Parents, when should you start teaching your kids about oral hygiene and how much do they need to know? Discover all the information you need regarding oral health education for children now.
Start Teaching Your Kids About Oral Health, Yesterday!
Unless your child has issues with her teeth or gums, your dentist will probably only recommend her first dental check-up when she turns 2 or 3 years old.
However, you can and should start practicing oral hygiene long before her baby teeth break through!
Think about how impressionable young kids are, and how eager they are to learn new things, especially skills that make them feel like big kids. The earlier you train them to take care of their teeth, the more instinctive it will become. Then instead of it feeling like a big deal to them, it will just feel like part of the deal—part of the hygiene routine, that is.
Experts recommend starting oral health education for children at birth, but also reinforcing it strongly again in first grade, when they are beginning to take over this responsibility.
You can find a plethora of oral health education for kids online. Some interact with kids directly and others provide resources so you can teach your kids.
- This Dental Education Program from Proctor & Gamble offers an educator’s guide, parent brochure, lesson plans, tips, videos, aids and many other helpful resources.
- Your kids will enjoy several tooth-related games, activities and more at mouthhealthykids.org.
- Infographics like this Mouth Matters one makes learning more fun while offering more unique tidbits.
These are just a few resources online. Your local schools or libraries may offer more options, too. And of course, your friendly dentist from The Happy Tooth can give you more information and tools.
What Should Be Covered in Oral Health Education for Children?
Since it’s never too early to start educating your kids about dental health, as you might guess, you can’t teach them too much!
Granted, you want to just give your kids enough information at one time so that they can easily understand it and enjoy it. But throughout the school years, you should teach them:
- Proper oral hygiene (brushing, flossing, etc.)
- Other means of keeping a healthy mouth (eating nutritious whole foods, limiting sugar, drinking plenty of water)
- Why taking care of your mouth is so important (avoiding tooth loss and the downward spiral, preventing illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and more)
You might be surprised at how much even your preschooler will remember about teeth. And just like grown-ups, when they know what they’re doing supports a good purpose, they don’t mind doing it as much. And details—details make the purpose more memorable.
Think about it.
- “Sally, you need to floss your teeth daily to keep your teeth clean.” or
- “Sally, when you don’t floss your teeth, you’re missing 35% of your tooth surfaces!”
Now that detail from Mouth Matters might make flossing seem a little more urgent!
For more details about dental health care for kids and how to make it more fun, read When and How You Should Practice Proper Dental Hygiene for Children.
Or to set up a dentist appointment at a family dentist who will provide personal, pleasant care for your child, contact The Happy Tooth today.
By providing oral health education for children, we can help promote better habits and healthier lives in our younger generations!