Instilling Good Dental Hygiene Habits

26 July 2022
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

Most children love sugary treats and drinks, and so do the bacteria that live in their mouths. As parents, it's important to teach your children to take care of their teeth as they're growing up. Helping them to develop good dental hygiene care habits when they are young can help them have healthy teeth well into their adulthood. 

Good dental hygiene habits are developed by first understanding what primarily causes cavities to form and how to properly clean the teeth, both of which are easy to achieve with the help of a children's dentist. Read on to learn some of the things your sugar-loving child needs to learn:

Sugary Treats Can Lead to Cavities

You've no doubt heard that sugar can cause tooth decay. But it's not the sugar itself that does the damage. Bacteria called Streptococcus mutans absorb the sugars that remain in the mouth after eating or drinking sugary foods or drinks. After absorbing the sugar, the bacteria excrete acid. It's the acid that damages the teeth and causes cavities to form.

Brush Your Teeth after Sugary Treats

This doesn't mean that your children cannot have any sugar at all. It does mean, however, that you should limit their sugar and teach them to brush after meals and snacks and especially after eating sugary treats. Obviously, you'll need to teach your children how to properly brush their teeth. Your children's dentist can also show them how to properly brush their teeth during a dental appointment. Some children's dentists give small rewards to children after receiving a tooth-brushing lesson at their dental office. 

Drink Only Water at Nighttime 

Children should not have anything sugary in their nighttime bottles or sippy cups, especially after their teeth have been brushed. Water is the best choice for nighttime bottles or sippy cups after their teeth have been brushed before bed. If, however, you have a baby or toddler who is still taking a bottle or nursing at night, give them a bottle with water in it after they've finished feeding. You can also take a damp washcloth and wipe away the excess formula from their teeth. 

This is important because some formula has been found to have more sugar than soft drinks. Wiping their teeth will simulate brushing their teeth, which helps begin to install the habit that their teeth need to be cleaned after eating and drinking. Having a baby bottle or sippy cup of water after their formula will help start to instill the habit of using water to rinse their mouth clean after eating food or drinking sugary liquids.