The term “preventive dentistry” is often correlated with adolescents and adults. After all, the very act of willingly taking a plan of action against cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems requires discipline, goal-setting, some extra work, and some advanced planning – all of which aren’t exactly kid-friendly habits and behaviors.
But that doesn’t diminish the importance of preventive dentistry for children. Documented cases of toddlers with tooth decay aren’t the stuff of urban legend. Consider the following statistics:
- Almost half of all children aged 2-11 suffer from cavities (primary teeth).
- Among the same age group, the average child has nearly two (1.6) decaying primary teeth.
- In kids ages 6-11, approximately 10% have some form of untreated tooth decay.
Given the rather dire (yet unreported) oral health situation with kids today, preventive dentistry for children is less a luxury and more a smart, practical way to avoid problems like gingivitis, tooth decay, and much more.
Dr. Dental’s own preventive dentistry methods focus on the entire family – children included. This includes regular checkups, positive reinforcement of good dental health habits, and the application of a fissure sealant to the molars (rear teeth), which helps prevent cavities and tooth decay.
When it comes to preventive dentistry for children, some upfront work today will mean a brighter smile tomorrow.
Starting Your Own Preventive Dentistry Program for Children
To promote positive dental care habits with children, remember the golden rule: many kids won’t stick with a preventive dentistry schedule if you make it sound like preventive dentistry. The moment it seems like actual work (with the reward way out into the future), children will likely channel their focus elsewhere.
What’s the second golden rule with preventive dentistry for children? Repeat and memorize the first golden rule!
Let’s look at some ways you can start your own preventive dentistry plan for your own family. Start healthy habits now, and a lifetime of rewards await!
- Encourage regular brushing & flossing. Try to tie in your kids’ daily brushing and flossing with homework or other regular activities. If they’re not in school yet, lock in a regular time each morning and night. Flossing can be tricky at first, so go with a kid-friendly flavor (bubble gum, cherry, etc.) to encourage positive habits.
- Be involved. Preventive dentistry for children is all about a guiding hand – and often times, that means a hands-on approach. Take your child shopping to pick out a toothbrush (we recommend soft bristles) and floss. Brush your teeth with them. Supervision is important at this critical time, so be patient as you’re involved. At some point – before your child turns three years old – go ahead and give them permission to brush and floss on their own.
- Make it fun. Preventive dentistry for children doesn’t have to be a (literal) chore. Some creative incentives can help your kids stick to a regimented dental care plan – and it can even be fun! Much like an allowance, have your children keep track of their brushing habits with a weekly or monthly chart, and assign a small monetary value to each. Once they’ve completed their daily dental chores, they can check off each task (brushing, flossing, rinsing, etc.). At the end of the week or month, it’s time for the parents or guardians to pay up with some extra money for a job well done! That’s just one way to increase the fun factor. Another popular method is playing their favorite song during brushing and flossing.
Dr. Dental: Your Partner in Preventive Dentistry for Kids
With more than three dozen offices located in New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, Dr. Dental is here to help with preventive dental care for all ages, from toddlers to senior citizens.
Our dental services are affordable – we accept many insurance plans, and patients with no insurance – and we’ll also work with you budget-friendly payment plans. And don’t forget about our popular dental deals and discounts, including a cleaning special for new patients.
If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, or you’d like to learn more about our preventive dentistry for children, stop by today. Thanks for visiting the Dr. Dental blog – check back for more helpful articles about dental care for you and your entire family!