating disorders and orthodontic care, as well as significant tooth decay.

Some oral health practices should begin from day one and continue through the teenage years. You should change your child’s toothbrush three to four times a year, and after every illness to avoid bacteria and germs.

Preparing a Child for an Oral Checkup

The dental office might seem like a frightening place to most children, but with the help of the following tips, both children and parents can enjoy the trip to the dental hygienist and dentist.

• Schedule visits to the dental hygienist at a time when your child is likely to be well rested and cooperative.

• Never mention the words “hurt” or “pain” around your child when discussing an oral health visit. Saying “it won’t hurt” instills the possibility of pain into your child’s thought process.

• Do not discuss your own negative experiences in your child’s hearing range.

• Allow and encourage your child to discuss any fear he or she might have about oral health visits.

For more information about proper oral health care, as well as brushing and flossing instructions, please talk to your Minnesota Family Dentist.