As a grown adult, you’ve mastered tooth brushing and gotten your daily routine down to a science. But what about your kids? Learn about how parents can help improve dental hygiene for children with a few tips and tricks!
What is Proper Dental Hygiene for Children?
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.
The Importance of Teaching Your Kids Early
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 afterward.
- It helps ward off cavities. Even one cavity left untreated in a child can cause serious trouble for your family’s health and finances!
As far as when to start your kids on a dental hygiene routine, you can’t start too early! Consider these recommendations.
ORAL HEALTH TIPS
|0-6 Months||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.|
|12-18 Months||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.|
|1-2 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!|
|3 Years||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.|
|4-5 Years||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.|
|6+ Years||Your child may start flossing her own teeth, but make sure she’s doing it properly.|
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, spend five minutes creating a toothbrushing song to make it more fun, and make oral hygiene fun for kids, by:
- Using kid-themed toothbrushes and even toothpaste.
- Providing several toothbrushes for them to choose from.
- Adding a reward chart to your fridge to show them their progress with a sticker each morning and night!
- Going through the motions with them. Let them see you brushing and flossing, and sipping and swishing water with them to help teach him how to spit. Make it fun!
Know the signs and symptoms of cavities before your children get them! Check out "Cavities and Tooth Decay In Children" to make sure you're making the right precautions for your family.
Trust the Best in Family Dentistry – The Happy Tooth
True, your kids will lose their baby teeth eventually, but establishing proper dental hygiene for children early, they will learn skills to keep their permanent teeth healthier, too. A healthy mouth promotes better overall health, and that’s something we want at all ages and stages of life! The Happy Tooth professionals on our team can help you establish the right routine for you and your family. Find a location nearest you to set up your kids’ next dental exams!