The sooner you start teaching dental hygiene to your children, the sooner they will develop positive habits that will stick with them for a lifetime. Plus, you can help prevent oral health problems that affect children more commonly and consequentially than they do adults. Unfortunately, as most parents know, getting little ones to brush and floss can be a daily battle. Use these strategies to make it easier on everyone.
Healthy Teeth Makes For Healthy Children
It is never too early to start taking your child’s oral hygiene seriously. Prevent the condition known as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay by gently wiping your baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad as early as a few days after birth. Once teeth begin to erupt through the gums, brush your infant’s teeth with a child-sized toothbrush and water. You should also avoid giving very young children sugary beverages that can harm developing teeth. It is safe to begin flossing your child’s teeth starting at the age of four, and they can take over the duties themselves as soon as they are ready.
Set a Good Example
One of the best strategies for teaching dental hygiene is to practice what you preach. Make sure that you take good care of your own teeth, and don’t hesitate to brush or floss in front of your young child. Much of what they learn at an early age they learn by watching mom and dad, and if they see the whole family taking care of their teeth, they will have less trouble picking up the habit once they are old enough to brush for themselves.
Teach the Core Skills
As early as possible, teach your child about the basics of oral health. It doesn’t take a lot to maintain a smile for a lifetime, but it is crucial that your child internalize these simple rules:
- Brush twice a day
- Floss every day
- Avoid starchy and sugary foods
- Visit a dentist regularly for checkups
Make it Fun
If your child is resistant to brushing and flossing, there are fun aids that might be able to make it easier on you.
- Get a toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character on it
- Turn brushing and flossing into a game
- Offer some kind of incentive or reward
- Watch videos focused on oral health education for kids that use popular characters
Find Your Child’s First Dentist
Parent’s can do a lot when it comes to teaching dental hygiene, but it’s important that you enlist the help of a dentist, too. Take your child to the dentist for an initial checkup as soon as their first tooth appears, and rely on the doctor’s expertise whenever you have questions about your child’s teeth. If it’s time for that crucial first visit, contact The Happy Tooth, and learn about our resources for pediatric dentistry.
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