You’ve taken hundreds of pictures of your kids, and in many of those short photo sessions, you’ve probably asked your children to smile wide and say “cheese!” In part, you do this so that they look at the camera, but you’re also trying to get your kids to show off their healthy smile.

The thing is, your kids’ teeth are important in many ways. Healthy teeth don’t just make for an attractive smile, they also help your kids speak clearly and grow strong, as they can chew and eat the right foods. Taking care of your children’s teeth now could save them from tooth pain, bacterial infections and gingivitis in the future. Plus, while it’s always a good idea to focus on your kids’ oral health, there’s never been a better time to take a closer look at your kids’ incisors and canines.

How to Keep Their Teeth Clean

As you probably already know, brushing and flossing is the easiest way to protect your teeth and keep them healthy. Of course, as you also already know, getting your kids to brush their teeth isn’t a simple task.

Ideally, your kids should brush their teeth at least twice a day, once after breakfast and again before bedtime. If possible, having them brush their teeth after lunch or snack time will drastically reduce plaque buildup on their enamel.

Frequency is only half the battle, however. Making sure your kids use proper techniques when they brush is of equal importance. First, make sure your kids are brushing all their teeth, not just the front ones. Second, teach your kids to take their time while brushing. They should clean their teeth for at least two minutes each time they brush. If your kids are having trouble counting down the seconds, try playing a song for them to help pass the time. Finally, only give your kids soft bristles (it will say “soft” on the toothbrush packaging) for brushing, and make sure to replace your child’s toothbrush about every three months.

What About Flossing? 

 When it comes to the health of your kids’ teeth, your priority should always be brushing. That being said, flossing is an important part of oral hygiene that you can’t let your kids ignore. Flossing will allow your kids to clean the nooks and crannies of their mouths that their toothbrushes simply cannot reach (no matter how hard they try). Proper flossing is simple: Direct your kids to slip the dental floss between each tooth along their gum line once a day. Your kids should be gentle and avoid gum bleeding as much as possible. Including it in your before-bed routine is recommended.

Another teeth-cleaning option to consider is an antibacterial mouth rinse. While less important than brushing or flossing, mouth rinses can add another layer of protection to your kids’ teeth. Just remember, these mouth rinses aren’t for everyone. Consult your dentist if an antibacterial mouth rinse is right for your kids.

Visit the Dentist at Least Twice a Year

 While teaching your kids to take care of their own teeth at home will go a long way to keeping them healthy in the future, it can’t replace visiting the dentist. Outside of checking for cavities or gum disease, your dentist can give your kids’ teeth a deep clean and show you the areas of their mouth that need the most attention.

Furthermore, visiting your dentist should be covered by your insurance.  So, when it comes to your kids’ smiles, take a proactive approach to healthcare. If you registered for health coverage through Nevada Health Link, you can learn more about your benefits here.

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