You’ve already heard the basic tips for keeping your children’s smiles healthy—probably a million times over by now. But, what can you do when the basic advice like seeing the dentist regularly still leaves your kiddo with cavities or you can’t get them to brush no matter what you do? That’s where these tips come in.
1. Supervise and Coach
“If they can’t tie their shoes, they shouldn’t brush their teeth alone,” the American Dental Association (ADA) cautions. Most kids lack the dexterity to do a good job until about age six. Up until that point, a responsible adult should be supervising brushing and giving teeth a once-over after. After that point, it’s still a good job to do spot checks to see if your child is brushing well and follow up after brushing to ensure that it’s done.
2. Find Tools They Can Use
Between smaller hands and mouths and dexterity issues, adult oral care tools aren’t a good mix for kids. Choosing an age-appropriate toothbrush is a good start, but the trouble usually comes in with flossing. The good news is, you don’t need to floss your child’s teeth. You only need to clean between teeth to remove plaque and debris. There is a myriad of ways to get it done. Kid-friendly flossers work, as do floss picks. Given that children generally have wider spaces between their teeth, sometimes even an interproximal toothbrush will do the trick.
It’s also worth experimenting with which flavors your child likes best. Oftentimes, toothpaste manufacturers create overpowering flavors to cover up the unpleasant taste of the ingredients they use, which doesn’t sit well with the sensitive palates of children. You may have better luck choosing a natural kids toothpaste with a pleasant flavor rather than one that relies on harsh additives and chemicals.
3. Make Brushing Fun
Research shows that most people only brush for 47 seconds but making it to the two-minute mark will help you remove 26% more plaque. Do what works best for your family, but many have success with playing games during brushing or having the kids brush while watching TV or video clips. If you’re worried about your child ingesting fluoride while brushing for an extended period of time or away from the sink, you can choose a fluoride-free toothpaste.
Kids also tend to be more invested when they can choose their own tools, but failing that, you can also let your little one decorate their toothbrush handle to make it their own.
4. Incorporate Xylitol
You know sugar should be limited, but did you know that the sugar substitute xylitol is actually good for teeth? Often found in sugar-free gum and a key ingredient in ORL products, organic xylitol starves cavity-causing bacteria and helps improve overall oral health.
5. Mind the pH
Most people think sugar is the enemy, but it’s really only one of many contributors to cavities. For a cavity to form, the tooth must first demineralize or weaken first. They only demineralize in an acidic environment. So, you really have three stages before a cavity can form: the creation of an acidic environment, the demineralization of a tooth, and then the cavity. Research shows teeth remineralize on their own when the pH level balances out if the nutrients required are present.
With that in mind, you don’t necessarily need to swear off sugar. However, it is a good idea to restore pH balance as much as possible throughout the day. Not all toothpastes and oral health care products are designed to do this. In fact, some are acidic. ORL Kids toothpaste and mouthwash have a perfectly balanced 7.0 pH, designed to neutralize acid and allow teeth to remineralize naturally.
6. Lead by Example
Kids don’t start out with the bacteria responsible for gum disease and decay in their mouths. They generally pick it up from their parents by sharing food and utensils. That means one of the best things you can do to prevent cavities in your children is to take care of your oral health too. Moreover, kids learn by watching, so if they see you brushing and taking good care of your teeth, they’re far more likely to follow suit.
Nourish Your Smiles Together
Carefully crafted to deliver cavity-fighting organic xylitol, fortifying vitamins and minerals, and plant-based essential oils all in a perfectly pH-balanced formula, ORL’s line of toothpastes and mouthwashes is designed to help families nourish their way to healthier smiles naturally. Explore our full line which includes mouth-watering flavor profiles like Cinnamint and Fresh Mint for you, as well as a fun Bubblegum flavor for the kids, and bring home your favorites.