Passionate About Wine Country
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How to Instill Good Dental Hygiene in Your Children

I have many jobs: Mom, Actress, Voice Over Artist, and (most recently) Blogger. But the one that has been paying most of my bills for going on nine years is Dental Hygienist. That gives me a lot of knowledge about teeth, and I’m happy to share it with you! Here are a few tips to instill good dental hygiene in your little ones. 

{Good dental hygiene starts at birth}

We come into the world really clean. There are no bacteria in our mouth yet. Over the first few months, we acquire all sorts of oral bacteria. We eventually end up with over 400 types of bacteria in our mouth. Many kids end up getting their mom’s oral bacteria environment because they’re usually the first to kiss the baby, share a spoon, etc. Since I have better teeth than my husband, I made sure to slobber all over my son when he was born. This way, I made sure he got my oral bacteria instead of his. But don’t fret if you and your partner both have bad teeth – modern medicine has come a long way and there’s a lot you can do to fight bad bacteria! 

{Clean your baby’s gums/ teeth}

After you breastfeed or bottle feed, try to wipe down your baby’s teeth with a wet washcloth. You can also buy xylitol cloths to wipe the teeth. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener found in the birch tree that fights cavities! You can find xylitol products all over the place now, which is so great. Make sure to get 100% xylitol if you are looking for a gum for yourself or possibly your teenager. Then you don’t have to worry about aspartame etc. which, in my opinion, is not good for you.

{Start the habit young}

Just like you read to your baby every night, brush their teeth every night too! They may love it one night and fight it another, but it’s really important to start the habit of brushing before they go to bed. If you can get a brush in the morning too, gold stars for you. When they don’t have many teeth, the brush doesn’t have to be two full minutes. Just brush long enough to break up that bacterial party going on in their mouth from the food they’ve eaten all day.

{Give them Fluoride}

This one might be controversial for some. However, fluoride in small, topical doses can be very beneficial for our teeth. Especially when we’re very young and very old. It’s when a lot is ingested that it can be very dangerous. Why do we have it in our water then? Because it’s a public health measure. The amount of Fluoride is so small, it won’t do any damage and the benefits of stronger teeth with fewer cavities outweigh the risks.

I can tell a patient that has had Fluoride treatments in their youth vs a patient that did not. The ones that did not tend to have more cavities!

Most pediatricians give Fluoride drops around age one, so you don’t even need to visit a dentist. I recommend they administer Fluoride drops (or Fluoride varnish) at age one, and then again at age two. After age two, start using the smallest bit of Fluoridated toothpaste for the night time brushing. I am talking butter on toast, not the pea size that is stated on the tube. That way if they swallow it, they will not be harmed.

If you still can’t be cool with Fluoride, then dive into the xylitol products I mentioned before. They are all natural and can help fight cavities!

They will brush and floss at some point!

I hope that starting this generation with good dental hygiene will make my job much easier 20 years from now. If I could have a day at work where everyone flosses, I would be in heaven! So please, help a me out by helping your kids have the wonderful habit of good dental hygiene. You will all thank me for it. 

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