As a grown adult, you’ve mastered tooth brushing and gotten your daily routine down to a science. But what about your kids? Maybe they still only have baby teeth anyhow. So what is proper dental hygiene for children?
What is Proper Dental Hygiene for Children and When Should They Start?
When it comes to oral health, some things remain the same for kids and adults. You should:
- Brush for 2 minutes at least twice daily and especially after sugary foods. (If you have to choose the battle with your kid at first, brushing before bed is more important because no saliva or jaw movements naturally sweep out food particles while she’s sleeping!)
- Floss daily.
- Visit your dentist twice yearly to catch tooth decay early and avoid bigger problems.
- Limit your consumption of sugary foods and drinks. (Choose water instead of milk or juice if your kid wants a nighttime drink.)
And remember, as an adult, setting a good example will get you even better results.
As far as when to start your kids on a dental hygiene routine, you can’t start too early! Consider these recommendations.
Even before the first tooth appears, you can wipe your baby’s gums with a wet cloth or gauze after meals to remove food particles and bacteria while getting him or her used to oral health activity.
Use a child’s soft-bristled toothbrush and water when first brushing his or her teeth, and make sure you remove food from the back teeth.
1 to 2 years
Once your kid’s teeth begin touching each other, you can begin flossing them. Without flossing, you are leaving one-third of her teeth’s surface uncleaned!
Add a pea-sized amount of toothpaste when you brush his teeth. Once your child can spit, your dentist will likely recommend toothpaste with fluoride. By the way, many dentists recommend an initial dental exam at age 3, if not before.
You may allow your child to brush his own teeth, but you should supervise till about age 8, making sure he gets all of the nooks and crannies.
Your child may start flossing her own teeth, but make sure she’s doing it properly.
You may wonder why it’s so important to practice good dental hygiene for preschoolers or toddlers, especially if they’re just going to lose all their baby teeth anyway.
But starting your kids out early accomplishes several things:
- It teaches them the importance of proper oral health from the beginning, instead of trying to teach them new habits later when they’re less receptive. This healthy attitude about dental health can last a lifetime.
- It gets them used to the cleaning activity and the time it takes.
- Keeping the mouths clean will help prevent the spread of germs. Let’s face it. Kids aren’t the cleanest. They stick their hands in their mouths and then play with shared toys and other kids immediately afterwards.
- It helps ward off cavities. Even one cavity left untreated (link to blog) in a child can cause serious trouble for your family’s health and finances!
How Can You Help Your Kids Embrace Proper Dental Hygiene?
Kid-friendly family dentists like those at The Happy Tooth know how to help your child embrace the idea of good dental hygiene. Plus you can reinforce the idea every day by setting a good example.
Watch a kid-friendly video online about how to brush properly or even share a toothbrushing song to make it more fun.
Also, try these tips to make dental hygiene more fun.
- Use kid-themed toothbrushes and even toothpastes.
- Let them have several toothbrushes to choose from.
- Add brushing teeth and flossing to a rewards chart.
- Sip and swish water with your kid to help teach him how to spit. It’s OK if it just dribbles out of his mouth at first!
True, your kids will lose their baby teeth. But when you establish proper dental hygiene for children early, they will learn skills to keep their permanent teeth healthier too. Besides, a healthy mouth promotes better overall health. And that’s something we want at all ages and stages of life!
Call The Happy Tooth today to set up your kids’ next dental exams.