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The Five 'Do's' of Childhood Teeth Brushing

By Randi Morse

Are you aware of how important your teeth are for your children? I have met a number of parents who don't believe that they need to worry about their children brushing their teeth. "They're just baby teeth," they say, "they're going to fall out anyway." But about 40 percent of children have some sort of tooth decay before kindergarten. Children with tooth decay are statistically more likely to miss school and have bad grades, and tooth decay is linked to higher risks of health issues like heart disease. Here are five "do's" that you should make an important part of your child's daily routine.

Do - Make sure your children brush their teeth at least twice a day. It's ideal for them to brush their teeth after every meal as well, but brushing their teeth twice a day is much better than brushing them once, or not at all.

Do - Brush your teeth with them. Children love to mimic their parents, and if you make a point of brushing your teeth with them, they learn that parents make tooth brushing a priority as well. Even if it's not your "time" to brush your teeth, brush along with them in the morning and at night. 

Do - Praise your children for brushing their teeth. Children react beautifully to praise, so take the time to praise your child every time they brush their teeth well. 

Do - Monitor your children when they are brushing their teeth. Children, especially those over the age of 5, have no problem telling their parents they brushed their teeth when they really didn't. Or they'll brush their teeth but not thoroughly. Make sure you're watching them when they brush their teeth, every time, and as they get older you can pull "surprise" inspections and pop in on them when they least expect it to make sure they're brushing well.

Do - Use fluoride. It's a mistaken belief that children can't have fluoride. Any child over the age of 3 can use a toothpaste with fluoride in it, as long as you only use a pea-sized amount. Most dentists will offer fluoride treatments for children as well. Regular access to fluoride can go a long way toward helping to keep your children's teeth strong and healthy.

Teeth brushing is a vital skill, and one that you want your children to continue as they grow older. Make sure it's something your family supports and encourages.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local Chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Walnut Creek, Calif.

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