There are 5 simple things that every parent can (and should!) do to protect their children's teeth, and keep their smiles heathy and bright.
1. Brush twice daily - yes, we all know this one, but honestly how many of us take the time (or make sure our kids take the time) to do it correctly? 2 minutes is an eternity to a toddler. Don't fool yourself thinking that you don't have to take care of their baby teeth, since they fall out anyway - you're also caring for their gums, their permanent teeth are forming, and you're teaching them life-long habits. Get a timer, sing a song, something but make sure they brush properly, twice a day. Kids under the age of 5 or 6 probably can't do a proper job, so you'll have to do it for them - make the time.
2. Limit sugary drinks/snacks - this is a given. You can indulge occasionally, but then immediately have them brush their teeth (or at minimum, rinse with mouthwash or even plain water). Trident sugar-free gum is available in 11 great flavors so kids have lots to choose from! In addition, chewing Trident sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after a meal can help fight cavities.
3. Eat healthy foods - children's bones and teeth are still growing, so make sure they get proper nutrition (even if your toddler insists on living on nothing but PB&J, you need to work in other foods, or at least a multivitamin).
4. Regular dental check-ups - I have first-hand knowledge of this one. My parents didn't believe in dentistry, I didn't see my first dentist until I was 18. Almost 30 years later, I'm still dealing with the aftermath.
5. Replace toothbrushes reguarly - so simple, but you'd be surprised. The bristles wear out, so replace them every 3 months or so. If you've been sick recently, replace the toothbrush (germs, HELLO) or at least soak it in some mouthwash for a few minutes to kill the bacteria.
I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Trident blogging program, making me eligible to get a $25 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.