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How to Help Your Kids With Their Dental Health

By Brandi Goodman 

Your children's dental health should be just as important as their physical well-being. Many health problems can develop because the teeth and gums are not properly taken care of. Let these problems persist and your children become at-risk for heart disease and other chronic concerns that can worsen due to the bacteria in the mouth that gets into the bloodstream. Help your kids with their dental health so these struggles can be prevented.

Start Dental Visits at a Young Age

Contact your local children's dentist and ask what ages they take. Many will allow toddlers in for their first visit around age 1 so they can get a head start on learning good oral hygiene. Even if your youngster doesn't yet have all their teeth, taking a look at the ones they do have and making sure they're growing in properly and look normal is important. It will help your kiddo feel more comfortable coming in for full checkups down the road.

Provide Healthy Meals and Snacks

Foods packed with sugar can be harmful to the teeth. Be sure you're providing your kids with healthy meals and snacks so they can have the best dental hygiene possible. Sugary treats are fine once in a while, but they should not be given daily or as rewards. Vegetables and fruits with lots of vitamins and minerals are beneficial for oral health. 

Let Your Child Pick a Toothbrush

Bringing your kid to the store and allowing him or her to pick out a toothbrush can help make oral hygiene seem fun. They get to be a part of the process and are therefore more likely to want to participate. Allow them to pick out something fun and colorful that they'll enjoy using daily.

Offer Rewards

Some youngsters may struggle to follow through with daily hygiene at first. Offer rewards so they get some positive reinforcement for brushing their teeth and taking care of themselves. After a while it will become habit and the rewards won't be necessary every time. Never offer food as rewards -- especially sugary options. Instead, provide stickers, a star on a chart, a small toy out of a pack of favors, or a pencil. Dentists often provide things like these after a visit as a job well done, and you can too.

Dental health plays a role in overall well-being. Make sure your kids are taking care of their teeth throughout February's Children's Dental Health Month -- and every month thereafter -- so they're more likely to continue good oral habits into adulthood. Prevention is key when it comes to many health concerns.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Alexandria, Va.

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