Good dental habits like brushing your teeth are important for your oral & overall health, but to kids, they can feel like a chore. Even though baby teeth will fall out eventually, it’s important to keep them healthy because they are guides & space holders for permanent teeth. Here are some tips for teaching your kids good dental hygiene habits to solidify their oral health for a lifetime.
Good Brushing Habits
To encourage your kids to brush their teeth properly, first model good behavior! Brush your teeth at the same time as your child & let them watch you so they can see how it should be done. Explain what you’re doing as you’re doing it & make sure you show how to angle & move the toothbrush.
Until your kids are 6 or 7, you can brush their teeth for them. Show them how to squeeze a pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto the toothbrush & have your child face the mirror so they can see while you explain what you are doing. Go slow & show them proper brushing techniques.
Once they are old enough to brush their teeth on their own, continue to brush your teeth at the same time as your child to encourage good dental habits. If you’re nervous that they aren’t being thorough, trade off for a while. Your child can brush their own teeth in the morning & you can reinforce proper brushing technique by doing it for them in the evening.
It’s also important to encourage your child to be thorough & brush for the entire two minutes. You can use a timer or fun songs to count down.
Although brushing is a very important part of the dental care routine, don’t forget to teach your child to floss! To make it more fun & easy, you can use floss picks that come in different styles with characters on them. Like brushing, you can demonstrate flossing, guide your child & eventually let them try it themselves.
Make It Fun
Dental hygiene can often seem boring to children. To get them more involved, try letting them choose their toothbrush & toothpaste. Many toothbrushes have fun colors & designs & toothpastes can have special flavors that are more exciting for children. You can also try an electric toothbrush to make it more entertaining.
Visit the Dentist
While habits at home are essential for good dental health, it’s also important for your child to visit the dentist regularly. Dental cleanings tackle plaque & buildup that can’t be removed with regular brushing & flossing. Plus, dentists can give you & your child guidance & education that will help keep your child’s teeth & gums healthy.
You can start taking your child to the dentist about six months after their first tooth erupts or when they reach one year of age. Both general dentists & pediatric dentists are qualified to treat children, so you have many options when choosing a dentist for your child. They’ll help make sure your child is on the right track for great dental health!